Fairfax Accuser Told Friends She Was Raped by Corey Maggette
The woman who has accused Virginia’s lieutenant governor, Justin E. Fairfax, of raping her said that a former N.B.A. player, Corey Maggette, raped her at Duke University 20 years ago and that school officials did not pursue the claim, according to a childhood friend of the woman and Facebook messages the woman exchanged with another friend.
Mr. Maggette, who attended Duke for one year, 1998-99, and reached the national championship game, played in the N.B.A. until 2013 and has since worked as a television analyst for Fox Sports.
Mr. Maggette denied the accusation through a spokesman Monday evening. “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,” Mr. Maggette said in a statement. “I have never sexually assaulted anyone in my life and I completely and categorically deny any such charge.”
A spokeswoman for Fox Sports West, where Mr. Maggette is a basketball analyst, said in an email, “Fox Sports takes allegations of misconduct seriously, and we are looking into the matter. We have no further comment at this time.”
Nancy Erika Smith, the lawyer for the woman who accused Mr. Maggette and Mr. Fairfax, Meredith Watson, said in a statement Friday that Ms. Watson had been raped by a Duke basketball player during her sophomore year but did not name the player. Ms. Smith also said that Ms. Watson had reported her rape to an unspecified dean at the university, but that the dean had “discouraged her from pursuing the claim further.”
Duke has acknowledged it is investigating an allegation that a player raped the woman, but a spokesman for the university declined to comment on the identity of the player or the assertion that the university failed to act on the accusation.
“We are in the process of gathering information to determine what policies and procedures were in place during the time period in which these events are alleged to have occurred, and whether they were activated and followed,” said Michael Schoenfeld, a spokesman for Duke. “We are not able to provide further information or comment on any individual at this time.”
Years before Ms. Watson came forward as the second woman to publicly accuse Mr. Fairfax of sexual assault, inflaming a political crisis in Virginia, she told multiple friends that she had been raped by Mr. Maggette, according to one of those friends and Facebook messages exchanged with another.
R. Stanton Jones, a partner at the law firm Arnold & Porter in Washington who grew up with Ms. Watson in Baltimore, said she told him that she had been raped by Mr. Maggette. She told Mr. Jones about it while he and Ms. Watson were both home for the summer in 2001, he said.
“Meredith told me she had been raped twice at Duke,” Mr. Jones said. “And she told me that one of the men who raped her was the Duke basketball player Corey Maggette. That was a name I knew because I’m a basketball fan.”
Mr. Jones, who did not attend Duke, said he had not had much contact with Ms. Watson in the last decade “other than occasionally liking a Facebook post.” He said he was coming forward now because it “seemed like the right thing to do.”
The longtime coach of Duke’s men’s basketball team, Mike Krzyzewski, said after his team’s victory against Virginia on Saturday night that he had “no knowledge” of the situation and that he had learned of it only from news media reports Friday.
Karen Kessler, a spokeswoman for Ms. Watson, provided The New York Times with a Facebook message exchange between Ms. Watson and a friend from March 2017. Ms. Kessler declined to identify the friend, whose name was blacked out in the messages, and The Times was unable to independently verify the authenticity of the messages.
In the messages, Ms. Watson expressed disgust at a newspaper article written about Mr. Fairfax, who had already announced his bid for lieutenant governor. After the friend asked Ms. Watson whether she had reported the rape, Ms. Watson responded: “You know I didn’t report it after how the university responded when I reported Corey Maggette.”
Ms. Kessler said that after being discouraged by the dean, Ms. Watson decided not to report her accusation to the police.
Mr. Krzyzewski — who is in his 39th season coaching the Blue Devils and is college basketball’s leader in wins — and Duke have held themselves up not only as consummate winners but as moral exemplars.
No Duke player under Mr. Krzyzewski was kicked off the team early until 2015, when a player was dismissed for unspecified struggles to meet “necessary obligations.” The university’s student newspaper, the Duke Chronicle, reported that the player, Rasheed Sulaimon, had been accused of sexual assault by two students, allegations the athletics department had been aware of as early as 10 months before terminating his participation with the team. (Sulaimon was not charged, and later played for Maryland.)
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