The chips are falling for Virginia’s lieutenant governor Justin Fairfax after being accused by two people of sexual assault. His entire staff has allegedly resigned.
According to Richmond.com, “Two of the three government staffers to Lt. Gov. Justin Fairfax and two employees of his political action committee resigned following news Friday of a second sexual assault allegation against him. The PAC employees who left are Dave Mills, who was the executive director of We Rise Together, and Courtney McCargo, a fundraiser for the PAC.” In addition, “On the government side, Adele McClure, the policy director, resigned, as did Julia Billingsly, the scheduling director.”
As of now, Lauren Burke, Fairfax’s communications director, is still employed by his PAC and Larry Roberts, his chief of staff, is still on as a state employee.
Fairfax has also been put on paid leave as a lawyer at the firm Morrison & Foerster.
Meredith Watson came forward on Feb. 8 and claimed he 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 called for Fairfax to resign, the governor of Virginia.
Fairfax has denied Tyson’s claims and has not commented on the reports from Watson.