Lt. Gov. Justin Fairfax said Saturday that his encounters with the two women who have accused him of sexual assault were consensual, and he called on authorities — including the FBI — to investigate.
His statement came as calls for his resignation mounted from former allies, including the Democratic Party of Virginia, which had reserved judgment until a second woman came forward Friday to say he sexually assaulted her.
“This has been a devastating week for my family. It has been an especially devastating time for the great Commonwealth of Virginia,” Fairfax said in a statement Saturday night.
“I say again without reservation: I did not sexually assault or rape Meredith Watson, Vanessa Tyson or anyone else. Our American values don’t just work when it’s convenient — they must be applied at the most difficult of times.”
Tyson last week accused Fairfax of sexually assaulting her in 2004, at the Democratic National Convention in Boston. Watson on Friday accused Fairfax of assaulting her in 2000, while they were students at Duke University.
Saturday’s statement marked the first time he called on a specific law enforcement agency to investigate, insisting that an independent inquiry would clear him. It was the first time he acknowledged an encounter with Watson.
“As an officer of the court and a former federal prosecutor, I have dedicated my life to the law and due process,” Fairfax said. “Consequently, I call on all appropriate and impartial investigatory authorities, including the FBI, to investigate fully and thoroughly the allegations against me by Ms. Watson and Dr. Tyson. I ask that all three of us be respected during this process.”
Fairfax has now forcefully denied both charges. On Friday, he said he was the victim of a “smear.” But he did not mention that in his Saturday statement.
“The one thing I want to make abundantly clear is that in both situations I knew at the time, and I know today, that the interactions were consensual,” he said Saturday.
He said he knew both women during the time they allege the assaults occurred, He said he also knew them afterward, and they never told him their interactions were not consensual or caused “any discomfort.”
He ended the statement with a request for fairness.
“I am asking that no one rush to judgment and I am asking for there to be space in this moment for due process,” he said.
Before Fairfax invoked the FBI, Del. Patrick Hope, D-Arlington, on Saturday said impeachment proceedings could serve an investigatory role.
Hope said he would introduce articles of impeachment on Monday if Fairfax didn’t resign before then. The lawmaker declined comment Saturday, but tweeted, “The impeachment process is the investigation.”
In a second tweet, he said because the alleged sexual assaults occurred in Massachusetts and North Carolina, “The impeachment process is the only way for Virginia to have the investigation that LG Fairfax has demanded.”
Virginia House of Delegates Speaker Kirk Cox, R-Colonial Heights, joined the chorus of voices calling for Fairfax to resign.
“I deeply respect the principle of due process and believe that the gravity of this situation demands prudence and deliberation,” he said. in a statement. “But the Lt. Governor has clearly lost the trust and confidence of the people of Virginia. His ability to serve has been permanently impaired and, at this point, it is in the best interests of the Commonwealth for him to resign.”
Also Friday, the Democratic Lieutenant Governors Association released a statement saying Fairfax had been replaced as chairman before his term was up.