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  • Writer's pictureDonald V. Watkins

Justin Fairfax Must Resign, Immediately

By Donald V. Watkins

©Copyrighted and Published on February 9, 2019

Embattled Virginia Lt. Gov. Justin Fairfax no longer enjoys the support and confidence of the Democratic Party of Virginia, which issued a statement today calling for him to resign. The statement was released after a second woman, Meredith Watson, alleged that Fairfax raped her while they were students at Duke University in 2000.

I have read the written statements issued by Fairfax’s first accuser, Vanessa Tyson, and Meredith Watson. They are detailed and credible in nature. They warrant a full investigation by an independent law enforcement agency.

Sexual assault and rape are crimes. There is no immunity from these crimes based upon the alleged perpetrator’s race, political party affiliation, or socio-economic standing in life.

In the face of these serious and credible charges, Justin Fairfax can no longer fulfill the duties and responsibilities of his public office.

The Democratic Party of Virginia's call for Fairfax’s resignation came only hours after the Virginia Legislative Caucus and Democrats in both houses of the legislature called for the Fairfax to resign. Democratic state legislator, Patrick Hope, has vowed to begin impeachment proceedings on Monday if Fairfax does not step down immediately.

Fairfax, who is one of three top Virginia Democrats embroiled in political scandal, said Friday he would not step down and has demanded an investigation into the claims. "I will clear my good name and I have nothing to hide. I have passed two full field background checks by the FBI and run for office in two highly contested elections with nothing like this being raised before," Fairfax said in a statement. "It is obvious that a vicious and coordinated smear campaign is being orchestrated against me."

Fairfax may or may not be right in this regard, but this does not change the fact that he cannot govern in this politically toxic environment. He needs to resign, now.

The Virginia Legislative Black Caucus, which stood by the 39-year-old African-American political leader following the Vanessa Tyson accusation, said in a statement late Friday that "it is best for Lt. Governor Fairfax to step down from his position. "While the group said it believes in due process, "we can't see it in the best interest of the Commonwealth of Virginia for (Fairfax) to remain in his role." 

Vanessa Tyson is a one-time colleague who accused Fairfax of forcing her to perform oral sex in a hotel room during the 2004 Democratic national convention in Boston. Fairfax denied the charge of sexual assault, calling his sexual encounter with Tyson consensual.

The Meredith Watson Rape Allegations

In a statement Friday, Meredith Watson's lawyer, Nancy Erika Smith, said Justin Fairfax and her Ms. Watson were friends in college, but did not date each other. Watson told her friends at the time that Fairfax raped her and has provided her lawyers with emails and Facebook messages detailing her account of the rape, Smith said.

After Fairfax's strong denial of the charges as part of a smear campaign, Watson's attorney issued a second statement pushing back on Fairfax's denial.

According to Attorney Smith, Watson told Fairfax she had been previously raped by another man. Later, after Fairfax allegedly raped Watson, they had an interaction at a campus party, Smith said.

"She turned and asked: 'Why did you do it?' Mr. Fairfax answered: 'I knew that because of what happened to you last year, you’d be too afraid to say anything.' Mr. Fairfax actually used the prior rape of his 'friend' against her when he chose to rape her in a premeditated way," Smith said in the second statement.

Kaneedreck Adams, 40, told The Washington Post that Watson told her at Duke in spring 2000 that Fairfax raped her at a fraternity house. 

"She said she couldn’t speak, but she was trying to get up and he kept pushing her down," Adams, who reportedly lived across from Watson, told the newspaper. "She said he knew that she didn’t like what was happening, but he kept pushing her down."

The Post also reported that Watson emailed Milagros Joye Brown, a college friend, in 2016 as Brown invited former classmates to a fundraiser for Fairfax's lieutenant governor bid. "Molly, Justin raped me in college and I don’t want to hear anything about him. Please, please, please remove me form any future emails about him please," Watson reportedly wrote in the Oct. 26, 2016 email.

In light of the graphic sexual assault and rape allegations cited above, Justin Fairfax must resign, immediately.

PHOTO: Virginia Lt. Governor Justin Fairfax is under pressure to resign.

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