Two Women Who Filed Lawsuits vs. Houston Texans’ Deshaun Watson Alleging Sexual Misconduct Speak Out
Sarah Barshop, ESPN, April 6, 2021
Ashley Solis, who lawyer Tony Buzbee said was the first massage therapist to file a lawsuit against Watson, spoke in the news conference. Lauren Baxley wrote a letter to Watson that was read by lawyer Cornelia Brandfield-Harvey.
“I got into massage therapy to heal people,” Solis said. “To heal their minds and bodies. To bring peace to their souls. Deshaun Watson has robbed me of that. He took that away from me, he tainted a profession in which I take enormous pride. … I suffer from panic attacks, anxiety and depression. I’m in counseling as a result of Deshaun Watson’s actions. I hope he knows how much pain he’s inflicted on me emotionally and physically. And I hope he knows how much pain he’s inflicted on these other survivors.”
“People say that I’m doing this just for money,” Solis said. “That is false. I come forward now so that Deshaun Watson does not assault another woman.”
In her letter addressing Watson, Baxley wrote, “Every boundary from professional and therapeutic to sexual and degrading you crossed or attempted to cross.”
In a statement Tuesday, NFL spokesperson Brian McCarthy called the allegations “deeply disturbing,” noting, “we take these issues very seriously.”
McCarthy said the league launched an investigation under its personal conduct policy last month following the first allegations against Watson, and that the NFL is “continuing to closely monitor all developments in the matter.”
A source told ESPN’s Ed Werder that the NFL has been in direct contact with Buzbee.
Watson has publicly denied any wrongdoing, and his lawyer, Rusty Hardin, said last month that he believes “any allegation that Deshaun forced a woman to commit a sexual act is completely false.”
According to Buzbee, Solis and at least one other of his clients have provided statements to the police. On Friday, the Houston Police Department said in a statement that it has launched an investigation of Watson after a complainant filed a report.
“As with any allegation, the Houston Police Department is now conducting an investigation and will not comment further during the investigative process,” the department said in a statement. It did not specify what Watson is being accused of in the complaint.