Second Justin Fairfax accuser comes forward, alleges rape

Hugh Fox
February 9, 2019

Through her attorney, Meredith Watson said she shared her account of sexual assault immediately after it happened with several classmates, who have provided statements.

Fairfax quickly denied the claim.

Col. Stewart MacInnis, VMI's director of communications, told The Virginia Pilot that he could not comment on "what was going through people's minds then, or why they thought this was appropriate". It is demonstrably false.

In a normal situation, Lt. Gov. Justin Fairfax would be elevated to the Governor's Mansion until the end of Northam's term but Fairfax is dealing with a scandal of his own.

On Wednesday, Vanessa Tyson, a professor at Scripps College in Claremont, California, accused Fairfax of "forcing her to perform oral sex" on him at the Democratic National Convention in 2004.

Fairfax has strongly denied the allegations - now being made by two women - and says he has insisted he has no plans to resign.

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Watson said the details of her alleged attack are similar to Tyson's - and she opted to go public because of her "strong sense of civic duty and her belief that those seeking or serving in public office should be of the highest character".

Herring, who like Northam is white and apologised for his past behaviour, had previously called for the governor to quit.

Watson is not seeking financial damages and has alerted Fairfax through her legal team that she would like him to resign, the statement adds. "I call for his immediate resignation", McAuliffe wrote on Twitter.

When reached Friday afternoon by phone, Michael Schoenfeld, vice president for public affairs and government relations, confirmed the school is asking him to step down from the Board until the "deeply disturbing" allegations are resolved.

"I demand a full investigation into these unsubstantiated and false allegations".

"As one of seven working on a 359-page yearbook, I can not endorse or associate myself with every photo, entry, or word on each page", he wrote, adding he did not appear in or take any of the photos in question. He called the accusations "a vicious and coordinated smear campaign". "Ms. Watson also told friends, including Justin Fairfax", Smith said in the statement.

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The Democrats' statement says they take the issues and allegations facing Virginia's top three elected officials seriously and they'll be taking the pulse of their constituents over the weekend. The black caucus also called for an investigation of the Fairfax case, and said the attorney general must take more actions to "reassure" the state he is fit to lead.

"I believe Meredith Watson and Dr. Tyson, and it was extremely fearless for them to come forward", she said.

When a reporter asked Norment to talk about the yearbook Thursday, the majority leader said, "The only thing I'm talking about today is the budget". But there's no reason except one that I can think of to doubt Tyson's account.

All week, Democrats and Republicans have been treading carefully regarding Tyson's allegation, unsure what to believe because Tyson offered no corroborating evidence.

Virginia Gov. Ralph Northam apologized last week for appearing in a racist yearbook photo that showed one person in blackface and another in a KKK robe and hood.

The yearbook includes a photo of a man in blackface standing with others in costumes and uses racial slurs to describe a student from Bangkok, Thailand.

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