Texans star Watson faces third massage therapist lawsuit

Los Angeles (AFP) –


Houston Texans quarterback Deshaun Watson, pushing for a trade from the NFL club, was sued by a third massage therapist Thursday and faces allegations of sexual misconduct and assault.

Multiple media reports Thursday said the latest civil lawsuit was filed at Harris County District Court, claiming Watson forced a female masseuse to perform a sex act during a session in Houston last December.

The Houston Chronicle, USA Today and ESPN reported the latest lawsuit, which followed those where Watson was accused of civil assault by touching the message therapist with his genitals.

Watson said in a statement Tuesday before details of the first civil lawsuit became public, claiming misconduct in March 2020, that he looks forward to clearing his name.

"As a result of a social media post by a publicity-seeking plaintiff's lawyer, I recently became aware of a lawsuit that has apparently been filed against me," he wrote.

"I have not yet seen the complaint, but I know this: I have never treated any woman with anything other than the utmost respect. The plaintiff's lawyer claims that this isn't about money, but before filing suit he made a baseless six-figure settlement demand, which I quickly rejected.

"Unlike him, this isn't about money for me -- it's about clearing my name, and I look forward to doing that."

The Texans said in a statement they learned of the first lawsuit through social media on Tuesday night.

"We take accusations of this nature that involve anyone within the Houston Texans organization seriously," the team said in a statement. "We will await further information before making any additional statements on this incident."

Watson threw for an NFL-leading 4,832 yards in 2020 with 33 touchdowns and just seven interceptions.

The Texans drafted him in the first round in 2017 and coach David Culley has said the team is "committed" to Watson, although the three-time Pro Bowler has reportedly requested a trade.