Deshaun Watson of the Cleveland Browns has made confidential settlements with 20 of the 24 women who sued and accused him of sexual misconduct. Most of the lawsuits were filed in 2021 after his alleged misconduct during massage sessions in 2020 and early 2021. The settlements come after he mad
The lawsuits against Watson claim he engaged in a pattern of lewd behavior with women hired to perform professional massage services. Allegedly Watson pressured women to perform sexual acts during massage sessions. The women claim he exposed and touched himself and moved in ways that forced women to touch his genitals. 2 of the 24 cases claim sexual assault alleging he pressured the women to perform oral sex and grabbed a woman’s buttocks and vagina.
Watson previously faced numerous criminal complaints for the alleged sexual assaults, but two separate Texas grand juries declined to charge him. Following the conclusion of the criminal proceedings, the Cleveland Browns acquired Watson from the Texans, offering him a record five-year contract worth a guaranteed $230 million.
Despite resolving 20 of the civil suits against him, Watson still faces 4 unsettled cases, which will continue to proceed towards trial. Furthermore, the NFL’s investigation into Watson’s conduct is still ongoing and he faces a potential lengthy suspension. Resolving civil litigation is likely to have no impact on the NFL’s disciplinary process.
Lawsuits for Sexual Misconduct
In Ohio, if you are assaulted sexually, you have the right to file a civil sexual assault case. A civil case does not impose a prison sentence on the individual like a conviction in a criminal case. Still, it is a way for the victim to be awarded monetary compensation for any medical bills, and mental or physical damage sustained because of the assault.
If your case has gone to criminal court and the defendant is found innocent, that will not affect the filing of a civil lawsuit. A sexual assault criminal case may not have sufficient evidence to meet the burden of proof for the perpetrator to be charged or convicted in a criminal court because they must be found guilty “beyond a reasonable doubt.”
Civil cases allow you to bring a claim against any other liable parties that may have failed to prevent the assault. Certain entities and people are legally responsible for preventing harmful environments, such as schools, churches, employers, stores, and restaurants.
Advantages of Civil Sexual Assault Lawsuits
Victims have more control over civil proceedings. The victim and their attorney control the direction of a civil case while the prosecutor and state control criminal cases.
The burden of proof is easier to meet. The evidentiary standard used in civil cases is a preponderance of the evidence. A civil case only has to prove that it happened more likely than not.
Multiple parties can be held liable and sued. Depending on the facts of the sexual assault, additional parties (schools, work, hospitals) besides the attacker may be responsible for the attack.
Do You Need an Ohio Sexual Assault Lawyer?
Yes, if you have been sexually assaulted and want to file a sexual assault civil case in Ohio, it is best to hire a lawyer experienced in handling these cases. The perpetrator may not be the only liable party in your civil case. An experienced attorney will examine the circumstances of the assault and assess any other parties for liability.
When filing a sex assault civil lawsuit, you have control over the case. Although it is your decision when to file suit, who it is against, and when to settle or take it to trial, you should defer to your lawyer’s judgment in any decision that affects your case.
Our attorneys at Charles Boyk are experienced in handling sexual assault civil cases. If you have been sexually assaulted, contact our lawyers because each state has a statute of limitations that allows you a certain amount of time after the assault to file suit. We understand the laws specific to Ohio sexual assault civil cases and will communicate with you and explain every step of the process. Contact a lawyer at Charles Boyk today for a free consultation of your case.