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Verdicts & Settlements

San Antonio Spurs Psychologist Settles Sexual Misconduct Lawsuit

— November 18, 2022

A representative for 19-year-old athlete Joseph Primo, who Spurs team psychologist Hillary Cauthen accused of repeatedly revealing his genitals in therapy sessions, said that the basketball player will focus on his mental health and strive to better himself.

Former San Antonio Spurs sports psychologist Hillary Cauthen has agreed to settle a lawsuit filed against the team and former player Joshua Primo.

According to The San Antonio Express-News, Cauthen had claimed that the Spurs failed to take action after Primo “repeatedly” exposed himself to her during private therapy sessions.

“The parties have agreed to resolve this matter,” attorney Tony Buzbee told the Express-News in a text-message statement.

The settlement was announced scarcely two weeks after Cauthen filed the lawsuit.

In her complaint, Cauthen alleged that the 19-year-old Primo had exposed his genitals to her at least nine times during private counseling sessions.

Despite her complaints to Spurs executives, the team failed to discipline Primo or sanction him for his purported misconduct.

The Express-News notes that the Spurs have since released a statement, describing the settlement in somewhat vague terms.

Basketball and Basketball net
Basketball and Basketball net; image courtesy of Free-Photos via Pixabay,

“[The team] will collaborate with Dr. Cauthen and other experts in an effort to review and improve our workplace processes and procedures,” Spurs Chief Executive Officer R.C. Buford said in a statement.

“The situation regarding Josh Primo is a matter we take seriously,” Buford said. “Since learning of the allegations, we have taken, and are taking, measures to ensure that all parties involved are treated with dignity and respect. We know we owe that to Dr. Cauthen, our players, our staff and our community.”

“As an organization, we are continuously evaluating and refining our processes so they ultimately reflect the values and culture of who we aspire to be every day. […] This is a learning opportunity for us, and one that we are certain will make us better moving forward,” Buford said.

The Express-News reports that Cauthen filed to have her lawsuit dismissed “with prejudice,” meaning that she cannot re-file her claim against the Spurs at a later date.

William J. Briggs, a Los Angeles-based attorney for Primo, had earlier condemned Cauthen for “playing to ugly stereotypes and racially charged fears for her own financial benefit.”

In response to the lawsuit, Briggs said that Cauthen’s complaint was—in effect—an “act of betrayal against her young client,” calling her claims “either a complete fabrication, a gross embellishment or utter fantasy.”

Somewhat interestingly, Briggs’s remarks—issued shortly after Cauthen filed the lawsuit—seemed to suggest that, while Primo may have exposed himself to Cauthen, he not done so intentionally.

Briggs said that his client “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.”

Representatives for Primo have since released a statement, in which the young athlete appeared to admit and take some responsibility for his misconduct.

“I know that you all are surprised by today’s announcement. 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,” Prime said in a statement republished by Yahoo! Sports. “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.”


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