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Fairfax Asks Prosecutors to Investigate Assault Allegations

Lt. Governor Justin Fairfax at a press conference on Wednesday
Lt. Governor Justin Fairfax at a press conference on Wednesday

Lt. Governor Justin Fairfax said on Wednesday that his lawyers have contacted prosecutors to investigate claims he sexually assaulted two women.

His announcement comes after CBS aired interviews with his accusers earlier this week.

Fairfax said that the two encounters in 2000 and 2004 were entirely consensual, and pointed to results of a polygraph test as proof of his innocence.

He said his lawyers contacted prosecutors in Boston and Durham, North Carolina, urging them to investigate the claims at the scene of the alleged crime.

“I will answer any and all questions,” he said in a statement in front of media. “I am willing to do so under oath and under penalty of perjury.”

Fairfax disputed most of the accounts given by the women to CBS. Meredith Watson said Fairfax, whom she considered a friend, raped her as a college student at Duke in 2000. Scripps College politics professor Vanessa Tyson accused Fairfax of forcing her to perform oral sex at the Democratic National Convention in Boston in 2004. Both women told CBS that they were traumatized after the encounters.

“Sensationalizing allegations does not make them true,” Fairfax responded. He left the room without taking questions.

Prosecutors haven’t said whether they’re investigating the allegations. University of Richmond law professor Carl Tobias called the outreach to prosecutors “highly unusual.”

“I just think they’ll ignore it,” Tobias said. “Given the resource and other pressing priorities, they don’t consider the most important aspect of their work vindication of people accused of crimes.”

Watson and Tyson have called for a nonpartisan, public hearing into their claims.

Democrats in the House of Delegates shot down a Republican plan for a legislative hearing into the allegations because they said it would be too politicized. Republicans accuse Democrats of denying the wishes of the accusers, and have questioned the validity of the polygraph test.

“Ted Bundy passed a polygraph,” House Majority Leader Todd Gilbert said in a press conference on Wednesday.

Ben Paviour covers state politics for VPM News with a focus on accountability journalism.