As part of his initial P.R. campaign after being sued by 22 women who allege sexual misconduct during massage therapy session, Browns quarterback Deshaun Watson produced statements of support from 18 other massage therapists whose services he used. Now, Watson will be required to discuss whether he had sex with any of those 18 persons.
Via Brent Schrotenboer of USA Today, a Texas judge has ruled that Watson must respond to questions aimed at determining whether he had sex with one or more of the 18 therapists who came to his defense.
The argument in favor of getting access to the evidence is simple. It shows Watson’s motives when arranging massage sessions, especially through social-media platforms like Instagram. If he was in the habit of having consensual sex with some of the therapists, it’s reasonable for a jury to conclude that he may have entered other sessions with a similar objective.
Watson had objected to providing the information. That prompted a request for the court to resolve the situation. The judge agreed with the plaintiffs.
Watson was not required to provide information about whether he had sexual relations with other women who have not come forward publicly. That’s a confusing middle ground on the issue. If it’s fair to find out whether Watson had a pattern and practice of engaging in sexual relations with massage therapists, it shouldn’t matter whether the individuals have come forward publicly to support him. The evidence is relevant to his pattern and practice, even if the individuals with whom he engaged in said pattern and practice have never issued any type of statement relevant to the case.
Last year, attorney Rusty Hardin admitted that some of Watson’s massages became consensual sexual encounters. His state of mind when hiring massage therapists — shaped by his habits as established with other massage therapists — would seem to be critical to proving whether he crossed the line with massage therapists who weren’t inclined to have a massage become more than one.