Houston police investigating Deshaun Watson after complainant files report

Sports

HOUSTON, Texas (NewsNation Now) — Houston Police said Friday they are investigating after a complaint was filed against Houston Texans quarterback Deshaun Watson.

Watson is currently facing at least 21 civil lawsuits from women who allege sexual assault and inappropriate conduct by the quarterback.

Prior to Friday, no criminal investigation was underway into the allegations as no official reports had been made.

“Today, a complainant filed a report with the Houston Police Department concerning Deshaun Watson. As with any allegation, the Houston Police Department is now conducting an investigation and will not comment further during the investigative process,” Houston Police said in a statement announcing the investigation.

The two most recent lawsuits against Watson come from a massage professional in Arizona and from a Houston woman working to get her massage license.

One of the new lawsuits states Watson has “unsent” messages on Instagram and has contacted the women who previously massaged him “through intermediaries.” That statement clarifies the contents of a lawsuit filed by Houston attorney Tony Buzbee on Sunday that said Watson was deleting Instagram messages and contacting the women “who formally provided him massages, in an attempt to settle.”

Watson’s attorney, Rusty Hardin, issued a statement Friday on the investigation:

“We welcome this long overdue development. Now we will learn the identity of at least one accuser. We will fully cooperate with the Houston Police Department.”

Monday, Hardin released a statement in response to the latest civil suits:

“Like a lot of people, Deshaun regularly deletes past Instagram messages,” Hardin said. “That said, he has not deleted any messages since March 15th, the day before the first lawsuit was filed. We categorically deny that he has reached out directly to his accusers in an attempt to settle these cases.”

Hardin also released statements from 18 massage therapists who maintained they experienced no difficulties during sessions with Watson.

“Collectively, they have worked with Deshaun more than 130 times over the past five years,” Hardin said. “These statements show the other side of the story that has been so lacking in the flurry of anonymous complaints filed by opposing counsel.”

Buzbee posted on Instagram on Tuesday that he doesn’t feel comfortable going to the Houston Police Department with any information.

“I’ve since learned that my legal opponent, Mr. Hardin, has a son who is on … the exclusive Command Staff of HPD,” Buzbee wrote on Instagram. “I am not saying in any way that Deshaun Watson’s lawyer, Mr. Hardin, has a son who has a position that would compromise HPD and its investigation. I support his service, along with all Houston police officers–I think the rank and file know that. But, I am saying that me and my clients will go elsewhere to provide our evidence to investigative authorities.”

Watson, 25, denied the allegations after the first lawsuit was filed on March 16..

“I have never treated any woman with anything other than the utmost respect,” Watson wrote, in part, adding he looked forward to defending his name.

No criminal charges have been filed.

Field Level Media via Reuters contributed to this report

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