The New York Times reported tonight that Meredith Watson, the woman who has said she was raped by Virginia Lt. Gov. Justin Fairfax when they were students at Duke, told two friends that she also was raped by former NBA player Corey Maggette while they were at the university. One discussion was with a friend while they were home for the summer in 2001, the Times reported. The second was in a series of Facebook messages with another friend; copies of the messages were provided to the Times by a spokeswoman for Watson.
Watson is the second woman to accused Fairfax of sexual assault; Vanessa Tyson has said that Fairfax sexually assaulted her at the 2004 Democratic National Convention. Fairfax has repeatedly denied both the women’s accusations, saying in his own statement that “the interactions were consensual.”
Maggette played for Duke for one season, from 1998-1999, before moving to the NBA. Maggette denied sexually assaulting anyone in a statement he released through a spokesman to the Times, which read: “It has only been through media accounts and a statement from Meredith Watson’s lawyer that I first learned or heard of anything about these sexual assault allegations. I have never sexually assaulted anyone in my life and I completely and categorically deny any such charge.”
Watson first spoke out last week. In a statement released Friday through her lawyer, Nancy Erika Smith, Watson said that Fairfax had raped her while in college in an attack that was “premeditated and aggressive.” Fairfax denied it, saying in a statement that any sex with Watson was consensual and that a “smear campaign is being orchestrated against me.”
In response, Smith released a second statement. From that press release:
Ms. Watson was raped by a basketball player during her sophomore year at Duke. She went to the Dean, who provided no help and discouraged her from pursuing the claim further. Ms. Watson also told friends, including Justin Fairfax. Mr. Fairfax then used this prior assault against Ms. Watson, as he explained to her during the only encounter she had with him after the rape. She left a campus party when he arrived, and he followed her out. She turned and asked: “Why did you do it?” Mr. Fairfax answered: “I knew that because of what happened to you last year, you’d be too afraid to say anything.”
In the Times story published tonight, attorney R. Stanton Jones said that he had grown up with Watson in Baltimore and one summer, when they both were home from classes, she told him that she had been raped twice while at Duke. One of the men she named was Maggette, Jones said, adding, “That was a name I knew because I’m a basketball fan.” The second confirmation of Watson’s account, as reported by the Times, was a chat with a friend via Facebook. The chat messages, as provided to the newspaper, had the friend’s name blacked out, and the Times wrote that it “was unable to independently verify the authenticity of the messages.”
The messages were dated from after Fairfax had announced his run for lieutenant governor of the commonwealth, and the anonymous friend asked Watson if she had reported what had happened at Duke. In the messages, Watson wrote back, “You know I didn’t report it after how the university responded when I reported Corey Maggette.”
Duke basketball coach Mike Krzyzewski previously told reporters that he didn’t know about the accusation until recent reports. In a statement, the university said it was investigating what had happened.