The Deshaun Watson sexual assault lawsuit has taken another strange turn.
So far 22 women, mostly consisting of massage therapists, are accusing Deshaun Watson of sexual assault. After the accusations went public, Watson’s legal team provided the names of 18 women who have come to Watson’s defense to say they had worked with him and that he had not sexually harassed them during their sessions together.
The Houston Chronicle’s Alex Stuckey did some digging and found that several of Watson’s character witnesses were providing massage therapy without a license which is a crime in most states.
Last month, @RustyHardinJr released a list of women defending Deshaun Watson. I analyzed the list and found numerous errors from misspellings to expired licenses to, seemingly, no license at all.
I found similar mistakes from @Tony_UNHINGED https://t.co/tDyZzyHvii @HoustonChron
— Alex Stuckey 🐘 (@alexdstuckey) April 16, 2021
Two others, Sara Fetherolf, who is listed as a licensed physical therapist working with Watson in Los Angeles, and Ashley Thomas, who said she gave Watson multiple massages between 2019 and 2020, could not be found in state licensing records.
Hardin told the Chronicle that Fetherolf is licensed in California, but the Chronicle could find no record of it.
The only Ashley Thomas that could be found in the Texas Department of Licensing and Regulation database became a licensed massage therapist in 2004, but her license later expired. Hardin’s press release said Thomas became a licensed massage therapist in Oklahoma in 2007 and now owns a spa in Grand Prairie.
Hardin said another woman in Georgia, Luretia Dany Craig, received her therapy license from the Atlanta School of Massage in 2008 and that she primarily works with athletes, active adults and entertainers. No current license could be found for Craig, although her statement does not specify when she worked with Watson.
In both Texas and Georgia, massaging someone without a license is a misdemeanor offense.
Hardin said his team knew that both Thomas and Craig were not licensed when they gave Watson a massage.
“They made that fact known to us,” Hardin said in a statement. “They were not afraid of the consequences of sharing their story because it was the truth.”
Several accusers who are suing Watson were also found to be giving massages without a license.
Many of the women who are suing Watson and said they provided him massages were not licensed. They admitted as much in their lawsuits.
Some were working toward their massage therapy requirements to obtain licenses, lawsuits state, while others admitted to providing the service despite their focus in other areas such as bodywork and stretch therapy, as well as makeup artistry.
After releasing in court documents the names of all 22 women filing suit this week, the Chronicle found that Buzbee misspelled the name of an esthetician who worked with Watson in November 2020.
The Chronicle also could not find evidence of a Texas massage therapy license under the name of one woman who claimed to be licensed.
A Texas-issued license is required to practice massage therapy in the state. Licenses from other states do not transfer, according to the Texas Department of Licensing and Regulation.
The latest revelation by the Houston Chronicle is not good for Watson’s defense team because they now have to answer why would Watson risk his body by going to massage therapists who doesn’t have a license and could easily injure him.
As for Watson, it seems like he’s trying to get his team to settle the lawsuits before he’s forced to go to trial.
Several sources telling me Deshaun Watson still trying to settle these cases. Settling would be the best thing he could do, and could dissuade women from going through with criminal route. I believe Buzbee would settle for the right number.
— Amy Dash (@AmyDashTV) April 9, 2021