The plaintiff, identified as “Kate P.”, is seeking more than $75,000 in damages in a lawsuit filed Tuesday in the U.S. District Court in Arizona. She said that Winston “issued a hollow apology” in July and “has a history of sexually hostile behavior and appears to be no closer to understanding the impact of his conduct.”
Winston is serving a three-game suspension from the NFL for violating the league’s personal conduct policy. He is set to return from his ban following the Buccaneers’ game against the Pittsburgh Steelers on Monday.
The lawsuit alleges that Winston was “belligerent” and placed his fingers between the plaintiff’s legs and pressed them firmly over her yoga pants while waiting in the drive-thru line of Los Betos restaurant in Scottsdale in March 2016.
Per the lawsuit, she looked at Winston and down at his hand before responding, “What’s up with that?” Winston withdrew his hand, the suit says.
She then immediately tried calling her boyfriend before sending him a series of text messages, including one that read “I just got semi-molested by the Tampa Bay Buc QB.”
The woman did not file a report with police but did report the incident to Uber the following day. Uber contacted Winston, who said that there were other passengers in the vehicle that night.
The NFL investigated the incident for eight months before concluding that Winston was involved in detrimental conduct by “touching the driver in an inappropriate and sexual manner without her consent and that disciplinary action was necessary and appropriate.”
In Winston’s absence on the field, quarterback Ryan Fitzpatrick has thrown for 819 yards to go along with eight passing touchdowns and a rushing score for the Buccaneers (2-0). The 35-year-old Fitzpatrick joined Patrick Mahomes (2018) and Drew Bledsoe (1997) as the lone quarterbacks in NFL history with at least four touchdown passes in each of their team’s first two games of the season.
Winston became the first quarterback in NFL history to throw for over 4,000 yards in each of his first two seasons. He was hampered by a shoulder injury in 2017, limiting him to a career-worst 3,504 passing yards with 19 touchdowns in 13 games.
The 24-year-old Winston has completed 939 of 1,544 passes for 11,636 yards with 69 touchdowns and 44 interceptions in 45 career games with the Buccaneers. He has also rushed for 513 yards with eight scores.