McAuliffe Calls on Fairfax to Resign After Second Sexual Assault Accusation

Dem Lt. Gov. Fairfax denies allegation and says 'I will not resign'

Virginia Lt. Gov. Justin Fairfax (Twitter screenshot/Laura Vozzella/Washington Post)
February 8, 2019

Former Virginia Gov. Terry McAuliffe (D.) has called on Lt. Gov. Justin Fairfax (D.) to resign after a second woman accused Fairfax of sexual misconduct, releasing a statement through attorneys on Friday.

Fairfax denied the accusation Friday afternoon, according to CNN reporter Ryan Nobles, who quoted Fairfax calling for a full investigation into the claim and saying flatly, "I will not resign."

The statement from accuser Meredith Watson's lawyers states she was raped by Fairfax in 2000 when the two were students at Duke University. The statement characterizes Fairfax's attack as "premeditated" and "aggressive."

Watson says she never dated Fairfax or had a romantic relationship with him, but was his friend at the time. After the rape, she shared her account of the incident with friends in emails and Facebook messages, of which her lawyers say they have possession. In addition, Watson's lawyers claim to have possession of statements from her classmates corroborating that Watson "immediately told friends that Mr. Fairfax raped her."

"At this time, Ms. Watson is reluctantly coming forward out of a strong sense of civic duty and her belief that those seeking or serving in public office should be office the highest character," the statement said. "She has no interest in becoming a media personality or reliving the trauma that has greatly affected her life. Similarly, she is not seeking any financial damages."

The statement concludes by asking Fairfax to resign from office. McAuliffe seconded the sentiment in a tweet.

According to the New York Times' Jonathan Martin, Watson is not seeking litigation at this time.

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 had previously denied the claim, saying the encounter was consensual.

But Tyson said in her statement that she "cannot believe" Fairfax would think the sexual act was consensual.

"To be very clear, I did not want to engage in oral sex with Mr. Fairfax and I never gave any form of consent," she said.