According to records obtained by The New York Times, the Houston Police Department has spoken to at least 10 women who have accused Houston Texans quarterback Deshaun Watson of crimes from unwanted touching to sexual assault. The records are heavily redacted and do not reveal the names of the Complainant or the suspect.
But they were released in response to a request for all documents related to Watson or his home address in Houston. A brief summary of each complaint is one of the few lines left unredacted in the papers. “Complainant stated that the suspect touched her inappropriately and exposed himself,” read one. Another said: “Complainant was sexually assaulted by the suspect. One suspect. No arrest. The complainant was willing to prosecute.
On March 16 of this year, the attorney Tony Buzbee announced that he was filing a lawsuit against Watson, accusing him of misconduct against an unnamed woman. Buzbee now represents 22 women who have sued Watson.
According to Buzbee and WaWatson’sttorney, Rusty Hardin, in addition to the 10 women who have spoken to Houston police, the F.B.I. is investigating the case. Watson has spoken to the F.B.I., and Hardin has said agents are studying one of BuBuzbee’slients for extortion, while Buzbee has said they are investigating WaWatson’sonduct.
The status of the criminal investigations into WaWatson’sonduct is unclear. Spokespeople for the Harris County District AtAttorney’sffice and the F.B.I. did not respond to requests for comment. At the same time, a Houston police spokesman referred to the dedepartment’statement from April 2, which reads, in part, “A” with any allegation. The Houston Police Department is now conducting an investigation and will not comment further during the investigative process.”
“ast month, a Houston television station reported that a grand jury had been convened in the case. Under Texas law, every potential felony charge goes before a grand jury.
Watson has not talked with police investigators, nor has he spoken with N.F.L. investigators about the accusations, Hardin said in an interview Friday. “T”e police have made no attempt to reach out to Deshaun, and we dodon’txpect law enforcement to do so until they complete an investigation,” “ardin said, adding that he would be surprised if the police investigation concluded before October.
The prosecutor has told us from the beginning that ultimately when the investigation is over, their findings will be presented to a grand jury,” “ardin said at a news conference last month. “W” will be allowed to tell our side, and we will get an evenhanded hearing.” “n an interview earlier this week, Hardin said.
Every week, we find out more that makes us increasingly more comfortable that none of these cases will lead to valid criminal charges. Hardin said he will begin questioning the accusers in the civil cases at depositions that will start this month. WaWatson’sestimony should happen by February, he said. The Times requested the records from the Houston police in April, but they were not provided until Friday.
The police department asked the Texas attorney gegeneral’sffice to rule on whether the records sought were exempt from disclosure. In June, an assistant attorney general wrote that information about the “d”tection, investigation or prosecution of crime” “as exempt. Still, that basic information about an arrested person, an arrest, or a crime is not. That basic information was what was released.
According to Buzbee, one party that has not yet spoken to Watson: The N.F.L. has spoken to a number of the women who have sued Watson, but Hardin has said league investigators have not yet talked to Watson. In cases involving criminal investigations, the N.F.L. typically waits before interviewing the player until those investigations are completed.
The Texans open their season against the Jacksonville Jaguars on September 12, and it is unclear whether Watson will start at quarterback or whether he will still be on the team. Watson participated in some of HoHouston’sraining camp, though he did not play in any of the teteam’shree preseason games. According to numerous reports, he has asked to be traded, which has been challenging to fulfill given legal and criminal investigations.