Surrounded by sex scandals, Virginia’s Lieutenant Governor Justin Fairfax (D) has now been placed on leave by his law firm as the company looks into allegations of sexual assault. As his ability to effectively govern wanes as the national spotlight is placed on the Commonwealth, Fairfax has lost nearly all of his support within the Democratic Party.
Two accusations surfaced last week:
Dr. Vanessa Tyson, a Scripps College professor, has alleged that Fairfax sexually assaulted her at the 2004 Boston Democratic National Convention.
Meredith Wilson, a student at Duke University in 2000, while Fairfax also attended the North Carolina college, came forth last week with allegations that she was raped by Fairfax in a “premeditated and aggressive” fashion.
In the days following the first allegation, Fairfax has called the accusations “false and unsubstantiated,” a “totally fabricated story,” and “demonstrably false.”
Resisting widespread calls for his resignation, the lieutenant governor has tried to discredit his accusers, also vowing to remain in office as both Governor Ralph Northam (D) and Attorney General Mark Herring (D) are embroiled in racial controversy.
Nevertheless, Fairfax’s part-time employer, San Francisco-based Morrison & Foerster, has stated that it has retained outside attorneys to investigate the allegations against Virginia’s second in command, according to a report from The Hill.
“We take the allegations against Justin very seriously. As a firm, we believe that it is important to seriously listen to any allegation of sexual assault or harassment, and to treat all persons making such allegations with respect and sensitivity,” the firm’s Chairman Larren Nashelsky said.
Fairfax joined the firm in early 2018.
This past weekend, the Democratic Party of Virginia, the Virginia Legislative Black Caucus, and most party officials said the lieutenant governor should step down from office, with many saying that he should deal with the growing situation as a “private citizen.” On Saturday, Fairfax explained that he would be asking the FBI to investigate the allegations.
Late last week, a Northern Virginia Democrat in the House of Delegates began threatening impeachment if Fairfax did not resign by Monday. However, Delegate Patrick Hope (D-Arlington) relayed on Twitter that after he sent draft language for articles of impeachment to his colleagues, he received an “enormous amount of sincere and thoughtful feedback which has led to additional conversations that need to take place before anything is filed.”