Justin Fairfax Staffers Quit After Sexual Assault Allegations Surface

12 February, 2019, 05:10 | Author: Emmett Rice
  • Second woman accuses Virginia Lieutenant Governor of sexual assault

A second accusation came from Watson, who charged that Fairfax assaulted her in a "premeditated and aggressive" attack in 2000, while both were undergraduate students at Duke University.

The lawyer, Nancy E Smith, said her team has statements from former classmates who said Ms Watson had "immediately" told friends that Mr Fairfax had raped her.

Northam has insisted he would not resign over a 1984 medical school yearbook picture, which showed a person in blackface next to another wearing the robes and hood of the white supremacist Ku Klux Klan.

"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", Smith said, according to the written statement. But he said that reflection has convinced him that, by remaining in office, he can work to resolve them.

The latest call for impeachment hearings comes after Virginia Delegate Patrick Hope backed off his plans to introduce articles of impeachment against Fairfax on Monday morning.

Fairfax denies the allegations. "I say again without reservation: I did not sexually assault or rape Meredith Watson, Vanessa Tyson or anyone else". Of Herring, he said that "just like me, he has grown".

"When I was confronted with the images yesterday I was appalled that they appeared on my page", Northam said during a press conference on February 2, "but I believe then and now, that I am not either of the people in that photo".

Northam said he planned to focus on addressing issues stemming from inequality, including improving access to health care, housing, and transportation. "There are still some very deep wounds in Virginia, and especially in the area of equity".

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The governor claimed that he'd only seen the photo after it became public knowledge earlier this month.

Following news of a second accuser against Fairfax, Democratic state lawmakers in Virginia issued a call for Fairfax to resign, as did the Virginia Black Legislative Caucus.

Blackface traces its history to 19th-century minstrel shows that mocked African-Americans, and is seen as offensive by many Americans - though its use continued in USA popular culture through to the early 21st century. Few have called for their resignations.

But as the museum makes clear, they were still slaves - Africans who were brought to these shores against their will, and forced to work without pay. Northam may try to appoint a Democrat, while Republicans could mount a legal challenge with the goal of getting Senate Pro Tem Steve Newman to serve as both a voting senator and temporary lieutenant governor. They have been more forgiving toward Herring, largely because he came forward on his own to admit having performed in blackface at a 1980 college party, rather than waiting for someone to accuse him.

House Speaker Kirk Cox, the Republican who would become governor if all three Democrats resigned, said it was too soon to say whether he would support impeachment. Northam initially said he was in the photo, then denied it the next day, while acknowledging he did wear blackface to a dance party that same year.

The attorney general's future also remains in question.

Now many fret their current crisis in leadership will not only cost them chances of winning GOP-held seats, but cost them several currently held by Democrats.

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