Advocates rebuke comments on Fairfax accusations, urge Virginia leaders to support sexual assault survivors

Virginia News

RICHMOND, Va. (WRIC) — The advocacy group Care in Action called on Virginia’s elected officials to support survivors of sexual assault at a press conference Friday morning where speakers directly addressed the accusations made against Lt. Gov. Justin Fairfax (D) last February by two different women, Dr. Vanessa Tyson and Meredith Watson.

Several participants spoke, including one of Fairfax’s former staff members, and people who attended held up signs that read: “Believe Black Women.”

“Over one year later, I continue to wrestle with the complicated emotions of that week and the year that has followed my resignation,” said Julia Billingsley, a former Fairfax aide who resigned after the accusations were made public.

“It was gut wrenching but all too familiar,” Billingsley continued. “These defense mechanisms are symptoms of a society that is still struggling to confront those that are commit acts of violence and failing to hold them accountable for their actions.”

The lieutenant governor maintained his innocence Friday in an interview with 8News following the press conference.

“We’re very confident in the truth. We’re more than a year later,” Fairfax said. “There’s a reason that people don’t want an investigation and it’s because we know that an investigation will expose that this was false. False allegations.”

The press conference came after Fairfax’s tweet on Monday at former Vice President Joe Biden tagging Richmond Mayor Levar Stoney and former Virginia Gov. Terry McAuliffe. In the tweet, Fairfax reiterated his claim that Stoney and McAuliffe organized the allegations against him.

“They were behind this,” Fairfax told 8News on Friday. “They pushed these false allegations because they want to run for governor and Virginians totally reject this kind of politics.”

Stoney is tagged in Fairfax’s tweet but didn’t reply and has not yet responded to 8News’ request for comment. State Sen. Joe Morrissey (D-Richmond) came to Fairfax’s defense in an interview on The John Fredericks Show on Tuesday.

Fairfax filed a lawsuit against CBS News for $400 million over an interview Gayle King conducted on “CBS This Morning” with his accusers. A federal judge later dismissed the lawsuit, however Fairfax said he is appealing the decision to the 4th U.S. Circuit Court in Richmond.

“We filed this lawsuit to clear my name,” said Fairfax.

This is a developing story.

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