Kim Ogg, a district attorney in Harris County, Texas, said that Cleveland Browns quarterback Deshaun Watson is not “exonerated” because he was not criminally charged.
Note: This story contains graphic accounts of domestic violence, threats and sexual assault. If you or someone you know is a survivor of sexual assault or domestic violence, contact the National Sexual Assault Hotline at 1-800-656-4673 or the Domestic Violence Hotline at 1-800-799-7233.
Quarterback Deshaun Watson was subject to nine criminal complaints of sexual misconduct by message therapists, but two Harris County, Texas grand juries decided against criminally indicting him. Despite this and his trade to the Cleveland Browns, Watson is still subject to up to 20 civil lawsuits, and awaiting word on league punishment.
During an appearance on “The Mike Meltser Podcast,” Harris County district attorney Kim Ogg ended her interview by explaining that even though Watson was not indicted, that does not mean he is “exonerated.”
Harris County DA shuts down talk of Deshaun Watson being ‘exonerated’
“We respect our justice process. I love the law. It’s designed to get to the truth. That’s really what people want. I don’t think as a culture we can live with injustice,” said Ogg, h/t Pro Football Talk. “Remember, a grand jury no bill is not an exoneration. People, even when they clear the criminal justice system, often face accountability and repercussions in other parts of our legal system. And so I think to determine whether justice was done in this case you’re going to have to wait and see how it all comes out on the civil side of things and then through the NFL on the administrative side of things. And then people will determine whether that’s justice.”
After the first grand jury opted against indicting Watson, trade talks heated up, despite the looming civil lawsuits. Ultimately, the Browns negotiated their trade with the Houston Texans, sending over multiple high-end draft picks in exchange for the quarterback. Cleveland then gave Watson a five-year, $230 million fully guaranteed contract.
Since, the number of civil lawsuits have grown to 24. A report from the New York Times revealed that Watson had met with at least 66 different massage therapists in a 17 month period and that he “engaged in more questionable behavior than previously known.” One woman, who did not sue Watson, said that the quarterback “begged” her for oral sex, while another woman said that he “initiated sexual contact” in all three of their appointments.
In regards to a punishment by the NFL, Watson’s camp reportedly believes that the league will pursue a season-long suspension for violating the personal conduct policy.