Second Fairfax Accuser Says He Acknowledged Alleged Assault In College

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After calling for the Virginia legislature to hold public hearings for both herself and another woman who has accused Lt. Gov. Justin Fairfax (D) of sexual assault, Meredith Watson told CBS’s Gayle King that Fairfax acknowledged the alleged incident at a party when they were still in college.

Watson came forward with accusations that Fairfax allegedly sexually assaulted and raped her when they were in college at Duke University not long after another woman, Vanessa Tyson, alleged that Fairfax forced her to perform oral sex on him during the 2004 Democratic National Convention in Boston. Watson described the alleged assault in graphic detail to “CBS This Morning,” claiming that Fairfax, who she described as a good friend throughout college, invited her over to hang out one night toward the end of his senior year.

At one point, Watson alleges, Fairfax turned off the lights, locked the door and held her down while he sexually assaulted and raped her. She said she told two friends about the incident and later confronted Fairfax about the alleged assault after he followed her out of a party.

“And I was just running trying to get away and then I finally stopped and I turned around,” she told CBS. “And all I said to him was, ‘Why? Why would you do that to me.’ And he said, ‘I knew because of what happened to you last year that if I got you in the right situation, you would be too afraid to say or do anything about it.’ … He knew what he was gonna do that night when he asked me to come over.”

Tyson made similar allegations during her interview with King, which aired Monday. She said that in “retrospect,” she believes Fairfax allegedly assaulted her because he knew about her past as a survivor of incest and the work she was doing for a rape crisis center.

Fairfax has denied both women’s allegations and took a polygraph test after Watson came forward with her accusation. His team said he passed the test, specifically questions about his denials of having a conversation with Watson about the encounter being non-consensual.

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  1. Fairfax’s political career is over. He should decide to spend more time with his family (if they’ll have him), and find something else to do. Probably outside Virginia.

    (Do I believe his accusers? I believe that they are telling the truth as they know it, and that they are not delusional. They may be wrong about some details, but I strongly suspect that they are right about the essentials. I do not put much stake in the polygraph that Fairfax took, because it was carried out by someone he (or his lawyers) hired, and the operator knew how the people paying wanted the test to come out. And it may be that Fairfax actually believes, or has convinced himself, that he didn’t attack either of the women. But it’s much more probable that he did. And, no, proof beyond a reasonable doubt is not necessary.)

  2. This. Now if only one of those old white assholes who serially abused Christine Blasey Ford had had even the most rudimentary level of decency equipping them to say the same.

    It sucks.

  3. Nobody is arguing much about the details, just whether it was consensual or not. And it’s troublesome that Watson doesn’t want the criminal investigators to look into it (the DA apparently reached out to her in February), but rather try things in the court of public opinion.

    We have a Justice system for a good reason. If Fairfax is guilty of these, he deserves to pay the cost, for sure.

    But he has a right to have his case heard, and given that both cases can be done in courts, unlike Dr. Ford’s, that’s the right place for them to be.

  4. Court proceedings would take forever. Look how nothing’s happening in Bob Kraft’s case, and it involves misdemeanors.

    A legislative investigation would be highly imperfect, but if carried out carefully, it is probably the best way to go at this time.

    As for consent, from what I’ve heard so far, only in his mind.

  5. Avatar for paulw paulw says:

    I have mixed feelings about someone not wanting a criminal investigation at this point. On the one hand, it’s not a strong position, but on the other hand, there’s a long and disgusting history of law enforcement investigating sexual assault allegations, especially in cases where there isn’t much or any physical evidence. And “there’s not enough evidence to be sure of getting a conviction” would be taken as exoneration.

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