Second Woman Accuses Virginia’s Lieutenant Governor of Sexually Assaulting Her

The woman alleges the assault occured while both were students at Duke.

Virginia Lieutenant Governor Justin Fairfax is facing a second accusation of sexual assault.

Meredith Watson, a former classmate of Fairfax at Duke University, is accusing him of raping her in 2000 when both were still undergraduates.

In a statement released Friday afternoon, Watson’s attorney, Nancy Erika Smith, said that the 40-year-old was coming forward now “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.”

Watson’s complaint comes just a few days after another woman, Vanessa Tyson, accused Fairfax of sexually assaulting her in a hotel room during the 2004 Democratic National Convention in Boston. Both women have provided witnesses who swear they had been told about the assaults either at the time or in the years afterwards, long before Fairfax ran for public office.

Late in the afternoon, Fairfax released a statement denying the new charges, claiming he was the victim of a smear campaign, and vowing to not resign.

The new charge comes at the end of a week when Virginia’s governor and attorney general both admitted to past instances of wearing blackface. The accusations against Fairfax mean that all three of the state’s top Democrats are now facing scandals that could lead to their resignations.

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Politics

Gary Legum has written about politics and culture for Independent Journal Review, Salon, The Daily Beast, Wonkette, AlterNet and McSweeney's, among others. He currently lives in his native state of Virginia.

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