RICHMOND, Va. (AP) — The Latest on sexual assault allegations made by two women against Virginia Lt. Gov. Justin Fairfax:
House Republicans say they tried and failed to broker a deal with Democrats that would allow for a bipartisan public hearing in which two women who accuse Virginia Lt. Gov. Justin Fairfax of sexual assault could testify under oath.
Republican Speaker Kirk Cox issued a statement Tuesday blaming Democrats for refusing to participate and blocking a bipartisan hearing.
Vanessa Tyson and Meredith Watson leveled their accusations against Fairfax in February. Their allegations have received new attention after televised interviews this week with CBS News in which they tearfully described their experience.
Both women have said they want to testify in front of the General Assembly but want a bipartisan process.
Fairfax has said his encounters with both women were consensual.
House Democrats say a legislative hearing would inevitably become a partisan brawl.
The second of two women to accuse Virginia Lt. Gov. Justin Fairfax of sexual assault says she has nothing to gain by going public with her allegation.
Meredith Watson said in an interview aired Tuesday with CBS that she’s been subjected to intense scrutiny since accusing Fairfax of raping her when both were students at Duke University in 2000.
She said she’s faced particular criticism as a black woman because her accusations have tarred the reputation of Fairfax, who also is black.
Fairfax says his encounters with both Watson and his initial accuser, Vanessa Tyson, were consensual, and he says a polygraph test proved it.
Watson said Tuesday that Fairfax held her down during the attack and that “if you have to hold someone down, it’s not consensual.”
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