Berliner TageBlatt - Texans' Watson won't face criminal case: prosecutors

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Texans' Watson won't face criminal case: prosecutors
Texans' Watson won't face criminal case: prosecutors / Foto: © AFP

Texans' Watson won't face criminal case: prosecutors

Houston Texans quarterback DeShaun Watson will not face criminal prosecution over allegations of sexual misconduct made by multiple massage therapists, prosecutors said Friday.

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A statement from the Harris County District Attorney's office in Texas said that after hearing evidence from witnesses at a hearing on Friday, a grand jury had decided not to indict the NFL star.

"After a Harris County grand jury was presented all the evidence and had the opportunity to hear from all witnesses, grand jurors declined to indict Deshaun Watson," the statement said.

"Grand jury proceedings are secret by law, so no information related to their inquiry may be disclosed."

Watson, 26, has been accused by more than 20 women of sexual misconduct and inappropriate behavior during massages he paid for.

The Texans star, one of the most talented quarterbacks in the NFL, still faces a slew of civil claims over his conduct.

Watson, who missed the entirety of the 2021 NFL season as he awaited his fate, has consistently denied any wrongdoing over the allegations.

Watson's lawyer, Rusty Hardin, welcomed Friday's grand jury decision.

"We are delighted that the grand jury has looked at the matter thoroughly and reached the same conclusion we did," Hardin said in a statement.

"Deshaun Watson did not commit any crimes and is not guilty of any offenses."

"Now that the criminal investigations have been completed, we are happy to move forward with the civil case depositions. We will vigorously defend those cases with every ounce we have.

"It is time to let Deshaun move on."

A clearly emotional Watson later addressed reporters alongside Hardin outside the hearing.

"It's definitely a very emotional moment for me," Watson said.

"I know we're far from being done, and handling what we need to handle on the legal side. But today is definitely a big day.

"I think that everyone that was a part of this (hearing) seeing and hearing both sides, that’s what my point and my team wanted to do -– was have a fair slate of us telling our side of the story, and letting the conclusion coming down to what happened today," he added.

"I'm going to keep fighting to rebuild my name, and my appearance in the community."

Despite Friday's grand jury decision, Watson's playing career remains shrouded in uncertainty.

While his conduct has not resulted in criminal prosecution, he could yet face heavy sanctions from the NFL if it determined he has breached the league's personal conduct policy.

D.Schneider--BTB