Saturday, February 09, 2019

We Don't Need No Stinking Investigation!

As The Washington Post has reported

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.

While Sen. Mark R. Warner (D-Va.) and Rep. Robert C. “Bobby” Scott (D-Va.) said Fairfax should resign if the allegations were true, Sen. Tim Kaine (D-Va.) offered no such equivocation. “The allegations against him detail atrocious crimes, and he can no longer effectively serve the Commonwealth,” Kaine said in a statement. “We cannot ever ignore or tolerate sexual assault"...

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.

“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.”

If it's up to several Democrats- Terry McAuliffe, Cory Booker, Kirsten Gillibrand, Elizabeth Warren, Bernie Sanders, and Kamala Harris-  who have announced, or may announce, for the Democratic nomination for President- the facts probably will not come out.

All those Democrats, as well as at least five Democratic US Representatives, have called on the Lieutenant Governor to resign.  And they are all wrong.

If the charges against Fairfax are as they seem and the pleas for him to resign are legitimate (reasonable), they are sufficientlyserious to warrant an investigation.

That investigation should have been conducted 18-19 years when the alleged violent crimes took place. Unfortunately, the attack never was reported- or so it seems, in the absence of any reporting to the contrary- and the people of North Carolina (in Tyson's case, Massachusetts) thereby were denied the inquiry they deserved.

McAuliffe, the immediate ex-governor of Virginia, recognizes the charges as "serious" and as "credible."Yet, when a defendant is charged with a crime, a grand jury indicts the individual- thereby concluding the serious charge is credible- and he is not automatically punished or penalized, instead given an opportunity to go to trial or to negotiate a plea. A lieutenant governor should be given similar consideration.

Notwithstanding the statement of public officials that Justin Fairfax must not wait for the civil equivalent of indictment but instead resign immediately, there must be a prompt and thorough investigation. That might benefit Fairfax, whose political career (and more) will otherwise have been unjustly destroyed if the accusations are invalid. If they are largely accurate, however, the two women who maintain they were sexually assaulted deserve complete vindication.

The behavior alleged is dreadful and appalling. However, in a democratic republic, we do not lightly overturn the will of the people. That includes those in the state of Virginia, whom Fairfax serve, and the  voters of Virginia, who elected him. All deserve assurance that the truth has been sought and as much as possible, determined.

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