WP: Second woman accuses Lt. Gov. Justin Fairfax of sexual assault

Woman says she was raped in a 'premeditated and aggressive' assault


RICHMOND, Va. – A second woman has come forward to accuse Lt. Gov. Justin Fairfax of sexual assault, saying she was raped in a "premeditated and aggressive" assault in 2000, according to the Washington Post

The woman, Meredith Watson, says the alleged assault happened while they were both undergraduate students at Duke University. Watson says she was friends with Fairfax at Duke but they never had any romantic relationship, according to her lawyer. 

According to her lawyer, Watson wants Fairfax to resign. 

Watson, through her attorney, says she told several classmates about the alleged assault immediately after it happened. Those classmates have provided statements. According to her lawyer, Watson also shared her account via emails and Facebook messages. 

Below is a statement from Watson's attorney, Nancy Erika Smith, released Friday:

“We serve as counsel for Meredith Watson, who was raped by Justin Fairfax in 2000, while they were both students at Duke University. Mr. Fairfax's attack was premeditated and aggressive. 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 possession. Additionally, we have statements from former classmates corroborating that Ms. Watson immediately told friends that Mr. Fairfax had raped her. 

Ms. Watson was so upset to learn that Mr. Fairfax raped at least one other woman after he attacked her. The details of Ms. Watson's attack are similar to those described by Dr. Vanessa Tyson. 

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 of the highest character. 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.

On behalf of our client, we have notified Justin Fairfax through his attorneys that Ms. Watson hopes he will resign from public office.”

Lauren Burke, a spokeswoman for Fairfax, said, "We're calling an investigation on all of these matters." Burke said Fairfax would respond later. 

Fairfax released this statement Friday:

Read the lieutenant governor’s full statement below:

“I deny this latest unsubstantiated allegation. It is demonstrably false. I have never forced myself on anyone ever.

I demand a full investigation into these unsubstantiated and false allegations. Such an investigation will confirm my account because I am telling the truth.

I will clear my good name and I have nothing to hide. 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.

It is obvious that a vicious and coordinated smear campaign is being orchestrated against me.

I will not resign.”

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