Woman sues Spurs and Joshua Prime for ‘disgusting behaviour’
Former clinical psychologist for San Antonio Spurs filed the lawsuit Thursday morning alleging the organization “ignored her repeated reports of indecent exposure” by Joshua Primo2021 lottery pick announced by the team last week.
According to the lawsuit, Primo exposed himself to dr. Hillary Cauthen a total of nine times. The first incident allegedly occurred during a psychological session with Primo in December 2021 and was reported to Spurs management in January 2022.
“Instead of acting on Dr. Cauthen’s reports, the Spurs ignored her complaints, hoping that the organization could ignore and then cover up Primo’s actions,” the lawsuit filed in Bexar County, Texas states. “Spurs were ready to sacrifice dr. Cauthen to keep what they hoped would one day become a star.
“When Primo’s behavior entered the public sphere, the Spurs were forced to react and let Primo go. The Spurs’ recent actions regarding Primo are too little, too late. The Spurs’ public statement about Primo’s departure is a complete farce. The Spurs’ behavior sends a strong message that they and they, like other major sports organizations, are willing to tolerate abhorrent behavior by athletes and sacrifice loyal employees, as long as the athlete is successful on the field.”
Primo, through his attorney, denied any wrongdoing and slammed Cauthena’s claims, saying she was “playing on ugly stereotypes and racially charged fears for her own financial gain,” calling it an act of betrayal of a client.
“In an act of betrayal against her young client, Dr. Cauthen, who is 40 years old, falsely claims that Josh Primo exposed himself to her during her numerous therapy sessions,” said attorney William J. Briggs II. “Dr. Cauthen’s claims are either complete fabrication, gross embellishment, or complete 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 these allegations even less credible is that Dr. Cauthen never informed her patient of the alleged exposure. Dr. Cauthen was Mr. Primo’s mental health support and confidant; a therapist Mr. Primo trusted. She much older than Mr. Primo, with many years of experience as a sports psychologist. It’s amazing why she didn’t bother to tell her patient that his private parts were visible under his shorts.”
Cauthen’s attorney, Tony Buzbee, said Cauthen intends to file a multi-count criminal indecent exposure charge against Prim in Bexar County and that Cauthen will cooperate with authorities within the limits of patient-psychologist confidentiality laws.
Spurs CEO RC Buford said the franchise disagrees “with the accuracy of the facts, details and timeline presented [Thursday].”
“While we would like to share more information, we will allow the legal process to play out,” Buford said, adding that the Spurs remain “committed to maintaining the highest standards and will continue to live by our values and culture.”
Primo, the 12th pick in the 2021 draft, was announced Friday, less than three weeks after the Spurs exercised his third-year team option that guarantees a salary of $4.3 million through the 2023-24 season.
Buford cited “the best interest of both the organization and Joshua” in a statement when the Spurs released him.
According to Buzbee, Primo was dropped just days after he allegedly exposed himself to another woman during the Spurs’ trip to Minnesota last week, when Primo was held out of the San Antonio loss. Buzbee said Primo also allegedly committed indecent exposure in Las Vegas in July while at the NBA Summer League.
“Josh Prime’s behavior is far outside the boundaries of what is normal and acceptable,” Buzbee said at a news conference Thursday morning in his Houston office. “His behavior shocks the conscience. I would also say that the behavior of Spurs, the way they handled this behavior, was egregious and absolutely unreasonable.”
Cauthen was hired by the Spurs in April 2021. Her employment with the organization ended when her contract was not renewed in August 2022.
The lawsuit alleges Primo first exposed himself to Cauthen in December and that’s when she reported the behavior. According to the lawsuit, “the exposures occurred on numerous occasions and became progressively more extreme.”
Buzbee specifically cited Spurs general manager Brian Wright, as well as the team’s general counsel, deputy general counsel and head of human relations, for failing to respond appropriately when Cauthen informed them of Prim’s behavior in March, after several delayed attempts to meet .
The lawsuit alleges that Cauthen was asked to meet Primo again in a public setting and allegedly exposed himself again. He asked to meet her again after that, but she refused.
Buzbee said Cauthen was told in June that coach Gregg Popovich was aware of the problem, but Buzbee added, “Maybe we concluded here that they were lying.”
Buzbee said that instead of addressing the Primo issue, Spurs management told Cauthen “to sit out,” telling her she could work from home and that the team had “lost confidence in her.”
“The right thing to do is to say, ‘No, this is wrong,’ hold people accountable, make systemic changes and protect those who suffer in silence,” Cauthen said at a news conference. “The right thing is to say, ‘I’m sorry. I let you down, and we have to do better.’
“The organization I worked for failed me. … I spoke up. I asked for help. I gave options. My voice and my feelings, my actionable things were silenced. Because of their failure to act and protect property, other individuals were affected and for that I am truly sorry.”
The Associated Press contributed to this report.
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