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Second Accuser of Lt. Gov. Justin Fairfax Comes Forward

In light of the two alleged assaults, the second accuser is calling for Fairfax's resignation.

UPDATED: Feb. 8, 2019 at 5:30 p.m. EST

As the hashtag #IBelieveVanessa circulates on Twitter, in regard to Dr. Vanessa Tyson's claim that she was sexually assaulted by Virginia Lt. Gov. Justin E. Fairfax, another accuser has stepped forward.

Lawyers for Meredith Watson released a statement Friday saying that Fairfax raped her in 2000 while they were both Duke University students. Watson is calling for Fairfax's resignation.

Below is the statement:

We serve as counsel for Meredith Watson, who was raped by Justin Fairfax in 2000, while they were both students at Duke University. Mr. Fairfax's attack was premeditated and aggressive. The two were friends but never dated or had any romantic relationship.

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

Ms. Watson was upset to learn that Mr. Fairfax raped at least one other woman after he attacked her. The details of Ms. Watson's attack are similar to those described by Dr. Vanessa 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. 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.

On behalf of our client, we have notified Justin Fairfax through his attorneys that Ms. Watson hopes he will resign from public office.

ORIGINAL STORY: Lt. Gov. Justin Fairfax's Accuser, Vanessa Tyson, Gains Support

Dr. Vanessa Tyson, a fellow at Stanford University, an associate professor at Scripps College, and a founding member of the Boston Area Rape Crisis Center Survivor Speakers' Bureau, released a statement, detailing what she says was sexual assault by Virginia Lt. Gov. Justin E. Fairfax at the Democratic National Convention in Boston in 2004.

Tyson said she was prompted by her lawyers to make a statement after a conservative website, Big League Politics, published one of her private Facebook posts where she vented about Fairfax.


"What began as consensual kissing quickly turned into a sexual assault," said Tyson in her statement, describing how Fairfax allegedly forced her to perform oral sex in his hotel room.

She said she cried and gagged during the encounter.

"I cannot believe, given my obvious distress, that Mr. Fairfax thought this forced sexual act was consensual," Tyson said.

She's already garnered support, as she hired the D.C. law firm Katz, Marshall & Banks, the same legal team that represented Christine Blasey Ford in her allegations against now-Supreme Court Justice Brett Kavanaugh.

A letter of support from 740 academics has been created, along with a GoFundMe account that has over $20,000, and a hashtag #IBelieveVanessa.



Fairfax, who hired Wilkinson Walsh Eskovitz, the same firm that represented Kavanaugh, initially fired back, accusing of a smear campaign and bringing up a 2007 video, where Tyson said she was a victim of child molestation and incest as a child, but didn't mention him. He received criticism for it.

A mutual friend of Fairfax and Tyson, who dated Tyson in the 1990s, said that he believes her, because of her history of victimization as a child. The friend, who preferred to be anonymous to protect his privacy, said there's no way she would've consented to a sexual encounter that early in meeting someone.

Diane L. Rosenfeld, a founding director of the Gender Violence Program at Harvard Law School, said she was told of the incident in 2017 by Tyson.

"She's not doing this for any fame. She's not suing him for money, so disbelievers and doubters can't say, 'Oh, she just wants money.' She just wants, as she says, the Virginia voters to know who this person is."

Five friends of Dr. Tyson have come forward saying she shared the encounter with them in 2017 and 2018.

"Reading Dr. Tyson's account is painful. I have never done anything like what she suggests," Fairfax said in a statement. "Any review of the circumstances would support my account, because it is the truth. I take this situation very seriously and continue to believe Dr. Tyson should be treated with respect. But, I cannot agree to a description of events that simply is not true."

After criticism of his initial response, Fairfax said: "I would like to encourage the media, my supporters and others to treat both the woman who made the allegation and my family with respect for how painful this situation can be for everyone involved."

U.S. Rep. Robert C. "Bobby" Scott (D-Va.), the dean of the Virginia congressional delegation, released a statement saying, "Allegations of sexual assault need to be taken seriously. I have known Professor Tyson for approximately a decade and she is a friend. She deserves the opportunity to have her story heard."

Reader Question: Given these are people of color, do you think this case will be taken seriously?

The Conversation (8)
11 Feb, 2019

Its interesting in this report that the writer does not call for his resignation. You simply reported the facts to date. However in the case with Brett Kavanugh, you painted a picture that the accuser needed to be believed. Why the difference. For record, I feel the same about both cases. You just cant wait 20-30 years and then come forward with something like this. How could anyone possibly choose to believe one person over the other in the absence of no other eveidence.

votetocorrect09 Feb, 2019
Justin Fairfax is done! There must be more women out there that will come forward!
Minorityofminorities09 Feb, 2019

Ms. Watson shared her account of the rape with friends in a series of emails and Facebook messages that are now in our possession"

Facebook didn't come on the scene until 2004. She claims she was raped in 2000. When I was raped I told my friends that same day NOT through impersonal social media and emails years later

Rose Smith09 Feb, 2019

Why now!!!, he has the opportunity to become governor and they decide to derail this opportunity?? What or Who is behind all of this???

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Michael Avenatti tweeted that he gave Chicago prosecutors "new critical video evidence."

R. Kelly is facing a new scandal following reports of another alleged sex tape involving an underage girl.

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R. Kelly was removed from RCA Records' website on Friday, but no official statement has been made by the record label.

Sony and R. Kelly have agreed to part ways, according to a Billboard report. The "Surviving R. Kelly" documentary and subsequent backlash from activists, music fans, and fellow music artists seems to have taken its toll, after more than 25 years of accusations of sexual and physical abuse.

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Faith Rodgers , 21, spoke to New York police Monday and unveiled a threatening letter allegedly written by R. Kelly last October.

Rodgers is suing Kelly for nonconsensual acts he allegedly forced her into in 2017, when she was 19.

In the notarized letter to attorney Gloria Allred, who is representing Rodgers, Kelly allegedly wrote "if she persists in court action, she will be subjected to public opinion," that she should have test results "proving the origin of her STD claim." The letter also said Kelly would request "10 personal male witnesses testifying about her sex life."

"If Ms. Rodgers really cares about her own reputation, she should cease her participation and association with the organizers of this negative campaign," the letter allegedly signed by Kelly says.

Kelly's attorney told CBS News the letter is "a fake" saying "R. Kelly can't read, write or type. He didn't send any letter."

Rodgers' attorney said of Kelly's future: "You better think of something quick. You're running out of time."

"Mr. Kelly, your disgusting tactics will not prevent women who allege that they were victimized from telling their truth."

Last week, an arrest warrant was issued for his former manager, James Mason, for an incident report in May 2018 where threats were made against one of the girls' fathers. The report quoted Mason threatening to kill Timothy Savage and family: "I'm going to do harm to you and your family, when I see you I'm gonna get you, I'm going to f**king kill you," Mason was quoted as saying in the police report, obtained by CNN.

As women come forward post the "Surviving R. Kelly" documentary, Kelly maintains his innocence.
Steven Greenberg, told NBC News that neither he nor Kelly has watched the documentary and said of the accusers, "They're just haters trying to ruin his career."

Several artists have spoken out in support of the accusers, including John Legend, Keke Palmer, Lady Gaga, and even Kelly's own daughter, Joann Kelly. Celine Dion and Chance the Rapper have reportedly pulled their music collaborations with him from streaming services.

Rodgers said she could forgive Kelly, but also believes he should be in jail. Additionally, she said: " He needs help not only mental help he needs spiritual help."

Reader Question: Do you think this letter will result in charges being brought against Kelly?

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