Texans quarterback Deshaun Watson will not face any criminal charges in relation to sexual assault allegations, a grand jury ruled Friday.
The grand jury returned nine ‘no’ bills in regard to nine criminal complaints presented. Watson can still lose his battle in civil court cases, however.
“After a Harry County grand jury was presented all the evidence and had the opportunity to hear from all witnesses, grand jurors decline to indict Deshaun Watson,” a spokesman for the Harris County District Attorney’s office Dane Schiller said in a statement. “Grand jury proceedings are secret by law, so no information related to their inquiry may be disclosed.”
The statement from the Harris County District Attorney’s Office on a grand jury’s determination that Deshaun Watson should not be charged with a crime. pic.twitter.com/i2cYdqh3Q8
— Ian Rapoport (@RapSheet) March 11, 2022
Police began an investigation following lawsuits launched by 22 women who accused Watson of sexual harassment and assault during massage sessions, according to ESPN. Among the allegations against Watson include allegedly exposing himself, touching massage therapists’ hands with his penis, and sexual assault claims, The New York Times reported. (RELATED: Massage Therapist Nia Lewis Details Alleged Inappropriate Experiences With Deshaun Watson)
Eight of the women who sued the quarterback filed criminal complaints against him with the Houston Police and appeared before the grand jury. Two other women filed complaints but did not sue, according to ESPN.
The first suit was launched in March of 2020, and Watson has not played for the Texans since, though he remained on the roster and was paid his entire base salary, according to the report.
Watson appeared before the grand jury for the first time Friday and plead the Fifth so as to not incriminate himself during his testimony, according to ESPN.
Watson’s lawyer, Rusty Hardin, said Watson “did not commit any crimes and is not guilty of any offenses,” in a statement Friday following the decision.
“We are delighted that the grand jury has looked at the matter thoroughly and reached the same conclusion we did,” Hardin said. “Now that the criminal investigations have been completed, we are happy to move forward with the civil case depositions. We will vigorously defend those cases with every ounce we have.”