The woman who filed the first lawsuit alleging sexual assault by Houston Texans quarterback Deshaun Watson disclosed her identity and spoke to the media Tuesday.
Massage therapist Ashley Solis tearfully told her story at a press conference arranged by Houston attorney Tony Buzbee, who is representing her and 21 other women who have filed suits.
“I’m here to take back the power and take back control,” Solis said. “I’m a survivor of assault and harassment.”
Solis said Watson assaulted her at her home on March 30, 2020.
“Some days I feel like a hero, other days I feel like a failure,” she said. “I can no longer practice the profession I love the most without my hands shaking during the session. I got into massage therapy to heal people. To heal their minds and bodies. To bring peace to their souls. Deshaun Watson has robbed me of that.”
Solis said she has experienced anxiety, depression and panic attacks.
“We were all deceived into thinking Deshaun Watson was a good guy, and unfortunately we know that good guys can do terrible things,” she said.
Buzbee said Solis has spoken with the Houston Police Department. The department acknowledged last week that Watson is the subject of a police investigation.
Watson, 25, has denied the accusations of the women who allege he used massages as pretext to prey on them. In the lawsuits, he is accused of exposing his genitals to the women and forcing one to perform oral sex.
Watson agreed to a four-year, $156 million contract extension last September, and he subsequently produced his third consecutive Pro Bowl season for the Texans. However, he requested a trade in January.
“People say that I’m doing this just for money,” Solis said Tuesday. “That is false. I come forward now so that Deshaun Watson does not assault another woman.”