Meredith Watson, the woman who accused Virginia Lieutenant Governor Justin Fairfax of sexual assault, is now speaking out against Virginia lawmakers’ decision not to move forward with public hearings.
“Apparently, the Virginia House Democratic Caucus believes that courageous victims of rape need to be heard — just not by them,” said Nancy Erika Smith, an attorney for Watson. “Ms. Watson is counting on the General Assembly to do the right thing and hold hearings now. These nonstop efforts to duck their role is pure cowardice. Sympathy is welcome, but action is needed.”
The Virginia House Democratic Caucus released a statement claiming that they are in support of Watson, but the investigation should not be in the spotlight.
“Ms. Watson & Dr. Tyson are courageous in coming forward to tell their stories. We respect all survivors and believe they should be fully heard. The allegations they have made against Lt Gov Fairfax are criminal in nature and we are treating them with the seriousness they deserve,” the statement said.
We believe that the law enforcement investigation should proceed unencumbered and outside of the political arena.
— VA House Democrats (@VAHouseDems) February 19, 2019
However, Watson is not completely without support. Some Republicans are sharing their concerns with Democrats’ reluctance to have a hearing.
“It’s becoming more compelling that a legislative forum should be seriously considered,” House Speaker Kirk Cox said. “We are actively working to develop that process and hope our Democrat colleagues will work with us moving forward.”
It’s becoming more compelling that a legislative forum should be seriously considered. We are actively working to develop that process and hope our Democrat colleagues will work with us moving forward. https://t.co/YMNudYkjrP
— Kirk Cox (@SpeakerCox) February 19, 2019
Watson also recently wrote an opinion piece for The Washington Post, slamming lawmakers for not letting Fairfax’s accusers speak out.
“Such ‘investigations’ are secret proceedings, out of the public eye, leaving victims vulnerable to selective leaks and smears. And we all know how such investigations end: with ‘inconclusive results,'” Watson wrote. “My privacy has already been violated, yet I am still willing to testify publicly under oath. Tyson has made the same offer. Our plea to the Virginia General Assembly to require the same of Fairfax has been met with inaction.”
While Fairfax has denied the accusations, both accusers are calling for an investigation.