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Lt. Gov. Fairfax says encounter was 'consensual,' not sexual assault

Fairfax was an unmarried law student at the time

RICHMOND, Va. – Lt. Gov. Justin Fairfax is firing back against a sexual assault allegation that he calls "surprising and hurtful."

Fairfax says that he had a consensual encounter 15 years ago as an unmarried law student. That woman recently told reporters that he had sexually assaulted her. 

Fairfax said in a statement that he didn't know she had felt uncomfortable until he was contacted by reporters shortly before his inauguration last year. 

"I have nothing to hide," he said. 

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Fairfax added that he wants to encourage people to treat the woman who made the allegation and his own family with respect for "how painful this situation can be for everyone involved."

Two sources have told NBC News that Fairfax used profane language in a private meeting Monday night while referring to his accuser. 

Fairfax is second-in-line for the position of governor, and there have been calls for Gov. Ralph Northam to resign since the blackface scandal. 

Wednesday, Attorney General Mark Herring, who is third-in-line, admitted to wearing blackface at a college party.