Former Spurs Psychologist Sues Team, Will File Criminal Complaint Against Josh Primo. “We Expect The Authorities To Prosecute,” Says Attorney
Attorney Tony Buzbee, who represented more than two dozen women who accused Browns’ quarterback Deshaun Watson of sexual misconduct has filed a new suit, this time against the San Antonio Spurs.
The NBA team, which suddenly waived star player Joshua Primo, is facing allegations by a former team psychologist that it failed to act when she notified management that Primo allegedly exposed his genitals to her.
Buzbee says that Dr. Hillary Cauthen is also suing Primo personally, will file a criminal complaint and is working with law enforcement in an alleged criminal investigation.
Buzbee says he filed a lawsuit against the San Antonio Spurs organization, in San Antonio, and former player Joshua Primo as well, Thursday morning.
“Josh Primo’s conduct is obviously well outside of the bounds of what is normal or acceptable,” Buzbee said at a live streaming press conference. “His conduct shocks the conscience. I would also say the Spurs’ conduct and the way they handled this matter was egregious and absolutely unreasonable.”
Buzbee says that law enforcement in San Antonio reached out to him when the story broke and a criminal complaint will be filed by Cauthen who is alleging multiple counts of indecent exposure by Mr. Primo.
“We expect the authorities to prosecute,” Buzbee said. Dr. Cauthen plans to participate in the criminal proceedings, if they arise.
Cauthen took the podium to make a brief statement saying she was disheartened to be sharing her story but also humbled and honored to have a platform, calling herself a mother, woman and a “victim.”
“The organization I worked for has failed me,” Cauthen said. “I spoke up. I asked for help. I gave options. My voice and my feelings…were silenced.”
“I ask for everyone listening, do not jump to harsh criticism or conclusions,” Cauthen said. “This is a sensitive matter and these are humans who are impacted.”
She continued: “It took the Spurs 10 months to do the right thing. That’s too long.”
Dr Cauthen was hired by the Spurs as a staff employee “to help the players be better players and better people,” said Buzbee, calling the role a “dream job” for Cauthen, who is a former college athlete.
“It was almost the very first session that she had with Joshua Primo where he exposed his penis to her. That occurred in late December of 2021. She immediately raised that issue with the general manager of the Spurs organization in January of 2022. It took a long time for her to get a meeting with him…. but she finally got a face to face with the General Manager and told him what had happened and wanted something to be done about it.”
Buzbee said Dr. Cauthen raised the issues that had occurred with Spurs management and hoped change would occur within the organization but Buzbee said “that didn’t happen.”
Buzbee continued, “instead of something being done about it, what instead happened was they continued to call upon her to have sessions with Mr. Primo and of course the other athletes.”
Buzbee said Cauthen didn’t want to lose her job and hoped it was a one time thing. He claims the conduct “continued to occur” and “escalated.”
Cauthen told Buzbee that the Spurs’ General Manager allegedly assured her there would be an investigation and that Primo would be counseled and face consequences.
“None of that occurred,” Buzbee claimed. “His conduct wasn’t restricted in any way. Instead, what happened was Dr. Cauthen’s activities was restricted.”
Cauthen says she was told to work from home and that Spurs attorneys and management proposed a “facilitated discussion” with Primo and Cauthen to find out what was compelling him to allegedly expose himself.
Buzbee claims Cauthen was told that Head Coach Gregg Popovich was made aware of what was going on.
“In June of this year, they told her Coach Pop was aware, Coach Pop knows.” But Buzbee said he could not verify if Popovich actually knew and thinks they may have been lied to about Popovich being told.
He says the administration eventually told Cauthen that the team itself “had lost trust in her.” Her contract came up for renewal in August and they chose not to renew her contract.
“Apparently more than a week ago in Minnesota, the conduct occurred again,” Buzbee said, referring to allegations that Primo exposed himself. “And it was that conduct I think that precipitated Mr. Primo being released from the team. And so, at that point, after more than ten months knowing about this conduct, after the general manager knowing about it, the deputy counsel, the deputy general counsel and the head of HR knowing about it, after ten months, they finally released Joshua Primo.”
Buzbee called the statements made by the Spurs and Primo after his release “complete farces” and said the only reason his client’s story became public is because someone in the organization leaked the information, and not because Dr. Cauthen chose to bring the claims public herself.
The allegations include some legal and medical sensitivities because Dr. Cauthen had established a patient/doctor relationship with Primo and has to respect HIPAA laws with regard to the information that he confided in her during any sessions.
Buzbee claims Dr. Cauthen has five degrees, including a PhD and takes her responsibility to respect patient confidentiality seriously.
“We’ve even been threatened. Some of you may have seen the letter that was sent to me yesterday from some lawyers from California threatening me personally and threatening Dr. Cauthen with disclosing anything that may have happened in these sessions,” Buzbee told a room full of reporters.
“Dr. Cauthen won’t, can’t and would not disclose what was said during any psychological session between herself and Joshua Primo. She can only disclose actionable conduct.”
Buzbee defines actionable conduct as conduct that can be considered criminal or form the basis of a civil lawsuit. He says he asked Primo’s attorney in response to the alleged threats:
“What is being communicated when a patient exposes himself to his psychologist?”
Primo was entering the second-year of his rookie contract after being drafted 12th overall in the 2021 NBA Draft. The player was waived after the first four games of the 2022 season, just before a game against the Chicago Bulls.
Teams have expressed interest in signing Primo after the 19-year-old clears the waiver wire and officially becomes a free agent. However, officials say teams are waiting to see how the guard’s legal issue plays out before making any commitments. Primo’s $4.3 million option was picked up for the 2023-24 NBA season. Additionally, any teams that show interest in him are required to have $4.1 million in minimum cap space.
During his media availability, Primo acknowledged that he has been getting the help that he needs to treat “previous trauma.”“I know that you all are surprised by today’s announcement,” Primo said in the statement. “I’ve been seeking help to deal with previous trauma I suffered and will now take this time to focus on my mental health treatment more fully. I hope to be able to discuss these issues in the future so I can help others who have suffered in a similar way. I appreciate privacy at this time.”
During his rookie season, Primo played in 50 games and averaged 19 minutes of playing time per game. He finished his first season averaging 5.8 points per game (ppg) and 2.3 rebounds per game (rpg).
League of Justice has more on the ongoing allegations HERE.