Second Accuser of Lt. Gov. Justin Fairfax Comes Forward

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

Latest News

Biden Stands by His Commitment to LGBTQ rights; Cost of Racism in the U.S. Tops $16 Trillion; Black and Latinx Continue to Die from COVID-19 at Nearly Twice the Rate of Whites; and More

Biden reaffirms commitment to LGBTQ rights; promises to pass Equality Act. Democratic presidential nominee Joe Biden doubled down on his promises to the LGBTQ community while speaking at a presidential town hall for the Human Rights Campaign Foundation on Sept. 24. “You deserve a partner in the White House to…

degeneres, work, show

Leadership Lessons to be Gleaned from Ellen DeGeneres’ Toxic Workplace Scandal

Ellen DeGeneres began her daytime talk show’s 18th season with an apology after a summer of allegations against her that claimed her show promoted a toxic work environment rife with racism, sexual misconduct and other mistreatment. In August 2020, three senior producers — executive producers Ed Glavin and Kevin Leman…

COVID entrepreneur

Explosive New Growth in Small Businesses Due to COVID-19; America’s Police Force is Not Becoming More Diverse Despite BLM Movement; the Best and Worst Performing States in the 2020 Census; and More

Even with incredible nationwide unemployment rates, the creation of new small and diverse businesses has exploded due to COVID-19. Finally some news coming out of our pandemic: The Philadelphia Tribune reports that as bars and restaurants closed and stay-at-home orders were put into place earlier in 2020 to help fight…

Justice for Breonna not served; The essential rule of politics; Teen serves two months in jail for not doing homework; and More

Justice for Breonna not served as grand jury indicted officer who shot her with wanton endangerment — but not murder. “Outrageous and offensive.” Those were  by attorney to the family, Ben Crump to describe the grand jury’s decision in the March 13 fatal police shooting of 26-year-old Breonna Taylor. While…

IBM, EEOC, age

EEOC Unearths Years of Intentional Age Discrimination within IBM

After a long investigation, the Equal Employment Opportunity Commission (EEOC) has revealed that IBM leaders had directed managers to replace older workers with younger ones. Between 2013 and 2018, nearly 86% of those considered for layoffs within the organization were older employees over the age of 40. The investigation showed…

Breathe March in Globe Park, New York, USA - 12 Sep 2020

Cities under attack from the Justice Department; Louisville bracing for the Breonna Taylor murder charge; Twitter reveals its racist side; and More

Justice department attacks three U.S. cities, declaring them anarchist zones — despite most of the protests that took place in each city being peaceful marches in support of the Black Lives Matter movement. In a move designed to pull federal funding from New York City, Seattle and Portland, OR, the…