A second woman has accused Virginia Lieutenant Gov. Justin Fairfax of sexual assault, alleging he raped her while they were in college nearly 20 years ago.
The allegation comes just days after Dr. Vanessa Tyson said Fairfax had forced her to perform oral sex on him at the Democratic National Convention (DNC) in 2004. In a letter from her attorney, Meredith Watson accused him of raping her while both attended Duke University in 2000.
"The two were friends but never dated or had any romantic relationship," the letter, penned by lawyer Nancy Erika Smith and which asks Fairfax to resign, reads. It describes the alleged attack as "premeditated and aggressive." According to her lawyer, Watson told several classmates about the alleged assault immediately after it took place. They have provided statements confirming this. Watson has also told other friends via email and through Facebook messages.
Smith said Watson had become "upset" after learning earlier this week that Fairfax had allegedly assaulted 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,” the letter reads. "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."
Fairfax has repeatedly denied Tyson's claims. Shortly after Watson came forward, he said in a statement: “I demand a full investigation into these unsubstantiated and false allegations. Such an investigation will confirm my account because I am telling the truth.’’ He refused to step down.
The 39-year-old Democrat is second in line for governor of Virginia. In recent days, the top leadership of the state has been embroiled in several scandals following the discovery of a racist photo in Gov. Ralph Northam's 1984 Eastern Virginia Medical School yearbook page. The photo shows a man wearing blackface and another in a Ku Klux Klan robe. He has refused to resign.