The Houston Police Department announced Friday that a police report has been filed against Houston Texans quarterback Deshaun Watson.
“As with any allegation, the Houston Police Department is now conducting an investigation and will not comment further during the investigative process,” the department wrote in a statement on social media.
Asked Friday if they could provide details of the nature of the complaint, a sergeant with Houston police said not at this time.
The criminal investigation comes as 21 unnamed women filed civil lawsuits against Watson in recent weeks. Each of the women has accused him of sexual misconduct or assault during separate massage sessions dating back to March 2020.
Watson’s attorney, Rusty Hardin, said in a statement that “we welcome this long overdue development.”
“Now we will learn the identity of at least one accuser,” Hardin said. “We will fully cooperate with the Houston Police Department.”
With the filing of a police report, Watson is now facing the prospect of a criminal charge in addition to the possible compensatory damages in the civil case. He might also face discipline from the NFL, which has been investigating the matter independently.
Watson, 25, broadly denied wrongdoing on March 16, in his lone public statement on the matter. He wrote in a social media post that he has always treated women with “utmost respect.”
Hardin has previously said that he believes “any allegation that Deshaun forced a woman to commit a sexual act is completely false.”
One of the top young quarterbacks in the NFL, Watson led the league in passing yards last year and has been named to three consecutive Pro Bowls. He requested a trade from the Texans earlier this year.
Contributing: Brent Schrotenboer