Sex Assault Lawsuit Against Jerry Jones, Dallas Cowboys & NFL Brought Back to Life on Appeal

NFL: Super Bowl LVII-NFL Honors Red Carpet
Kirby Lee-USA TODAY Sports

A sexual assault lawsuit filed by “Jane Doe” against Dallas Cowboys owner Jerry Jones and the team will proceed after an appellate judge ruled that a trial court abused its discretion in dismissing it. The suit alleged that Jones sexually assaulted a woman by allegedly forcibly kissing her on the mouth without her consent on or about September 16, 2018 in the Tom Landry Room at AT&T Stadium. Doe also accused Jones of sticking his tongue in her mouth, and forcibly grabbing and groping her. In court papers, Doe claimed the room was full of witnesses when the alleged assault happened, and that she believes the people in the room allegedly included former Cowboys head coach Jason Garrett, running back Ezekiel Elliott, Tyrone Crawford, Tyron Smith and other prominent Cowboys players. 

In an alleged list of “witnesses,”Doe also named Cowboys’ defensive end Demarcus Lawrence, and Eugenia Jones, Jerry Jones’ wife as being present in the room.

Doe claims the alleged incident caused her “severe injuries”, “emotional distress,” “psychological pain and suffering,” and “medical expenses,” among other allegations of damages. She wants monetary damages to be awarded to her in excess of one million dollars. Doe also wants a trial by jury.

“Plaintiff has nightmares about what Jerry Jones did to her,” reads the original complaint. “She has trouble focusing and completing day to day tasks at work and at home. Plaintiff gets nervous around men and has trouble being alone with men. Plaintiff cries often because of what Defendant Jerry Jones did to her and does not want any other woman to experience such assaults.”

The complaint also claims that the Plaintiff is continuing to see a doctor for treatment and experiences headaches, dizziness, extreme sadness, night sweats, panic attacks, nausea, depression, PTSD, crying spells and other mental and physical problems as a result of the alleged incident.

“On information and belief, Defendant Jerry Jones has a sleazy history of allegedly sexually assaulting and assaulting females and it appears that both the Cowboys and NFL have turned a blind eye to said illegal behavior over the years,” her complaint reads.

The suit, which is also against the team and the NFL, was dismissed by a trial court back in February of 2022 after attorneys for Jones and the team claimed that the accuser failed to identify herself in the lawsuit, which is required under Texas law. Jones’ attorneys challenged the accuser’s pleadings, claiming they didn’t adequately identify where the alleged assault took place, when it took place or who she is, so that Jones could prepare his defense. The accuser amended her complaint several times, identifying AT&T stadium as the location of the alleged assault along with the Landry room as the exact location and also identified the date. The accuser also indicated she would be willing to identify herself if a protective order was put in place to conceal her identity from the public. Her attorneys later emailed her identity and social security number to Jones’ attorneys, according to court documents.

Nonetheless, the trial court dismissed her complaint because, in part, none of her amended pleadings revealed her name. An appellate judge reversed the trial court decision, stating that the accuser made a good faith attempt to provide the requested details. The appellate judge criticized the trial court for not being more specific in its order and not providing the accuser with another opportunity to amend her pleadings once she provided more details. The judge also indicated that Jones’ attorneys failed to file special exceptions after the accuser amended her pleading. Special exceptions filings are required to be filed when one party feels that a pleading is not specific enough. The alleged error on Jones’ attorneys part, and the good faith efforts of the accuser to provide more details about her identity, gave the judge the procedural justification to revive the suit.

In court papers filed in response to the suit, attorneys for the Cowboys’ owner called the allegations “conclusory and vague,” and said they “lacked any factual support.” Jones’ attorneys claimed Doe sued him “in hopes to garner media attention to force a settlement,” calling the allegations, “false.”

Doe, who is represented by attorney Thomas Bowers, III, also sued the NFL and the Dallas Cowboys, accusing the entities of allegedly failing to supervise and stop Jones, allegedly tampering with criminal evidence and allegedly threatening victims and witnesses to deter criminal complaints. 

The complaint accuses the NFL and Cowboys of being “criminally complicit” and “fostering an environment and culture where abuse of females such as Plaintiff could flourish and in which it was clearly understood that there was no accountability for such criminal acts toward females.” 

“Defendants knew of his problems with womanizing,” the lawsuit continues, referring to Jones. “Yet, he was still retained in a position of trust, confidence and authority as president in direct contact with females when it knew or should have known of his dangerous sexual propensities.”

Jones was previously accused of sexually assaulting another woman, named Jana Weckerly, back in 2009. Weckerly later filed a lawsuit claiming Jones touched her butt and breasts, “forcibly” kissed her without consent and forced her to watch him receive oral sex, among other allegations. Weckerly of Ardmore, Oklahoma, also claimed she took racy photos of Jones, that were later leaked on the Internet back in 2014. Weckerly accused Jones of threatening, bullying and intimidating her into staying quiet and claimed he paid her hush money from 2009 through 2013 to allegedly stop her from suing him. Jones’ attorneys denied all of the allegations, calling them a “money grab” and “completely false.” 

The case was settled but Weckerly reportedly did not receive money from Jones, according to her attorney. 

At the time, Weckerly was also represented by Thomas Bowers, the same attorney representing Jane Doe in the latest sexual assault allegation. Back in 2014, Jones’ attorneys filed a motion for sanctions against Bowers accusing him of filing a frivolous lawsuit for Weckerly “to extort a settlement.”

Weckerly’s suit was ultimately dismissed because it was filed too late and the statute of limitations had tolled. Bowers blamed the late filing on Jones allegedly paying his client “hush money.”

“My client was intimidated into keeping quiet or else, bullied into believing she would be in trouble,” Bowers told the Judge at the time. “She was also paid money, your honor, that she did not ask for. She was also paid money to keep from going to police and not to file her lawsuit. She did what she was told.”

“The legal complaint is unsupported by facts or evidence of any kind,” Jones’ attorneys argued during the 2014 litigation. “This is nothing more than an attempt to embarrass and extort Jerry Jones. This is a shakedown by a lawyer who is a solo practitioner just trying to make a name for himself. The alleged incidents would have been more than five years old.”

Contrary to the present case, Bowers did not contest the judgment dismissing Weckerly’s case.

The Cowboys recently had to respond to another scandalous headline when it was reported that the team had paid a confidential settlement of $2.4 million dollars to four members of its cheerleading squad. The women accused former team executive Rich Dalrymple of spying on them while they were changing in the locker room in 2015. Dalrymple denied the allegations. The organization claimed it launched its own internal investigation into the matter but did not find wrongdoing. The accusations largely remained out of the press until recently. At the time news broke, Jones spoke out on the matter saying that he wanted to show the cheerleaders how seriously he took their allegations and decided it was in the best interests of the women and the fans to settle things confidentially. 

Jones was trending in the headlines recently as well after a bombshell report was published by ESPN claiming that Dan Snyder was compiling “dirt” on other NFL owners, including Jones. Snyder’s attorney called the allegations “categorically untrue” and part of a “well-funded, two-year misinformation campaign to coerce the sale of the team, which will continue to be unsuccessful.”

Jones denied that there was tension between the two owners, telling Shan & RJ on Audacy’s 105.3 The Fan that anyone who wanted to spy on his conversations should “get in line.”