Saturday, February 9, 2019

Over the River and Through the Woods: A Second Rape Allegation

Over in Richmond, Remember how yesterday, I said with respect to Justin Fairfax, the Lt. Governor of Virginia:
He is certainly entitled to reasonable doubt, and due process, but it seems unlikely that this "she said he said" can be settled on a factual basis. He also benefits a bit by being the black guy in the mix. But if a contemporary account or another victim declares herself, watch out!
It seems that soon after I hit the publish button, that became a reality. WaPoo, Second woman accuses Va. Lt. Gov. Justin Fairfax of sexual assault. And worse for Fairfax, unlike the original allegation, it appears that she told friends at the time.
A Maryland woman said Friday that she was sexually assaulted by Virginia Lt. Gov. Justin Fairfax (D) in a “premeditated and aggressive” attack in 2000, while both were undergraduate students at Duke University. She is the second woman this week to accuse him of sexual assault. Fairfax forcefully denied both allegations.

Democratic Party leaders quickly called for Fairfax to resign, including the influential Virginia Legislative Black Caucus. Many who had withheld judgment after the first allegation this week said they could no longer stand by him, including most of Virginia’s Democratic congressional delegation and national Democrats with presidential aspirations.
. . .
The new accusation against Fairfax came from Meredith Watson, who said Friday in a statement through her attorney that she shared her account with several classmates and friends immediately after the alleged assault occurred. Watson did not speak publicly Friday, and her lawyer did not make her available for an interview.
. . .
Smith said the details of Watson’s alleged attack are similar to those described by Tyson, who said that Fairfax had forced her to perform oral sex.

Kaneedreck Adams, 40, who attended Duke with Watson, said that in spring 2000, Watson lived across the hall from her in an on-campus apartment complex and came to her in tears.

“She was upset,” said Adams, a lawyer. “She told me she had been raped, and she named Justin.” “She said she couldn’t speak, but she was trying to get up and he kept pushing her down,” Adams said. “She said he knew that she didn’t like what was happening, but he kept pushing her down.”
. . .
Watson’s attorney provided an email exchange from 2016 between Watson and Milagros Joye Brown, another friend from Duke, after Brown invited some Duke friends to a fundraising event for Fairfax’s nascent campaign for lieutenant governor.

“Justin raped me in college and I don’t want to hear anything about him. Please, please, please remove me from any future emails about him please,” Watson wrote on Oct. 26, 2016.
. . .
“I deny this latest unsubstantiated allegation,” Fairfax responded in a statement. “It is demonstrably false. I have never forced myself on anyone ever.”

Asked what evidence Fairfax had that would demonstrate that the charge was false, spokeswoman Lauren Burke said: “In due time, all the facts will come out.”
And from Ace (because the WaPoo and NYT won't report this, you can be sure), Former Boyfriend of Dr. Vanessa Tyson: Due to Her Trauma Over Being Sexually Molested By Her Father, She Would Never Have Consented to Oral Sex. Ughh.
This is now less of a he-said, she-said and now a he-said, she-said, and he agreed with what she said.

Doesn't mean Justin Fairfax is guilty. But given that this former boyfriend is saying, if you read between the lines a bit, "No, she absolutely refuses oral sex because her father forced that on her," it does suggest that she would not have volunteered to commit the same act on a near-stranger.

You really can't prove this kind of serious sexual assault just by testimony, but as far as stories go? This is a really strong one.

You know why you're not allowed to ask about prior sexual experiences, in order to establish that if she said "yes" before she's more likely to have said "yes" now, in a rape trial?

Such questions are ruled to be impermissible by the Rules of Evidence due to public policy considerations -- singing the reputation of a woman who says (and just might be) a rape victim -- but not because they're irrelevant. They are relevant. It's always noted that it would be relevant that a woman had never before consented to sex before, because that would suggest it would be less likely that she would consent on any particular occasion.

And so while previous instances of granting consent would, then, logically suggest that a woman would be more likely to grant it later, they had a look a this question and decided yeah, but this sort of thing tells us so little -- it's barely relevant, in other words -- and the capacity to intimidate a complaining witness is so high, that for public policy reasons we won't let defense lawyers attempt to prove that a claimed victim of rape has had sex before. The slight probative value of such information is greatly outweighed by the public policy considerations of scaring rape victims from bringing forward complaints at all.

The reason I bring this up is because this ex-boyfriend's claim -- that she never engaged in oral sex, she was horrified by it due to a past history of abusive incest -- is pretty much that paradigmatic example of why past sexual history actually could be relevant (indeed, very relevant) in a rape trial in which consent is at issue.

Again, none of this means this story is true. And Justin Fairfax has not made any claims about what the sexual encounter consisted of; I imagine at this point he might just say "Yeah we didn't have oral sex."
Stacy McCain Democrat ‘Rising Star’ Fading Fast
Yeah, expect to see lots more shoes dropping in this case:
Days after Dr. Vanessa Tyson went public with her sexual-assault allegations against Virginia Lieutenant Governor Justin Fairfax, another woman has accused him of rape.
In a statement from her lawyer, Meredith Watson claims she was raped by Fairfax, who is next in line to become governor, in 2000, when they were both students at Duke University. The letter characterizes the alleged attack as “premeditated and aggressive.”
“The two were friends but never dated or had any romantic relationship,” the statement said.
. . .
“Ms. Watson was upset to learn that Mr. Fairfax raped at least one other woman after he attacked her,” Watson’s lawyers said.
Nice phrase — “at least one other woman” — because there are already rumors of more women coming forward to accuse Fairfax.

Generally speaking, as we have seen since the #MeToo movement got rolling in fall 2017, someone with one complaint of sexual misconduct will usually show a persistent pattern of predatory behavior, as in the cases of Harvey Weinstein and Kevin Spacey. So if Fairfax had assaulted one woman, chances are there were others out there with similar stories.

Now, a number of prominent Democrats — including 2020 presidential candidates Kamala Harris and Elizabeth Warren — are calling for Fairfax’s resignation. And all the liberal journalists who called Fairfax a “rising star” are watching to see how soon he will fall.
To make amends, Gov Northams aides want him to read Roots and Ta-Nehisi Coates: Virginia governor to learn black sensitivity by going back to somebody else's Roots
Virginia Democratic Gov. Ralph Northam’s aides want him to read his way out of trouble.

If you can believe it, the aides' strategy for helping him survive his "blackface scandal" involves assigned reading, including Alex Haley's book Roots and an essay written by the Atlantic’s Ta-Nehisi Coates, according to BuzzFeed News.

It’s the whitest solution to a blackface problem that only the whitest of whites could have devised.
Insty catches a whiff of hypocrisy in VIRGINIA CLOWN SHOW, NOW-THEY-TELL-US EDITION:

Without going into a long litany of people saying Northam and Fairfax should resign, suffice it to say that neither of them has shown any inclination  of resigning (although the day is still fairly young). Virginia Attorney General Mark Herring (D), who also admitted to donning "dark makeup" while imitating a rapper in the '80's, when he was 19, does't seem to be facing quite the same level of pressure, likely because he is the last Democrat in the line of succession.

1 comment:

  1. Beat them to death with this.

    If they don't resign, use the compare-and-contrast with the drumbeat they use against "R" pols.

    If they do resign, well, we win.