Sexual Assault Lawsuit Filed against QB DeShaun Watson

Kenny F'ing Powers

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Clearly unrelated. I think he is just pointing out how everything has seemingly turned upside down for that franchise from that point in time.
I know, I'm just kind of being a dick. I feel like lumping this in with poor front office decisions and bad luck on the field is kind of in poor taste. I know there was no offense meant, so i just should have said nothing.
 

Gash Prex

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Good to know he didn't sexually assault all the massage therapists, only about 50% of them...

View: https://twitter.com/BenVolin/status/1377297401527033858


Of course Hardin knows none of this evidence would be admissible but he's trying to do something in the court of public opinion - but the fact that he is going with this uh...defense, tells me he has very little. And the crying over not knowing the Jane Doe's name is silly as Watson clearly has text/electronic evidence of all the (many) massages he's received
 

Shelterdog

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Hardin is no dummy.

The defense is when Watson wanted a massage he got a professional masseuse and had a normal respectful professional massage experience. And these plaintiffs, well, he wasn't exactly looking for a massage and they weren't exactly masseuses, look at this or that picture on instagram, wink wink nudge nudge say no more.

It's obviously reprehensible but that seems like the best defense given what's out there.
 

DennyDoyle'sBoil

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What a hilariously bad defense. “Here’s 18 masseuses that Deshaun managed to not sexually assault!”
Also, who goes to like 40 different massage therapists? Doesn't that fact alone support the claims that are being made? If you are just interested in a good massage, you find your person and you stick with it. Someone who seems to have gone through the entire state of Texas's yellow pages and to have moved on to other states is clearly not just in it for the massages.
 

sodenj5

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Can’t wait for the team chaplain/assistant GM/morality coach to weigh in.
You’re absolutely high if you think that they haven’t already figured out a “finding Jesus” strategy with Deshaun and Easterby already.

Deshaun lays low for a few months. Says he’s found Jesus after much self reflection and counseling with Easterby. The man that assaulted those women is not the man he is today and the Lord has forgiven him.
 

Phil Plantier

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You’re absolutely high if you think that they haven’t already figured out a “finding Jesus” strategy with Deshaun and Easterby already.

Deshaun lays low for a few months. Says he’s found Jesus after much self reflection and counseling with Easterby. The man that assaulted those women is not the man he is today and the Lord has forgiven him.
Disclaimer at the top: these allegations are horrifying, I believe the women, and I hope Watson is punished.

But, to focus on Jack for a moment: Great point. It is the crux* of the Riddle of Easterby: is he vindictive or manipulative? In other words, is he Nixon or Jim Bakker? If he's Nixon, he leaks that he and Cal never liked Watson, never thought he was upstanding, that they were the ones forcing this divorce all along. If he's Bakker, he does what you suggest. It will be fascinating to see.

* pun intended; 7 years of Catholic school, folks!
 

Average Reds

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Hardin is no dummy.

The defense is when Watson wanted a massage he got a professional masseuse and had a normal respectful professional massage experience. And these plaintiffs, well, he wasn't exactly looking for a massage and they weren't exactly masseuses, look at this or that picture on instagram, wink wink nudge nudge say no more.

It's obviously reprehensible but that seems like the best defense given what's out there.
When the known facts are extremely unfavorable to a lawyer's client, it doesn't necessarily follow that his strategy is therefore "smart."

The most charitable thing I can say about the statement he released is that it has no value.
 

Shelterdog

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When the known facts are extremely unfavorable to a lawyer's client, it doesn't necessarily follow that his strategy is therefore "smart."

The most charitable thing I can say about the statement he released is that it has no value.
It has lots of value. You and I and every other person on this thread realize that it's bull, but ESPN's editors are reporting it as 18 women defend watson, which is a good headline for Watson--and that's what he needs in the pr/nfl discipline fight he's waging.
 

Average Reds

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It has lots of value. You and I and every other person on this thread realize that it's bull, but ESPN's editors are reporting it as 18 women defend watson, which is a good headline for Watson--and that's what he needs in the pr/nfl discipline fight he's waging.
I understand what you are saying, but I question whether that has any real value to Watson at this point.

More to the point, if the reporting is true and there are extensive records of Watson texting the women who are now accusing him, he's fucked and a day of changing the narrative on ESPN does nothing to change that.

I'm not saying that it's a terrible move that will hurt Watson. I just don't agree with the logic of saying that Hardin has nothing to work with, therefore what he's doing must be smart. It's only smart (IMO) if it contributes to extricating Watson from the trouble in front of him and I don't see how it helps in any way on that front.
 

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I feel like this is a good time to remind the world that no one in the football world cared about Peyton Manning assaulting a PT and then blaming it on a black teammate.

I'll concede that one accusation is not nearly the mountain of evidence we have here, but I think it's a remender that the default is to ignore these things.
 

Shelterdog

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I understand what you are saying, but I question whether that has any real value to Watson at this point.

More to the point, if the reporting is true and there are extensive records of Watson texting the women who are now accusing him, he's fucked and a day of changing the narrative on ESPN does nothing to change that.

I'm not saying that it's a terrible move that will hurt Watson. I just don't agree with the logic of saying that Hardin has nothing to work with, therefore what he's doing must be smart. It's only smart (IMO) if it contributes to extricating Watson from the trouble in front of him and I don't see how it helps in any way on that front.
It's not smart because the defense attorney has a bad hand--it's smart because it's one of the best plays he can make with that bad hand.

I think Watson's problems are, from biggest to smallest, NFL discipline, PR particularly as it relates to endorsements or ability to get the job he wants in football, civil liability and criminal liability last.

I think the Hardin move is smart because it helps him with one and two; it starts creating the he said she said narrative that will make it easier for the NFL and a local fan base to accept having him playing. It's not particularly relevant to his civil or criminal liability except to the extent that it influences the jury pool a little.
 

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Until a week ago I would have agreed.

As more details have come out, I no longer believe that playing this year is in the cards. And if I were Watson, I'd be worried about limiting my civil liability and attempting to eliminate the possibility of criminal charges. YMMV.
 

Kenny F'ing Powers

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I feel like this is a good time to remind the world that no one in the football world cared about Peyton Manning assaulting a PT and then blaming it on a black teammate.

I'll concede that one accusation is not nearly the mountain of evidence we have here, but I think it's a remender that the default is to ignore these things.
"Boys will be boys" was a different mentality in the late 90s. Hell, back then people heard what he did and thought it was funny. A little trojan war helmet on an unexpecting trainer? Good times!

Times have changed. Peyton should thank his stars he pulled this shit 20+ years ago.
 

swiftaw

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The thing I can't get over is how many people he has apparently gotten a massage from. We have 21 in the complaint and 18 defending him, so that's 39. I assume there may be more who aren't in either group. Is that normal for a professional athlete?

Maybe I'm wrong, but I would presume that if you were getting massages for their medical or therapeutic benefits you would find a massage therapist that does good work and stick with them. Having so many different ones gives off the impression (at least in my mind) that you are doing it for enjoyment purposes.
 

DGreenwood

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The thing I can't get over is how many people he has apparently gotten a massage from. We have 21 in the complaint and 18 defending him, so that's 39. I assume there may be more who aren't in either group. Is that normal for a professional athlete?

Maybe I'm wrong, but I would presume that if you were getting massages for their medical or therapeutic benefits you would find a massage therapist that does good work and stick with them. Having so many different ones gives off the impression (at least in my mind) that you are doing it for enjoyment purposes.
And it seems like a lot of them were booked through Instagram. Without rehashing the Instagram "massage therapist vs sex worker" issue, Instagram is a platform for sharing pictures. The fact that he's finding these women on Instagram supports the idea that their physical appearance was a priority for him. If the quality of the massage was the focus, there's probably better ways to go about it.
 

Gash Prex

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Some updates

Nike suspended its relationship with Watson

https://profootballtalk.nbcsports.com/2021/04/07/nike-suspends-endorsement-deal-with-deshaun-watson/

Also, Hardin decided he'd release pre-suit negotiation emails to try to smear the first accuser...its not a good look or defense. For a 100k Watson could have avoided all this - what a stupid decision that will be looking back.

I actually agree with Buzbee's statement

“The latest and ever-changing Watson defense is that our legal team is somehow compromised because we tried to settle or resolve issues with one client before putting all of these women through the current media circus we knew would result, because the alleged perpetrator is a famous quarterback,” Buzbee said. “I can and have confirmed we tried to resolve these issues without a lawsuit. That fact was public knowledge almost three weeks ago. We attempted to settle without fanfare or press. In fact, I’ve attached the last email we had with the Watson team before we filed the first lawsuit. This email was sent when we represented only one victim, before we represented what is now 23 women, alleging the same thing.
 

nighthob

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I mean the result was always going to be this, because if Watson had settled the first for 100k I'm sure Buzbee's antennae would have been up and he would have gone on the same fishing expedition. But no matter how much it would have cost to settle these lawsuits it would have to have been cheaper than the alternative. But the fact that the last assault took place after Buzbee contacted Watson's camp to settle the first accusation shows that DSW is a complete sociopath.
 

Cotillion

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So Hardin got the Court to order the disclosure of a number of the Plaintiffs but then went on to admit Deshaun was having sex with a number of them - best of luck with that

View: https://twitter.com/AdamJWexler/status/1380602920224366594
You can see the defense he is now trying to set up.

"Look, nothing he did was non-consensual at the time. It's only non-consensual now cause they see a chance to cash in against my innocent client that they are trying to extort."
 

sodenj5

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The ole’ they wanted it/they knew what they were getting into defense.

Honestly, Watson is probably seriously screwed and their only defense is attempting to smear these women/publicly shame them in hopes that some or all of them drop the suits.

Getting a judge to rule that they have to disclose their names has nothing to do with their defense. It has everything to do with putting these women on the spotlight and throwing an intense amount of scrutiny and pressure their way.
 

PedroKsBambino

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Until a week ago I would have agreed.

As more details have come out, I no longer believe that playing this year is in the cards. And if I were Watson, I'd be worried about limiting my civil liability and attempting to eliminate the possibility of criminal charges. YMMV.
If you were his lawyer what would your approach be?

That’s the problem shelter is speaking to.
 

Average Reds

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If you were his lawyer what would your approach be?

That’s the problem shelter is speaking to.
Let me preface this by stating the obvious, which is that this is all just our own opinion, as we know nothing about the specifics of the case other than what has been reported. so it’s not as if either of us have any fact-based insights here.

That said, if I were Watson’s lawyer, I’d be less concerned about the PR and more concerned about protecting my client from potential criminal liability.

To that end, I’d STFU until I have all the facts, because nothing says “guilty” more than having your lawyer’s position evolve from a full-throated defense of a client’s innocence to a “she/they wanted it” posture. (Edit: especially if the reports are true about Watson texting apologies after the fact to several of them. Seems pretty damnable. But, again, I realize these are media reports and not established facts right now.)

Again, that’s just my opinion.
 
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PedroKsBambino

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I hear that, and I have been told by people who have cases like this that some clients really do feel that protecting their public persona is a significant, if not co-equal, objective.

So I have some sympathy for that possibility, though I am not personally all that big a fan of Hardin. My sense is he’s sometimes interested in the Hardin Show but also acknowledge possibility of above.
 

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Let me preface this by stating the obvious, which is that this is all just our own opinion, as we know nothing about the specifics of the case other than what has been reported. so it’s not as if either of us have any fact-based insights here.

That said, if I were Watson’s lawyer, I’d be less concerned about the PR and more concerned about protecting my client from potential criminal liability.

To that end, I’d STFU until I have all the facts, because nothing says “guilty” more than having your lawyer’s position evolve from a full-throated defense of a client’s innocence to a “she/they wanted it” posture. (Edit: especially if the reports are true about Watson texting apologies after the fact to several of them. Seems pretty damnable. But, again, I realize these are media reports and not established facts right now.)

Again, that’s just my opinion.
I’m no defense attorney but that’s the tact I would take: blanket denial and then STFU. Winning today’s news cycle doesn’t mean shit if your client ends up serving time.
 

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I’m no defense attorney but that’s the tact I would take: blanket denial and then STFU. Winning today’s news cycle doesn’t mean shit if your client ends up serving time.
It's not an easy representation. You want to keep the client out of jail but it's also really, really, really important to the client to keep him playing in the NFL. And you do have to win the news cycle for that.

A driver of in my thinking on this is that I continue to believe that this board is overestimating the likelihood of serious criminal charges.
 

BigSoxFan

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It's not an easy representation. You want to keep the client out of jail but it's also really, really, really important to the client to keep him playing in the NFL. And you do have to win the news cycle for that.

A driver of in my thinking on this is that I continue to believe that this board is overestimating the likelihood of serious criminal charges.
As a non-law talking person, would be curious to know what is driving this belief of yours? Not challenging, just curious.
 

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Getting a judge to rule that they have to disclose their names has nothing to do with their defense. It has everything to do with putting these women on the spotlight and throwing an intense amount of scrutiny and pressure their way.
Can't it be both - getting the names could be part of the defense because they will then start digging into everything on the women. Won't the defense try to find evidence that any of the women did accept money for services other than a massage? I'll admit I haven't followed that closely but would this go forward as a collective group vs. Watson? If so, wouldn't the defense just need to find one example of one woman taking money for extra services beyond a legitimate massage? Then the narrative becomes one of targeting Watson and fabricating these stories because of <insert some defense story>? Unlike 3/4 of SoSH I'm not a lawyer so I have no idea if I'm on the right path here or not.
 

sodenj5

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Can't it be both - getting the names could be part of the defense because they will then start digging into everything on the women. Won't the defense try to find evidence that any of the women did accept money for services other than a massage? I'll admit I haven't followed that closely but would this go forward as a collective group vs. Watson? If so, wouldn't the defense just need to find one example of one woman taking money for extra services beyond a legitimate massage? Then the narrative becomes one of targeting Watson and fabricating these stories because of <insert some defense story>? Unlike 3/4 of SoSH I'm not a lawyer so I have no idea if I'm on the right path here or not.
Very valid point, and I probably worded that poorly. I think their primary motive is to put those women into an uncomfortable position, but as you stated, they can probably start digging on these women as well.
 

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As a non-law talking person, would be curious to know what is driving this belief of yours? Not challenging, just curious.
A couple of things -- and it will make me seem like a garbage human because Watson's conduct is obviously awful and of course I'm not defending him.

First thing is that the conduct he's accused of is, in virtually every case, probably not a felony. (I think one of the complaints says he forced someone to perform oral sex and that is clearly a felony.) The fact pattern in most of the allegations is massage, he caused his penis to touch my hand, he masturbated. That looks like indecent assault which is a misdemeanor and indecent exposure (another misdemeanor). He did a lot so a prosecutor might look into it but already we're outside of cosby/weinstein/epstein territory. I think this is the biggest thing that people are overlooking--because he's so gross folks aren't looking at the criminal charges that apply.

Second thing is that it's just tough to bring sexual assault charges. Don't know about trying them in Houston but I've heard prosecutors say things like you can never win a case where a woman knowingly entered a room alone with a man--because jurors will assume it might be consensual. The fact they're masseuses doesn't help. I'd of course defer to people who know the houston jury pool but those are just tough facts.

Third thing is Watson's big defense is his state of mind. If a jury thinks he honestly thought there was consent he pretty much wins. One of the complaints cited up thread has Watson saying essentially what's up, all the other masseuses do X or Y which generally supports the idea that he thought he was paying for sexual contact.

Fourth he's a celebrity athlete so you've got to be concerned that either his star power or rooting for the team sways some jurors.

Fifth and it's sad but there's going to be the question of the victims' credibility. Really big part of the case and based on what little we know there's a lot that Hardin could use. No criminal complaints, hiding their names after filing, apparently they found the lawyer or were found by the lawyer after this became a big lawsuit--those are all facts some jurors might find persuasive. And that's without knowing anything about the victims: I suspect there will be a field day when the victim's identities and Instagram pics come out because every pic of a woman in a bikini is going to be used against the woman. (As is the fact that I guess some of the women aren't masseuses). Plus how many of the women would actually be willing to testify in a criminal case at this point?

Anyhow it's a long-winded way of saying that criminally charging people for sexual assault is really hard and this case is particularly difficult. So Hardin is weighing all that against his client's desire to not get busted by the NFL and lose 30 million a year and that makes the Hardin strategy much more understandable.
 

Gash Prex

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An examination by ESPN of the 22 lawsuits and interviews with six other women who have massaged Watson reveal a complex portrait of a man on a seemingly insatiable hunt for massage therapy and of two groups of women -- one that says he is a menacing sexual predator and one that suggests his actions must have been grossly misunderstood.
Nine of the 22 plaintiffs represented by attorney Tony Buzbee are licensed massage therapists, while the rest are either working toward massage licenses or specialize in skin treatments or other wellness therapies. Most live in the Houston area. Two are from Georgia and one each from California and Arizona.
But at least one massage therapist who has not sued Watson, a woman from Houston who has asked to go by the pseudonym Mary, told ESPN she felt "shocked" when Watson exposed his naked body and became sexually aroused during a massage session in the fall of 2019.
https://www.espn.com/nfl/story/_/id/31223804/examining-dual-narratives-deshaun-watson-massages

A "seemingly insatiable hunt for massage therapy" is a problem.
 

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Cross-posted:


There is no named author to that piece, instead it is attributed to ‘ESPN Staff.’

Some guy on Twitter who appears to be an ESPN editor seems to claims several writers contributed to the story:

View: https://twitter.com/mikedrago/status/1381573161943232513?s=21

The article itself is a disaster. I was happy with ESPN saying nothing beyond reporting basic facts, but that posture is now brushed aside. The thrust of the piece is essentially ‘my my this is troubling but how does one reconcile it with the fact people like Watson, he has done good things, he may be too busy to have assaulted some of all of his accusers, and he hasn’t allegedly assaulted every massage therapist he has encountered.’

The oppositional framework the piece sets up between massage therapists who have accused him and those who have not and think he’s a swell guy is particularly cheap and fallacious. Now it’s not just Watson’s word against the accusers....it’s Watson’s word AND other massage therapists’ words against the accusers. I mean, hey, Mel Gibson never called Whoopi Goldberg a racial slur while visiting her house!

Incidentally, the following line is odd. What the hell? I can’t tell if that’s intended to be a scoff at the allegations, a scoff at Watson’s position, a joke, or is just awkward writing. It’s tonally inconsistent with the rest of the piece, which could be a function of writing by committee.

‘An examination by ESPN of the 22 lawsuits and interviews with six other women who have massaged Watson reveal a complex portrait of a man on a seemingly insatiable hunt for massage therapy and of two groups of women -- one that says he is a menacing sexual predator and one that suggests his actions must have been grossly misunderstood.’
 

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Cross-posted:


There is no named author to that piece, instead it is attributed to ‘ESPN Staff.’

Some guy on Twitter who appears to be an ESPN editor seems to claims several writers contributed to the story:

View: https://twitter.com/mikedrago/status/1381573161943232513?s=21

The article itself is a disaster. I was happy with ESPN saying nothing beyond reporting basic facts, but that posture is now brushed aside. The thrust of the piece is essentially ‘my my this is troubling but how does one reconcile it with the fact people like Watson, he has done good things, he may be too busy to have assaulted some of all of his accusers, and he hasn’t allegedly assaulted every massage therapist he has encountered.’

The oppositional framework the piece sets up between massage therapists who have accused him and those who have not and think he’s a swell guy is particularly cheap and fallacious. Now it’s not just Watson’s word against the accusers....it’s Watson’s word AND other massage therapists’ words against the accusers. I mean, hey, Mel Gibson never called Whoopi Goldberg a racial slur while visiting her house!

Incidentally, the following line is odd. What the hell? I can’t tell if that’s intended to be a scoff at the allegations, a scoff at Watson’s position, a joke, or is just awkward writing. It’s tonally inconsistent with the rest of the piece, which could be a function of writing by committee.

‘An examination by ESPN of the 22 lawsuits and interviews with six other women who have massaged Watson reveal a complex portrait of a man on a seemingly insatiable hunt for massage therapy and of two groups of women -- one that says he is a menacing sexual predator and one that suggests his actions must have been grossly misunderstood.’
The bolded is one of the more ridiculous sentences I’ve ever read. I’m at least 11% certain that it’s intended to be biting sarcasm.
 
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I would wager that entire bolded section was inserted by an editor. ESPN really doesn't want these allegations to be true, and so the time has come for the progressive network to circle the wagons and destroy the female accusers.
 

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I would wager that entire bolded section was inserted by an editor. ESPN really doesn't want these allegations to be true, and so the time has come for the progressive network to circle the wagons and destroy the female accusers.
Why would ESPN care whether Watson is guilty or innocent? They cover the story either way and can keep generating clicks with aggregate stories.
 

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Because Disney just made a huge bet on the NFL? Because the NFL has a history of leaning on ESPN for favorable coverage?
Their audience is sports fans and their product is sports, not news?
I don't think it matters much to them. There are plenty of other NFL players to promote.

Favoprable coverage? Like the millions they made out of covering the Patriots' scandals? If the NFL counted on them for favorable coverage, they wouldn't have run this particular story on their website.
 

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I don't think it matters much to them. There are plenty of other NFL players to promote.

Favoprable coverage? Like the millions they made out of covering the Patriots' scandals? If the NFL counted on them for favorable coverage, they wouldn't have run this particular story on their website.
Possible that the NFL knows that they can't completely ignore this story so their preferred approach is to have ESPN whitewash it?
 

nighthob

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Like the millions they made out of covering the Patriots' scandals? If the NFL counted on them for favorable coverage, they wouldn't have run this particular story on their website.
I mean ESPN literally ran with the NFL narrative there. It seems odd to cite ESPN's coverage of non-scandals with NFL spin as an example of ESPN bucking the bridle.
 

EvilEmpire

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That looks like indecent assault which is a misdemeanor and indecent exposure (another misdemeanor). He did a lot so a prosecutor might look into it but already we're outside of cosby/weinstein/epstein territory.
Would that be enough to get put on a sex offender registry? If he did even half of what has been alleged, I think that needs to happen. He's a predator.
 

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Would that be enough to get put on a sex offender registry? If he did even half of what has been alleged, I think that needs to happen. He's a predator.
Preacher is right-the second indecent exposure might get him on the registering but interestingly the twenty or more incidents of causing the touching of the penis doesn’t seem to automatically do so (it might be done otherwise as a condition of his parole
https://www.dps.texas.gov/section/crime-records-service/faq/criminal-history-records-and-texas-sex-offender-registration#Sex-offender
I think preacher has done a lot more work in this space then I have and might able to speak to his more informed views on prosecuting offenders in this space particularly with no police report no crime scene evidence etc.
 

Preacher

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Preacher is right-the second indecent exposure might get him on the registering but interestingly the twenty or more incidents of causing the touching of the penis doesn’t seem to automatically do so (it might be done otherwise as a condition of his parole
https://www.dps.texas.gov/section/crime-records-service/faq/criminal-history-records-and-texas-sex-offender-registration#Sex-offender
I think preacher has done a lot more work in this space then I have and might able to speak to his more informed views on prosecuting offenders in this space particularly with no police report no crime scene evidence etc.
The only reason why I ever looked that up was I had a client plead to indecent exposure and I knew he was planning on moving to Texas after released from confinement so I wanted to make sure he was aware of the current registration requirements but that was like 7 years ago.

I think you were pretty spot on in your previous post. These cases are difficult and when you’re not talking a rape or penetrative sexual assault, you start to consider the sentence (which would likely be light in this situation) and the amount of effort it will take to get a conviction (if you even can get a conviction) and do the calculus on whether or not it’s worth it. In my experience, most jurisdictions wouldn’t pick up this case without a law enforcement report and at least some substantiating evidence, due to the delayed reporting and motive to fabricate ($$). Also, as you previously indicated, as reprehensible as Watson’s alleged acts are, it’s not exactly the crime of the century. It would be a huge effort to move this to a trial for what amounts to only months of jail time or maybe just probation.