Fairfax Denies Second Allegation, Refuses To Resign

Virginia Blackface Scandal Ensnares Top State Republican

A second woman has accused embattled Virginia Lt. Governor Justin Fairfax of sexual assault, with his office still reeling from last week's claims he'd assaulted a female professor at the 2004 Democratic National Convention.

Virginia Lieutenant Governor Justin Fairfax presides over a session of the state senate inside the capital building in dowtown Richmond, on February 4, 2019.

"Fifteen years ago, when I was an unmarried law student, I had a consensual encounter with the woman who made the allegation", he said in a lengthy statement referring to his accuser, Meredith Watson.

In a statement, Fairfax denies the allegation and refuses to step down. "I have never forced myself on anyone ever", he wrote in a statement. In a statement on Friday, Fairfax said that he will not resign and asserted that the allegations are part of a "vicious and coordinated smear campaign". The black caucus also called for an investigation of the Fairfax case, and said the attorney general must take more actions to "reassure" the state he is fit to lead.

It continued, "I will clear my good name and I have nothing to hide. If I reach a point where I am not comfortable with that, then obviously we will sit down and have that discussion".

I will not resign.

Watson said the details of her alleged attack are similar to Tyson's - and she opted to go public because of her "strong sense of civic duty and her belief that those seeking or serving in public office should be of the highest character". Former Virginia Gov. Terry McAuliffe tweeted that the lieutenant governor "can no longer effectively serve".

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National Democrats had held off calling for Fairfax to step down after Tyson's allegations. The governor, also a Democrat, admitted to using blackface earlier this month, after the discovery of a racist image on his page in a decades-old yearbook. On Thursday local press reported the Republican senate majority leader, Tommy Norment, had been the managing editor of a 1968 yearbook containing several photos of students posing in blackface and racist slurs that referred to African Americans, Jews and Asians.

Virginia Democrat Bobby Scott has told U.S. media that Prof Tyson had over a year ago told him some details about the alleged assault.

However, the statement makes clear that Watson doesn't think Fairfax should stay in office. Watson allegedly told Adams that the assault happened at a fraternity house: "She said she couldn't speak, but she was trying to get up and he kept pushing her down". I believe Meredith Watson.

Although the Democratic Party has taken nearly a zero-tolerance approach to misconduct among its members in this #MeToo era, a housecleaning in Virginia could be costly to them: If all three Democrats resigned, Republican House Speaker Kirk Cox would become governor.

The developments came near the end of an astonishing week that saw all three of Virginia's top elected officials - all Democrats - embroiled in potentially career-ending scandals fraught with questions of race, sex and power.

The governor has refused calls by fellow Democrats to resign over the scandal, which began when a photo from his medical school yearbook surfaced last week showing two people, one wearing blackface and one in a Ku Klux Klan costume.

With Gov. Ralph Northam and Attorney General Mark Herring facing blackface controversies, plus Lt. Gov. Fairfax facing a sexual assault allegation, comedians have had a lot of material to work with.

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