AFRICANGLOBE – A woman who alleged Virginia Lt. Gov. Justin Fairfax raped her in college was accused of harassing and threatening a man she had a relationship with, according to Maryland court records.
The man sought and received a peace order against Meredith Watson in July 2008, the records show. A peace order falls under the “umbrella term” of a restraining order in the state of Maryland, University of Maryland law professor Leigh Goodmark said. It is applied to situations in which a person may need to ask for distance from someone who isn’t their spouse or live-in partner, he said.
In a petition for the restraining order, the man described an incident in which Watson “was detaining me against my will … [and] not letting me leave” a vacation house in Corolla, N.C., and “dented the trunk” of his vehicle with her fist. In another instance, Watson showed up at his house stating “she was going to kill herself” and sent “threatening text messages” to the man, who had his sister come over to persuade her to leave, according to the document.
Watson’s spokeswoman, Karen Kessler, did not comment for this story before publication. After the story was published a lawyer for Watson, Nancy Erika Smith, said the order granted was a seven-day court order and that Watson “was not in the Courtroom and did not know about the proceedings or have an opportunity to be heard” when it was issued. The man “abandoned the effort after hearing from Ms. Watson’s lawyer,” Smith said.
The dispute between the two centered around $2,000 that was owed to Watson and was resolved, Smith said, with the man agreeing to pay Watson. The man who filed the request for the order did not respond to a request for comment for this story, nor did Fairfax through his office.
Watson, 39, is one of two women who have accused Fairfax of sexual assault, leading to calls for his resignation from state and national Democrats. She came forward last week to say that Fairfax had raped her in 2000, while they both attended Duke University, and her attorney provided statements from friends and electronic messages allegedly corroborating her account. Fairfax has denied the allegation.
Watson also told friends she was raped by former Duke University basketball player Corey Maggette, according to a report in The New York Times. “I have never sexually assaulted anyone in my life and I completely and categorically deny any such charge,” Maggette, who became an NBA player, said.
Watson indicated that she decided to come forward after California college professor Vanessa Tyson said Fairfax forced her to perform oral sex in his hotel room during the 2004 Democratic National Convention in Boston.
The petition against Watson also stated that, “Within 30 days the respondent was at my home and wouldn’t leave [and] the respondent was throwing property and I had to call my sister over [to] the house to make her leave. On numerous occasions respondent has stated she was going to kill herself.”
“This isn’t the first time or occurrence,” the man wrote.
The petition said Watson called the man “around 100 times a day” after the vacation house incident and sent him text messages.
“I am going to enjoy tearing you down just as much as you enjoyed tearing me down. Hang on tight because you are in for a ride!” read one of the alleged text messages that the man transcribed on the petition.
The man was granted a peace order, a version of a restraining order in the state of Maryland for people who are not spouses or domestic partners.
After Watson made her allegation, Fairfax said it “is obvious that a vicious and coordinated smear campaign is being orchestrated against me.”
But many prominent Democrats and groups have called on him to resign. They include the Legislative Black Caucus, the Democratic state House and Senate caucuses, nearly the state’s entire congressional delegation, Sen. Tim Kaine, former Gov. Terry McAuliffe and several presidential candidates.
A Democratic state House member has begun working on articles of impeachment against Fairfax but postponed introducing them after concerns by his colleagues.
If Fairfax leaves office, the governor can appoint a new lieutenant governor. However, the appointment would be short-lived: An election would be held in November, when the entire state Legislature is up for election, to fill out the remaining two years of Fairfax’s four-year term.
By: Anita Kumar And Maggie Severns