Former San Antonio Spurs psychologist Hillary Cauthen is suing the Spurs and the team’s 2021 No. 12 draft pick Josh Primo over alleged incidents involving indecent exposure by Primo, according to a lawsuit filed Thursday in Bexar County, Texas.
Cauthen will also file a criminal complaint against Primo for “multiple counts of indecent exposure,” her attorney Tony Buzbee said Thursday during a news conference in Houston.
“We expect them to prosecute,” Buzbee said.
Cauthen was hired under contract by the Spurs in September 2021. According to the suit, Primo exposed himself nine times in front of Cauthen, beginning in December 2021.
“I’m a clinical sports psychologist; I’m a mother of four wonderful daughters. I’m a woman, and I am a victim,” Cauthen said Thursday.
According to the suit, Cauthen first raised her concerns over Primo’s conduct with Spurs GM Brian Wright in January 2022. Cauthen had her first meeting with Wright on March 21 and continued to voice her concerns about Primo, expressing to Wright that she felt uncomfortable meeting with Primo alone, the lawsuit says.
After the meeting with Wright, Cauthen alleges that she continued to be called upon to visit Primo. Cauthen met with Wright again in April to express her frustration and concern that no action had been taken, according to the lawsuit. Wright asked Cauthen “what consequence” she wanted to occur, and Cauthen responded that she felt it was up to the team to address the situation, the suit says. Wright then informed her that the organization’s legal team would be in contact with her.
According to the lawsuit, in May, Cauthen met multiple times with lawyers from the Spurs organization, including its deputy general counsel and as well as the chief legal officer and general counsel, and was promised an investigation would occur. At this time, Cauthen was instructed to avoid contact with Primo and was told that the team was preparing a “write-up.”
A week or more later, after requesting an update on the status of the investigation, deputy general counsel Brandon James and head of human resources Kara Allen told Cauthen that Primo would continue to participate in team activities and suggested Cauthen work from home, according to the suit.
In June, James and Allen disclosed that they had spoken with Primo, the lawsuit says, and suggested setting up a conversation with Primo to address his behavior. Cauthen refused.
At a meeting later in June, James and Allen informed Cauthen that the franchise was considering a “corrective process for the timely reporting of incidents.” They also informed Cauthen that head coach Gregg Popovich “was aware of her complaints and accusations and that he ‘wanted to do right by her.’ ”
Later on Thursday, Spurs Sports & Entertainment CEO R.C. Buford released a statement, that read in part: “We disagree with the accuracy of facts, details and timeline presented today. While we would like to share more information, we will allow the legal process to play out.”
The Spurs waived Primo last week after he had played just four games with the team this season.
William J. Briggs, II, attorney for Primo, issued a statement Thursday, defending the accusations against his client.
“Josh Primo is a 19-year-old NBA player who has suffered a lifetime of trauma and challenges,” Briggs said. “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.”
The statement went on to deny the accusations that Primo exposed himself, calling them “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.”
(Photo: Daniel Dunn / USA Today)