Amid a widening scandal in Virginia state government, Lt. Governor Justin Fairfax was accused Friday by a former Duke University student of a sexual assault in 2000.
Below are the statements by both the attorney for the accuser, Meredith Watson, and Fairfax himself.
Nancy Erika Smith, attorney for Watson:
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 our possession. Additionally, we have statements from former classmates corroborating that Ms. Watson immediately told friends that Mr. Fairfax had raped her.
Ms. Watson was 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.
Justin Fairfax, Lieutenant Governor of Virginia:
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.