POLITICS

Virginia Lt. Gov. Justin Fairfax Accused Of Sexual Assault By Second Woman

Meredith Watson said she was raped by Fairfax while the two were in college.

A second woman has accused Virginia Lt. Gov. Justin Fairfax of sexual assault

A statement released Friday by attorney Nancy Erika Smith accuses Fairfax of raping Meredith Watson in 2000 while the two attended Duke University. The statement came out days after another woman accused Fairfax of sexual assault, an allegation he has denied.

“At this time, Ms. Watson is reluctantly coming forward out of a strong sense of civic duty and her belief that those seeking or serving in public office should be of the highest character,” the statement says in part. “She has no interest in becoming a media personality or reliving the trauma that has greatly affected her life. Similarly, she is not seeking any financial damages.” 

Former Virginia Gov. Terry McAuliffe said the allegations against Fairfax are credible and called for his immediate resignation.

However, in a statement, Fairfax called the latest allegations “unsubstantiated” and “demonstrably false.” He said he will not resign.

Fairfax’s other accuser is Vanessa Tyson, an associate professor of politics at Scripps College in Claremont, California, who said he sexually assaulted her in 2004 at the Democratic National Convention.

“What began as consensual kissing quickly turned into a sexual assault,” Tyson said. Fairfax forced the woman to perform oral sex on him, she said.

A second woman has accused Virginia Lt. Gov. Justin Fairfax of sexual assault.
A second woman has accused Virginia Lt. Gov. Justin Fairfax of sexual assault.

The assault allegations come amid turmoil for Democratic Gov. Ralph Northam, who is embroiled in his own scandal after a medical school yearbook photo on his page showed an individual in blackface and another in a Ku Klux Klan outfit. Northam has denied being either of the individuals, though did admit to wearing blackface that year. Northam has refused to resign; if he did, Fairfax would be next in line to lead the state.

Fairfax’s spokeswoman, Lauren Burke, told The Washington Post that there will be an “investigation on all of these matters.”  

This story has been updated with more background on scandals in Virginia and with responses from Fairfax and McAuliffe.

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