The Houston Police Department has launched an investigation into a criminal complaint filed against Texans quarterback Deshaun Watson, who faces allegations from numerous women of sexual assault and misconduct.
The department said in a statement shared on Twitter Friday that a “complainant filed a report” with police regarding Watson.
“As with any allegation, the Houston Police Department is now conducting an investigation and will not comment further during the investigative process,” the statement added.
The criminal investigation comes as the Texans player has been hit with 21 civil lawsuits, mostly from massage therapists, accusing him of sexual misconduct and assault in massage sessions from 2020 to 2021.
The NFL first said earlier this month that it had opened an investigation into Watson in a letter to attorney Tony Buzbee, who has filed the series of suits on behalf of the women who have anonymously brought forth sexual misconduct and assault allegations.
Watson has denied the accusations and his attorney, Rusty Hardin, on Wednesday released a statement with messages of support from 18 different massage therapists who have worked with Watson.
“These women say they are deeply troubled by the accusations made against Deshaun and that these claims are wholly inconsistent with their experiences with him and who they believe him to be,” Hardin wrote.
“All of them stated that Deshaun never made them feel uncomfortable or demanded anything outside the scope of a professional message,” he continued, adding that the statements of support “show the true side to this story that has been so lacking in the flurry of anonymous complaints filed by opposing counsel.”
Among the accusations against Watson are claims of appearing nude in two instances after hiring massage therapists and allegedly forcing them to touch his genitals.
A Sports Illustrated story published on Monday detailed a massage therapist’s claim that Watson sexually assaulted her during a 2019 session.