HOUSTON – Two of the 22 women who filed lawsuits against Houston Texans quarterback Deshaun Watson, alleging sexual assault and inappropriate conduct, came out publicly during a news conference Tuesday.
Ashley Solis, who according to attorney Tony Buzbee was the first masseur to file a lawsuit against Watson, spoke at the press conference. Lauren Baxley wrote a letter to Watson that was read by attorney Cornelia Brandfield-Harvey.
“I went into massage therapy to heal people,” Solís said. “To heal their minds and bodies. To bring peace to their souls. Deshaun Watson has stolen that from me. He took it from me, tainted a profession I take great pride in … I suffer from panic attacks, anxiety and depression. therapy as a result of Deshaun Watson’s actions. I hope you know how much pain you have inflicted on me emotionally and physically. And I hope you know how much pain you have inflicted on these other survivors. “
“People say I’m doing this just for money,” Solís said. “That is false. I present myself now so that Deshaun Watson does not attack another woman.”
In his letter to Watson, Baxley wrote: “All boundaries, from the professional and therapeutic to the sexual and degrading, you crossed or attempted to cross.”
Baxley said he wrote the letter to Watson on the recommendation of his trauma therapist to “forgive me for not speaking out sooner” and also “so that I may know without excuse or justification that he has brought deep and irreversible terror to myself and others.”
“Initially I came forward to offer solidarity to other women, but since then I have realized that I also deserve justice,” wrote Baxley. “I hope the court does justice and that they strip you of both your power and your ability to hurt more women.”
Buzbee said at the press conference that Solís and at least one other of his clients have provided statements to police.
On Friday, the Houston Police Department said in a statement that it had launched an investigation into Watson after a whistleblower 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. He did not specify what Watson is accused of in the complaint.
Watson’s attorney, Rusty Hardin, said in a statement later Friday that he and Watson “will cooperate fully with the Houston Police Department.”
“We welcome this long-awaited development,” said Hardin. “We will now know the identity of at least one accuser. We will cooperate fully with the Houston Police Department.”
In a letter Monday to Texan season ticket holders that is mailed regularly in the spring, the McNair family addressed the civil lawsuits and a complaint filed with the Houston Police Department against Watson, saying, “We want to assure you that We take these accusations very seriously.
“While we await the conclusion of these investigations, we express our firm position against any form of sexual assault,” the letter read. “Our family and the entire Houston Texans organization are deeply concerned about any form of abuse and we condemn this type of behavior.”