Sun | Sep 24, 2023

Second woman accuses Virginia’s Lt Governor of sexual assault

Published:Saturday | February 9, 2019 | 9:47 AM
Fairfax...It is obvious that a vicious and co-ordinated smear campaign is being orchestrated against me.

A second woman has come forward with sexual assault allegations against Lieutenant Governor of Virginia in the United States (US) Justin Fairfax.

The woman, identified as Meredith Watson, claims Fairfax raped her in 2000 when they were both students at Duke University in North Carolina.

His first accuser, Vanessa Tyson, came forward last week with allegations that he forced her to perform oral sex on him in his hotel room at the Democratic Party convention in Boston in 2004.

Watson's allegations triggered an avalanche of calls by top officials in the Democratic Party, including presidential hopefuls Elizabeth Warren and Corey Booker, for their colleague to step down.

But Fairfax, 39, is adamant that he will not resign, declaring that he is the victim of a smear campaign.

"It is obvious that a vicious and co-ordinated smear campaign is being orchestrated against me,” he said in a statement.

Fairfax has insisted that his encounter with Tyson, now a California professor, was 100 per cent “consensual.”

Watson, through her attorneys, issued a statement yesterday outlining her allegation.

She claimed that the attack by Fairfax was “premeditated and aggressive" and said the details "are similar to those described by Dr Vanessa Tyson".

According to Watson's attorneys, former classmates have provided statements corroborating the allegations and that she "immediately told friends that Fairfax had raped her".

Fairfax has, however, dismissed the allegations by Watson, calling them “unsubstantiated” and “demonstrably false” and demanded a full investigation to "clear my good name".

"I have passed two full field background checks by the FBI and run for office in two highly contested elections with nothing like this being raised before,” he said.

The allegations come amid the racism controversies that have embroiled the Governor of Virginia Ralph Northam and the state's Attorney General Mark Herring.

Both men, who are white, have admitted to wearing a blackface while they were in college.

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