- The Washington Times - Friday, February 8, 2019

A second woman came forward Friday to accuse Virginia Lt. Gov. Justin Fairfax of rape and call for his resignation.

Meredith Watson claimed that Mr. Fairfax raped her in 2000 when they were both students at Duke University, saying details of the attack were “similar to those” described by Dr. Vanessa Tyson, who was the first accuser.

Ms. Watson made the accusation in a statement released by her attorney in New Jersey, Nancy Erika Smith.

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The emergence of a second accuser put new pressure on Mr. Fairfax, a Democrat who had largely escaped resignation calls while lawmakers sought an investigation of Ms. Tyson’s claims.

Ms. Tyson accused Mr. Fairfax of forcing her to perform oral sex during the 2004 Democratic National Convention in Boston, where they were both campaign aides.

Mr. Fairfax said he had been set up and was the victim of false allegations.

“It is obvious that a vicious and coordinated smear campaign is being orchestrated against me. I will not resign,” he said in a statement.

“I deny this latest unsubstantiated allegation. It is demonstrably false. I have never forced myself on anyone ever,” he said. “I demand a full investigation into these unsubstantiated and false allegations. Such an investigation will confirm my account because I am telling the truth.”

Mr. Fairfax mounted a similar defense Monday when Ms. Tyson’s allegations surfaced, saying the sex was “100 percent consensual” and she was part of a political “smear.”

Ms. Tyson this week gave a detailed account of the alleged rape, including that Mr. Fairfax “forcefully pushed my head towards his crotch.”

Ms. Watson came forward now, according to her lawyer, because she “was upset to learn that Mr. Fairfax raped at least one other woman after he attacked her.”

While Ms. Tyson lacked corroboration for her story, the statement from Ms. Watson’s lawyer said that she had documentation.

Ms. Watson shared her account of the tape with friends in a series of emails and Facebook messages that are now in our possession,” the statement said. “Additionally, we have statements from former classmates corroborating that Ms. Watson immediately told friends that Mr. Fairfax had raped her.”

The allegation fans a political firestorm in Virginia, where Gov. Ralph Northam and Attorney General Mark Herring are also on the hot seat for wearing blackface in the 1980s.

The rape allegations are by far the most serious and jeopardize the political career of Mr. Fairfax, a 39-year-old rising star in the Democratic Party.

Ms. Watson’s attorney said that her client came forward out of a “strong sense of 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,” the statement said. “Similarly, she is not seeking any financial damages.”

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