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Second woman accuses Virginia's Lt Governor of sexual assault

10 February, 2019, 15:41 | Author: Lucille Rivera
  • Virginia Lt. Governor Justin Fairfax presides over the Senate at the Virginia State Capitol

"I say again without reservation: I did not sexually assault or rape Meredith Watson, Vanessa Tyson or anyone else", Lt. Gov. Justin Fairfax said in the statement.

Fairfax has vehemently denied both allegations against him and told anyone who would listen on Friday that he believes he will be able to move past this scandal by telling his story. "The two were friends but never dated or had any romantic relationship".

A former Duke University classmate said she was raped by Fairfax in a, "premeditated and aggressive" attack in 2000.

"Ms. Watson was raped by a basketball player during her sophomore year at Duke". At least one of those friends has publicly corroborated her account, while others have reportedly provided statements. It is demonstrably false. "To do so, would violate any principles I have of faith that says a person can not change", he told AFP. Consequently, I call on all appropriate and impartial investigatory authorities, including the FBI, to investigate fully and thoroughly the allegations against me by Ms. Watson and Dr. Tyson.

What I have just expressed is the truth.

Fairfax vowed to clear his "good name" and noted he has passed Federal Bureau of Investigation background checks and run for office "with nothing like this being raised before".

Hughes, 54, thinks the governor should resign. In a statement a spokesperson provided to NPR, Fairfax wrote that "in both situations I knew at the time, and I know today, that the interactions were consensual".

The latest development - a second woman, Meredith Watson, accusing Fairfax of rape Friday afternoon - capped an extraordinary week where the fortunes of Democrats' top three elected officials in Virginia ebbed and flowed as demoralized party operatives, enraged elected officials and dumbfounded state legislators attempted to make sense of how their once-prosperous party was now in a smoldering heap.

Those denials are not enough for him to keep his job, according to his fellow Democrats in the state Legislature.

Democratic Del. Patrick Hope said he wants to introduce articles of impeachment against Fairfax on Monday, but Hope is not a powerful figure in the House and there's little sign there's a broad appetite for impeachment with lawmakers set to finish this year's legislative session by the end of the month. "He needs to address this as a private citizen".

Northam has refused to step down, despite demands from his peers and adversaries who want him to leave his post.

State Trooper Lucas B. Dowell was killed in the line of duty earlier in the week in a shootout during a drugs raid.

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"He's going to undergo the same kind of pressure that Governor Northam has had over the last week, but we see what's happened - nothing, nothing", Sabato said.

If Northam steps down, as many critics have called for him to do, Fairfax would assume the governorship.

Democratic 2020 presidential hopefuls echoed those calls.

"The allegations against Justin Fairfax are serious and credible. Lieutenant-Governor Fairfax has suggested and called for an investigation, I strongly support that".

But Friday's accusation sparked a round of calls for his resignation, and even the threat of impeachment.

That call was echoed by almost every member of Virginia's national congressional delegation, including Rep. Jennifer Wexton.

"I'm not as devastated by blackface and neither will I hold a person accountable for what they did 35 years ago, when this election for him as governor was not based upon who he was 35 years ago", said the grey-suited 52-year-old.

Watson's representatives declined to provide further documentation and said their client would not be talking to journalists. He concluded by declaring: "I will not resign".

Other congressional Democrats made unqualified calls for Fairfax to resign.

In this undated photo provided by Scripps College, Vanessa Tyson, an associate professor in politics at Scripps College, poses for a photo.

In a statement to NPR, a spokesman for Virginia GOP Chairman Jack Wilson offered a slightly more cautious response. "As with Dr. Tyson's allegation, it needs to be investigated thoroughly because it impacts his ability to continue to serve the Commonwealth".

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