Second woman accuses Virginia's Lt Governor of sexual assault

Second woman accuses Virginia's Lt Governor of sexual assault

Virginia's embattled governor, Ralph Northam, capped a week of political chaos ignited by racial scandals by vowing to stay in office on Friday, while the fellow Democrat in line to succeed him faced a second accusation of sexual assault.

The woman, identified as Meredith Watson, claims Fairfax raped her in 2000 when they were both students at Duke University in North Carolina. Kaneedreck Adams, a friend of Watson's at Duke who lived across the hall in on-campus housing, said that one day in the spring semester of 2000, Watson entered her room crying. "That is true. Ms. Watson was raped by a basketball player during her sophomore year at Duke". In a statement, Tyson described how the alleged assault took place, claiming Fairfax forced her to perform oral sex on him, and she said she cried and gagged at the time.

"Mr. Fairfax has chosen to attack his victim again", Watson's lawyer, Nancy Erika Smith, wrote in the statement, "now smearing her with the typical "she's nuts" defense". "This is part of the sad and dark politics that the Lt. Governor has dedicated himself to helping Virginia and the nation rise above".

"I overreacted", he said, by putting out a statement taking blame for the picture.

Top Democrats running for president in 2020 called for Fairfax's resignation, including Sens.

Northam has been facing mounting calls to resign following the emergence of a racist photo in his medical school yearbook, as well controversial comments he made about late-term abortion.

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Calls for Fairfax to step aside have come from state House and Senate Democrats, the Legislative Black Caucus, former Democratic governor Terry McAuliffe, Virginia's two US senators - Tim Kaine and Mark Warner, also both Democrats - and several potential Democratic presidential hopefuls.

"I have passed two full field background checks by the Federal Bureau of Investigation and run for office in two highly contested elections with nothing like this being raised before", he said.

39-year-old Fairfax has denied the allegations, calling them "unsubstantiated" and "demonstrably false". The Virginia Legislative Black Caucus and multiple Democratic presidential candidates have called on him to resign. The Daily Beast also obtained a Facebook message from March 2017 in which Watson sent an article to a friend about Fairfax: "This is absolutely disgusting!" I want to stand here in that truth and restate that my truth, as well as the truth of Dr. Tyson and Ms. Watson, should be fully investigated and thoroughly assessed. Ms. Watson also told friends, including Justin Fairfax.

As the crisis widened by midweek, Democratic leaders appeared willing to give both Fairfax and Herring the benefit of the doubt for the time being - in Herring's case, because he apologized personally for wearing blackface.

"I urge everyone to take survivors of sexual assault seriously, and to help build an environment that is safe and supportive for everyone".

Expanding Medicaid a year ago was a good start, he said, but state government needs to be aggressive about enrolling residents.

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