Two women have come forward to accuse of Virginia’s lieutenant governor Justin Fairfax of sexual assault. Now, the Virginia house speaker is demanding that he resign.
According to WAVY.com, House of Delegates Speaker Kirk Cox, who is a Republican, said in a statement today, “There are multiple, serious credible allegations of sexual assault against Lt. Governor Justin Fairfax. I deeply respect the principle of due process and believe that the gravity of this situation demands prudence and deliberation, but the Lt. Governor has clearly lost the trust and confidence of the people of Virginia.” He continued, “His ability to serve has been permanently impaired and, at this point, it is in the best interests of the Commonwealth for him to resign.”
Meredith Watson said on Friday that Justin Fairfax raped her while they were students at Duke University in 2000, according to a new report from the Washington Post. Watson’s claim came less than a week after Vanessa Tyson said Fairfax forced her to give him oral sex during the summer of 2004.
Public support for Tyson has been steadily growing since she released a statement detailing her accusation. And although she said she has no intention of seeking any charges against Fairfax, the legal door remained open for officials in Boston, where Tyson was allegedly sexually assaulted, and North Carolina, where Watson said she was raped.
The statute of limitations in Massachusetts for criminal allegations of a sexual nature is 15 years, which means local law enforcement in Boston has up until some point in July this year to file charges against Fairfax. Neither the Boston Police Department nor the Suffolk County District Attorney’s Office has commented on that possibility, according to Fox News.
But in North Carolina, there is no statute of limitations for first-degree forcible rape, according to “RAINN (Rape, Abuse & Incest National Network) is the nation’s largest anti-sexual violence organization.”
That means that law enforcement in both states have time to decide whether they think there is a viable case to prosecute.
Watson’s lawyer told the Post that her client only wants Fairfax to resign. That echoed the sentiments of Tyson, who said she only went public after she saw Fairfax was on the verge of being elevated to governor when it was discovered Virginia Gov. Ralph Northam has racist images on his medical school yearbook page.
However, Northam has refused to resign, even as Virginia Attorney General Mark Herring admitted Wednesday that he, too, has worn blackface in the past. If Northam, Herring and Fairfox resign, that would make House of Delegates Speaker Kirk Cox, who is calling for Fairfax to resign, the governor of Virginia.
Fairfax has denied Tyson’s claims and did not immediately respond to the new reports from Watson.