With DeShaun Watson being traded to the Browns, former Sports Illustrated staffer Jenny Vrentas, now a reporter for The New York Times, walks us through her reporting on the controversial quarterback and the allegations of sexual misconduct made against him.
- SI Daily Cover: A Massage Therapist on Her Session With Deshaun Watson
- SI Daily Cover: The Problems in the Deshaun Watson Cases Go Beyond Deshaun Watson
- Jenny Vrentas’s reporting for The New York Times
Jenny Vrentas: There are 22 active civil lawsuits right now, there were 10 criminal complaints and of the 10 criminal complaints, eight had also filed civil complaints and two had not. So in total there were 24 allegations that were brought to either the civil or criminal court system. And they all were very similar accounts—from Watson exposing himself to touching the therapist, in some cases ejaculating on them and in other cases, a handful of the allegations are for sexual assault. All of them had a commonality in that he booked a massage appointment with the massage therapist and then turned the appointment sexual without their consent.
John Gonzalez: Take us through what happened with the grand jury that was impaneled in Texas with regard to the allegations made against Deshaun.
JV: So a grand jury in Harris County, Texas, which is where Houston is located, on Friday, March 11th, heard nine criminal cases against Deshaun Watson. The grand jury proceedings are secretive; they are behind closed doors. We couldn’t even see anyone going in and out. In these cases, the grand jury hears testimony or evidence or whatever the prosecutor chooses to bring. And we don’t know exactly how the prosecutor presented the case.
We do know some elements. We know that some of the video testimony—the women who filed criminal complaints had given to police—some of that was played in the hearings. We know that several of the women were subpoenaed to potentially provide testimony. They all sat in a room together. Only one of those women was actually called in front of the grand jury. We don’t actually even know which charges they considered. We know that the police investigation was zeroing in on “indecent assault” which is a misdemeanor in Texas. But three of the 10 criminal complaints alleged sexual assaults. But in all, the grand jury returned nine “no bills” after hearing testimony for about six hours, which meant that they did not believe there was enough evidence to establish probable cause for criminal charges.
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