Dr. Hillary Cauthen, a former consulting psychologist for the San Antonio Spurs, and her attorney Tony Buzbee announced on Thursday that they have filed a lawsuit against the team and ex-player Josh Primo over the handling of Cauthen's allegations that Primo exposed himself to her nine times.
Buzbee claimed Cauthen lost her "dream job" because the Spurs "ignored her repeated reports of indecent exposure on the part of Primo."
“The organization I worked for has failed me," Cauthen said. "It took the Spurs 10 months to do the right thing. And that’s too long.”
Buzbee said they also plan to file a criminal complaint against Primo.
Primo, picked 12th overall in the 2021 NBA draft, was suddenly and unexpectedly cut from the team on Oct. 28. No reason was given, though Primo released a statement to ESPN that evening saying he would be focusing on his mental health treatment, and hoped he could eventually "help others who have suffered in a similar way." The next day, ESPN reported Primo had been released because he had allegedly exposed himself to women multiple times.
One of those women was allegedly Cauthen, who said on Thursday that she first notified the Spurs about an incident with Primo in January 2022. However, she claims the Spurs took no action at that time, and she was asked to continue meeting with Primo despite her allegation of indecent exposure. Primo allegedly exposed himself to Cauthen a total of nine times while she continued to report the incidents to the Spurs, who did nothing. She left the organization this summer after her contract was not renewed.
Lawsuit alleges Primo exposed his genitals nine times to Cauthen during "individual private sessions" despite her numerous complaints about Primo's improper sexual conduct to the organization's leadership.
— Tom Orsborn (@tom_orsborn) November 3, 2022
In Cauthen's timeline, she claims the Spurs knew about the alleged incidents while making basketball-related decisions focusing on Primo. The team chose to make Primo the center of their new jersey patch campaign before the season and guaranteed the third year of his rookie contract in October.
It's unclear whether head coach Gregg Popovich knew about the allegations against Primo. Cauthen apparently wanted Popovich to be told, but she and Buzbee not sure he actually was.
Buzbee says they're not aware if Gregg Popovich was made aware of Primo's behavior and they believe that they were lied to when told that he was.
— Ty Jäger (@TheTyJager) November 3, 2022
Buzbee says Cauthen wanted Gregg Popovich to know what was going on. He says the Spurs told her in June that Popovich knew of the allegations. But Buzbee says he can’t be sure Popovich actually was told.
— Mike Finger (@mikefinger) November 3, 2022
Buzbee said Cauthen hadn't wanted to take these allegations public, and instead wanted to help things change from inside the organization, but the Spurs' decisions made it impossible for that to happen.
"Dr. Cauthen raised these issues with Spurs management, didn't run to the press, didn't want to file a lawsuit," Tony Buzbee says.
Says she tried to handle things in a way that would bring change to the Spurs organization, but it didn't happen that way.
— Tom Petrini (@RealTomPetrini) November 3, 2022
Primo's attorney, William J. Briggs II, released a statement about the accusations against his client.
Statement from Josh Primo’s attorney, William J. Briggs, II: pic.twitter.com/V6IxRvoOLM
— Shams Charania (@ShamsCharania) November 3, 2022
"Josh Primo is a 19-year-old NBA player who has suffered a lifetime of trauma and challenges. He is now being victimized by his former team appointed sports psychologist, who is playing to ugly stereotypes and racially charged fears for her own financial benefit.
"In an act of betrayal against her young client, Dr. Cauthen, who is 40 years old, falsely claims Josh Primo exposed himself to her during the course of her numerous therapy sessions. Dr. Cauthen’s allegations are either a complete fabrication, a gross embellishment or utter fantasy.
"Josh Primo never intentionally exposed himself to her or anyone else and was not even aware that his private parts were visible outside of his workout shorts.
"What makes the allegations even less credible is that Dr. Cauthen never informed her patient of the purported exposure. Dr. Cauthen was Mr. Primo’s mental health support provider and confidant; a therapist who Mr. Primo trusted. She is much older than Mr. Primo, with many years of experience as a sports psychologist. It is baffling why she did not bother to tell her patient that his private parts were visible underneath his shorts.
"Josh Primo is at the beginning of a promising career and has been devastated by these false allegations and release by the Spurs. He is in the process seeking treatment to deal with the trauma inflicted on him by Dr. Cauthen’s misleading allegations, in addition to the previous trauma he suffered as a child. He looks forward to clearing his name and to moving forward with his NBA career."
RC Buford, Spurs sports & entertainment CEO, put out a statement Thursday afternoon denouncing the "accuracy of facts, details and timeline presented" in the lawsuit.