Four more massage therapists filed lawsuits alleging sexual misconduct by Houston Texans quarterback Deshaun Watson, the lawyer handling the cases said Friday, revealing that the NFL star faced claims from as many as 22 women.
Attorney Tony Buzbee told a news conference in Houston that four new cases had been filed against Watson on Friday following three cases filed by massage therapists earlier this week.
Buzbee said lawsuits from five more women were pending while 10 more accusers were having allegations vetted.
"We are now representing 12 women and we will file the remaining cases in due course as we do our due diligence," Buzbee said.
"We have also spoken to more than 10 additional women, 22 women in total, who have reported conducted similar to that laid down in our public filings."
Watson, 25, regarded as one of the best quarterbacks in the NFL, has strongly denied the allegations, which have been detailed in civil lawsuits filed in court in Texas this week.
The Texans said in a statement on Thursday that the NFL had launched an investigation into the claims.
Buzbee, meanwhile, urged any other women with claims against Watson to step forward.
"I want to say this to any woman out there -- if you're a victim of sexual assault, contact our office," Buzbee said. "You can remain anonymous. We want to hear from you."
- 'Same or similar conduct' -
The lawyer also gave details about the backgrounds of the women involved in the cases, noting that most of them were licensed massage therapy professionals.
"All of the cases that we have filed -- and we have vetted each one very carefully -- contain the same or similar conduct," he said.
"Three of the women are undergoing intensive therapy as a result of the defendant's conduct."
Buzbee also rubbished conspiracy theories that the case's emergence was linked to Watson's efforts to seek a lucrative move away from the Texans
"This case has nothing to do with the Texans or free agency," he said. "I don't know anything about that silliness and I don't care about it.
"This case is about brave women who stepped forward knowing they would be criticized and ostracized and we should all get behind them and applaud them for their bravery."
Allegations against Watson include forcing a female masseuse to perform a sex act during a session and touching a therapist with his genitals.
In a statement after the first lawsuit emerged on Tuesday, Watson denied acting improperly, saying his accuser was seeking a payday.
"I have never treated any woman with anything other than the utmost respect," Watson said.
"The plaintiff's lawyer claims that this isn't about money, but before filing suit he made a baseless six-figure settlement demand, which I quickly rejected. Unlike him, this isn't about money for me -- it's about clearing my name, and I look forward to doing that."
Watson threw for an NFL-leading 4,832 yards in 2020 with 33 touchdowns and just seven interceptions.
The Texans drafted him in the first round in 2017 and coach David Culley has said the team is "committed" to Watson, although the three-time Pro Bowler has reportedly requested a trade.