Second woman comes forward with sexual assault accusations against Justin Fairfax

Virginia Lt. Governor Justin Fairfax
Virginia Lt. Governor Justin Fairfax presides over the Senate at the Virginia State Capitol, February 7, 2019 in Richmond, Virginia. (Photo by Drew Angerer/Getty Images)

A second woman has come forward with allegations of sexual assault against Virginia Lt. Gov. Justin Fairfax, capping a disastrous week for elected officials of both parties in the state.

A law firm representing a woman named Meredith Watson sent a letter detailing the allegations to Virginia state lawmakers on Friday. Watson says that Fairfax assaulted her while they were classmates at Duke University in 2000.

“Mr. Fairfax’s attack was premeditated and aggressive,” the letter, written by attorney Nancy Smith, said. “The two were friends but never dated or had any 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” the letter continued. “Additionally, we have statements from former classmates corroborating that Ms. Watson immediately told friends that Mr. Fairfax had raped her.”

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The law firm notified Fairfax through his attorneys in hopes that he will resign from office. Earlier this week, Dr. Vanessa Tyson came forward as the first woman to accuse Fairfax of rape when she detailed an incident at the 2004 Democratic National Convention in Boston that began as consensual but quickly turned into an assault.

“To be very clear, I did not want to engage in oral sex with Mr. Fairfax and I never gave any form of consent,” Tyson wrote in her statement. “Quite the opposite. I consciously avoided Mr. Fairfax for the remainder of the Convention and I never spoke to him again.”

Virginia Lt. Gov. Justin Fairfax sexual assault accuser, Vanessa Tyson, speaks out: ‘I suffered from both deep humiliation and shame’

In light of these latest allegations Shaunna Thomas, co-founder and executive director of UltraViolet, a national women’s group, has issued the following statement demanding Lt. Governor Fairfax’s resignation:

“Sexual violence is never acceptable. We believe survivors, we believe Dr. Vanessa Tyson, we believe Meredith Watson.  Lt. Governor Justin Fairfax must resign.

“So must Governor Northam. Blackface, in any context, is always racist and never acceptable.

“Virginians deserve leaders they can trust and respect.

This caps off a disastrous week in the Commonwealth, particularly for Democrats. Fairfax’s allegations came following bookended Blackface controversies facing Gov. Ralph Northam and Attorney Gen. Mark Herring that have led to calls for all three men to resign.

Virginia Lt. Gov. Justin Fairfax sexual assault accuser, Vanessa Tyson, speaks out: ‘I suffered from both deep humiliation and shame’