Virginia's lieutenant governor is denying sexual assault charges from 2004 that have surfaced just as he is poised to possibly take over the state's highest office amid a racist photo scandal by sitting Gov. Ralph Northam.
"She was very much into a consensual encounter," Lt. Gov. Justin Fairfax told reporters in the state Capitol building Monday, according to The Washington Post
"Everything was 100 percent consensual. And now, years later, we have a totally fabricated story out of the blue to attack me once I was in politics."
The Big League Politics report on the Fairfax allegation was based on a private Facebook post by the woman who made the allegation, which the website said it received from a friend who had permission to share it.
The woman alleges the encounter took place at the Democratic National Convention in Boston in 2004 when Fairfax was not married. Fairfax maintains the two consented to sex.
According to the Richmond Times-Dispatch, the woman first approached The Washington Post with her story after Fairfax's election in November 2017, but the Post did not publish a story because it was unable to corroborate it.
"Lt. Gov. Fairfax has an outstanding and well-earned reputation for treating people with dignity and respect," a statement from Fairfax's chief of staff and communication's director read. "He has never assaulted anyone – ever – in any way, shape or form."
The story was reported on the same conservative website, Big League Politics, that broke the story of Northam's medical school yearbook page containing a photo of two people appearing in blackface and a Ku Klux Klan outfit. Northam, who initially apologized for posing in the photo, later denied being either person and is refusing calls from Democrats and Republicans to resign.
Both Northam and Fairfax are Democrats, and Fairfax's elevation to governor would make him only the second black person to hold that office in Virginia's history. Fairfax has not called on Northam to resign, saying only the governor should do what is in the "best interest of the commonwealth of Virginia."
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