On Tuesday afternoon, two of Deshaun Watson’s accusers came forward publicly to share their identities, their experiences with Watson, and to stand behind the allegations of sexual assault against him.
Sarah Barshop of ESPN has quotes from the press conference from Ashley Solis, one of the two women to disclose herself as a plaintiff in the lawsuits (which now number 22) filed against Deshaun Watson.
“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.”
Excerpt of Ashley Solis' statement pic.twitter.com/KhRmuUuZde— Rivers McCown (@riversmccown) April 6, 2021
In Barshop’s article, Lauren Baxley, the other plaintiff who has disclosed her identity thus far, shared her feelings about Watson through a letter one of her attorneys read at the press conference.
In her letter addressing Watson, Baxley wrote, “Every boundary from professional and therapeutic to sexual and degrading you crossed or attempted to cross.”
Baxley said she wrote the letter to Watson at the recommendation of her trauma therapist to “forgive myself for not speaking up sooner” and also “so that you can know without excuse or justification that you have deeply and irreversibly brought terror to me and others.”
“I initially came forward to offer solidarity to other women, but I have since realized that I’m deserving of justice as well,” Baxley wrote. “I hope the court of law brings that justice, and that you’re stripped of both your power and ability to hurt more women.”
Excerpt of the Lauren Baxley letter. pic.twitter.com/hHsrIfmSfj— Rivers McCown (@riversmccown) April 6, 2021
Deshaun Watson’s counsel, Rusty Hardin, responded to the press conference by providing emails that detailed communication concerning settlement negotiations with Solis and Tony Buzbee.
Rusty Hardin statement says Tony Buzbee asked for $100,000 in behalf of original plaintiff Ashley Solis https://t.co/NYs3BcRodM pic.twitter.com/l0RuxX3b6v— Aaron Wilson (@AaronWilson_NFL) April 6, 2021
While all of this has been happening, it was revealed that the Houston Police Department is investigating a complaint against Watson as well.
HPD Statement #HouNews pic.twitter.com/s9DfEDZYsy— Houston Police (@houstonpolice) April 2, 2021
The Texans and NFL remain in a holding pattern as investigations are ongoing, as mentioned in Barshop’s article.
McCarthy said that the league launched an investigation under its personal conduct policy last month after the first allegations and that the NFL is “continuing to closely monitor all developments in the matter.”
In a letter Monday to Texans season-ticket holders that is regularly sent 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 allegations very seriously.
“While we await the conclusion of these investigations, we express our strong stance against any form of sexual assault,” the letter reads. “Our family and the entire Houston Texans organization are deeply troubled by any form of abuse and we condemn this type of behavior.”
We will update with any new information that comes out or major events as they happen.