While one woman has withdrawn her lawsuit against the NFL star, 21 other alleged victims of the athlete have amended their lawsuits to reveal their names and a new victim has filed a suit.
One down, 22 more to go. One of the women who have sued Deshaun Watson for alleged sexual assault has exited the legal battle against the NFL star, though it may only be temporary.
In new court documents filed on Wednesday, April 14, the woman, who was only identified as Jane Doe, said she was not going forward with her case due to “privacy and security concerns.” She noted that her decision was only “for now,” adding that should these privacy concerns be rectified, she will refile her suit.
On the other hand, 21 other alleged victims of Watson have amended their lawsuits to reveal their names as ordered by the court. It was reported last week that the judges ruled that the women must disclose their names if they wanted to go forward with their cases.
Attorney Tony Buzzbee, who represents the accusers, previously offered to release the names to defense attorney Rusty Hardin and his team, but asked they should keep their identities private. He said in a statement Tuesday that his law firm “previously attempted to make available to Defense Counsel the names of the plaintiffs suing Deshaun Watson, and intended to do so in due course.”
“We were concerned about the safety of these plaintiffs, and asked the Watson team to agree to a protective order where the identities could be used in litigation, but not broadcast to the world,” Buzbee’s statement continued.
Watson’s lawyer Rusty Hardin, however, claimed that when his law firm asked Buzbee “to identify his clients weeks ago, he refused and told us to file a motion.”
“While I understand that anonymity often is used as a shield for victims, Mr. Buzbee is using it as a sword,” Hardin said in a statement on Thursday. “While shielding his clients from public scrutiny, Mr. Buzbee continues to use their anonymous allegations to destroy Mr. Watson. This is simply not right. And we look forward to resolving these matters in court.”
It appears that the victim who withdrew the lawsuit did not feel comfortable identifying herself, hence dropping the suit.
Along with the lawsuit withdrawal, another woman, Erica Chapman, filed a new lawsuit against Watson. The makeup artist details in the suit that the Houston Texans quarterback reached out to her via Instagram in September 2020 and arranged a massage session at his Texas residence shortly after. While there, Chapman claims he was sexually inappropriate.
Chapman still agreed to do another massage session two months later in November, during which Watson allegedly manipulated “the massage and her into sexual coercion.” Chapman claims his actions left her “ashamed, embarrassed, deeply distressed and confused.” She is suing for undisclosed damages.