Virginia lieutenant governor on sexual assault allegations: ‘The interactions were consensual’


Virginia's embattled governor insisted he will not resign over a racist yearbook photo, but he said the state's lieutenant governor would have to step aside if sexual assault allegations against him are found to be true.

Senior Democrats have already called on him to resign, including Hillary Clinton, Joe Biden, Alexandria Ocasio-Cortez, Tim Kaine and Elizabeth Warren. He said the latest accusation, that he had raped a fellow student at Duke University in 2000, was "demonstrably false" and declared he would not step down. She said Northam, who has nearly three years left in his gubernatorial term, could not be an effective leader with the controversy hanging over him.

"I don't know what the attorney general was thinking, what his perception was of race, of the use of blackface back then", Northam said.

The allegations come amid the racism controversies that have embroiled the Governor of Virginia Ralph Northam and the state's Attorney General Mark Herring. And that possibility has tested Democrats' resolve to show zero tolerance for sexual misconduct and racial bigotry.

"I think there was an allegation made, right?" Northam had later acknowledged he wore blackface at a separate event in the 1980s, dressing up as Michael Jackson for a dance contest.

Watch the complete interview Monday starting at 7 a.m. "CBS This Morning".

Gregory Howard, interim dean of theology at Richmond's historically black Virginia Union University, says there's still another point not to miss when thinking about the apologies offered by Northam and Herring.

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Fairfax denied the allegation and said in a statement: "I will not resign".

"I have learned from this", he said.

One Virginia state legislator, Democrat Patrick Hope, said he's planning to introduce articles of impeachment against Fairfax if he doesn't resign.

"Sexual assault is never acceptable", his statement said. He said Saturday he heard from Tyson after their encounter and he knew Watson after their encounter, and he said neither ever "said or otherwise indicated that our interaction was not consensual or caused her any discomfort".

In response to Fairfax's denials, Meredith Watson's lawyer released a statement claiming she was also raped by a basketball player and, when she reported the attack to a school administrator, received no assistance.

"At this time, Ms. Watson is reluctantly coming forward out of a strong sense of civic duty and her belief that those seeking or serving in public office should be of the highest character", Smith said, according to the written statement.

In the uproar immediately following revelations last weekend about Northam's 1984 blackface appearance and a racist yearbook photo of two individuals - one in blackface and the other dressed in white robes of the Ku Klux Klan - calls for Northam's resignation quickly escalated. But he could not explain how the photo wound up there, or why he initially had taken responsibility for it. He told reporters that he's asked his Cabinet to come up with suggestions on how he can improve his commitment to eliminating racial bias within the state of Virginia, and "address issues of inequality" in various state programs.