Prosecutors in Houston have begun a grand jury investigation of Texans quarterback Deshaun Watson, who is accused in 22 civil lawsuits and 10 criminal complaints of sexual misconduct and sexual assault, according to multiple Friday reports.
Sources told Houston television station KRIV and Yahoo Sportsthat the Harris County District Attorney’s Office is issuing subpoenas in the case. Yahoo reported that prosecutors are seeking testimony from a “small handful” of accusers who have filed complaints with Houston police. Watson will not be subpoenaed to testify, Yahoo reported.
“In the interest of fairness to all parties in any potential matter we don’t comment until and if there is a criminal charge,” the district attorney’s office said in a statement to KRIV.
The timetable for the grand jury investigation is not known. Jurors will try to determine whether there is sufficient evidence to charge Watson with a crime. Two dozen women, all of them massage therapists, have accused him of offenses ranging from unwanted touching to forced oral sex during massage sessions.
The NFL is looking into the allegations separately. SI.com reported that the league has interviewed 10 of the 22 women who are suing Watson. Accusers Ashley Solis and Lauren Baxley told SI.com for a story this week that the league investigators who interviewed them were “patronizing” and engaged in “victim-blaming.” Solis told SI she was worried “my words were going to be used against me.”
SI reported that the league did not make the investigators — Lisa Friel and Jennifer Gaffney — available for comment.
Watson is in training camp with the Texans, but is the team’s fourth-string quarterback and not taking part in drills or practice. He wants to be traded, but has yet to find a trade destination.
Media have regularly recorded Watson’s movements at camp while they wait for him to grant an interview. Watson appeared to lose patience Thursday when he asked reporters, “Why are y’all always filming me every day? It’s the same s—.”