Lawmakers — including several Democratic presidential hopefuls — along with others are calling on Virginia Lt. Gov. Justin Fairfax, a Democrat, to resign after a second woman came forward with allegations of sexual assault.
Meredith Watson released a statement through her attorney, accusing Fairfax of raping her in 2000 when they were both attending Duke University. According to the statement, the two were friends but not in a romantic relationship.
“Ms. Watson shared her account of the rape with friends in a series of emails and Facebook messages that are now in our possession,” her lawyer said. “Additionally, we have statements from former classmates corroborating that Ms. Watson immediately told friends that Mr. Fairfax had raped her.”
Earlier this week, Vanessa Tyson, a professor at Scripps College in California and a fellow at Stanford University, came forward with an allegation of sexual assault. The accusation was first made public by the conservative-leaning website Big League Politics. On Wednesday, she released a statement detailing the assault, which she says happened in Boston in 2004.
Fairfax has vehemently denied these allegations, calling them “demonstrably false” and a “smear campaign,” and saying he will not resign.
“I demand a full investigation into these unsubstantiated and false allegations,” Fairfax’s spokesperson told INSIDER in a statement. “Such an investigation will confirm my account because I am telling the truth.”
The accusations against Fairfax come at a time when Virginia leadership is in turmoil. Democratic Gov. Ralph Northam has refused to resign amid the resurfacing of a photo from his 1984 medical-school yearbook, in which he is suspected of either wearing blackface or a Ku Klux Klan-like robe. After initially saying he was in the photo, he denied being in that specific photo but said he did wear blackface when dressing up as Michael Jackson for a dance contest. Virginia’s attorney general also said this week he wore blackface in the 1980s.
The list of those calling for Fairfax’s resignation is below, and we’ll update as needed.