After allegations from a second woman saying she had been sexually assaulted by Virginia Lieutenant Governor Justin Fairfax came to light, Democrats from across the country are calling for the politician to step down. Many people within Fairfax’s party had called for an investigation into the initial reports of sexual assault, but stopped short at calling for him to resign his office.
But after hearing the account from Meredith Watson, CNN reports, Fairfax seems to have lost support from a majority of Democratic leaders, who are now are calling on the 39-year-old to leave his role in Virginia government.
Fairfax is accused by two women of raping them. Vanessa Tyson, a professor in California, says that Fairfax attacked her at a 2004 Democratic convention held in Boston. Shortly after, Watson released details of her own encounter with the lieutenant governor in a description that sounded similar to Tyson’s. Watson says that she was raped by Fairfax when the two attended Duke University in 2000.
Fairfax denied both accusations and called for an investigation, adding that he has cleared two FBI background checks.
“I demand a full investigation into these unsubstantiated and false allegations,” Fairfax said. “Such an investigation will confirm my account because I am telling the truth.”
In the wake of the scandal, the Virginia House of Delegates and the Virginia state Senate released a joint statement, which was posted on Twitter, calling for Fairfax to resign in the best interest of the commonwealth. The Virginia Legislative Black Caucus released its own statement, calling for the Democrat to step down.
Prominent Democrats across the country have also added their voices to the call. Kamala Harris, who recently announced that she is running for president in 2020, said that she supports the victims.
“The allegations by Dr. Vanessa Tyson and Meredith Watson are corroborated, painful stories of sexual assault and rape,” Harris said on Twitter. “It’s clear Virginia Lieutenant Governor Justin Fairfax should resign his office.”
Massachusetts Senator Elizabeth Warren echoed Harris’ remarks.
“These credible and troubling allegations from Dr. Vanessa Tyson and Meredith Watson make it clear that Lt. Gov Fairfax should resign. My heart goes out to these brave women and their families,” Warren wrote on Twitter.
Fairfax’s fellow Virginians have also joined the campaign for his resignation.
“The allegations against Justin Fairfax are serious and credible,” wrote former Virginia governor Terry McAuliffe on Twitter. “I call for his immediate resignation.”
NEW: Five friends of Justin Fairfax accuser Vanessa Tyson have independently told @stefsaul and me that Tyson told them of her sexual assault, either in late 2017 or fall 2018. More than 740 academics have signed a letter of support for her. https://t.co/xlvWaL5MP6— Sheryl Gay Stolberg (@SherylNYT) February 8, 2019
Virginia Delegate Patrick Hope said that he would like to see Fairfax step down, but if he doesn’t, he intends to have articles of impeachment drafted and presented on Monday.