The independent news organization of Duke University

Fairfax accuser said she was raped by Duke men's basketball player Corey Maggette

<p>Chronicle File Photo | Corey Maggette (1998)</p>

Chronicle File Photo | Corey Maggette (1998)

Meredith Watson recently accused Virginia Lieutenant Governor Justin Fairfax, Trinity ‘00, of sexually assaulting her. Watson, Trinity ‘01, also said that she had been raped by a men’s basketball player while at Duke.

The New York Times reported Monday night that the previously unnamed basketball player is Corey Maggette, who played for Duke from 1998-99. Maggette said in a statement he had only learned about the sexual assault allegations through media accounts and a statement from Meredith Watson’s lawyer.

“I have never sexually assaulted anyone in my life and I completely and categorically deny any such charge,” Maggette said in a statement reported by The New York Times.

The New York Times reported that Watson had told friends that Maggette raped her when they were students 20 years ago. According to a statement released by Watson’s legal representative Friday night, Watson said she had been raped by an unnamed Duke basketball player during her sophomore year, and claimed that she told Fairfax about the assault. 

"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," the Friday statement said. "Ms. Watson also told friends, including Justin Fairfax.”

In an email Monday night, The Chronicle asked Michael Schoenfeld, vice president for public affairs and government relations, for comment about the accusation against Maggette and the allegation that a dean had discouraged Watson from pursuing the claim. 

“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,” Schoenfeld responded. “We are not able to provide further information or comment on any individual at this time.”

The New York Times reported that Watson told a childhood friend in 2001 that she had been raped by Maggette. 

“Meredith told me she had been raped twice at Duke,” R. Stanton Jones, partner at Arnold & Porter law firm, told the New York Times. “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.”

Jones told the New York Times that he was coming forward now because it “seemed like the right thing to do.”

A spokeswoman for Watson provided the New York Times with a Facebook message exchange between a friend and Watson. The New York Times was not able to independently verify its authenticity. 

In the unverified messages, Watson expressed disgust about a news article written about Fairfax in the messages from March 2017, The New York Times reported.

“You know I didn’t report [the assault] after how the university responded when I reported Corey Maggette,” Watson reportedly told the friend in the message.

After Duke men’s basketball’s win against Virginia Saturday, the team released the following statement from athletic director Kevin White: “Duke first learned of the allegations involving a student-athlete [Friday] when they were reported by the media. Coach [Mike] Krzyzewski confirms he had no knowledge of the alleged conduct from 1999. The university is looking into the matter and will have no further comment at this time.”

Krzyzewski commented on the issue after the victory.

“I’m not sure that it’s true or not, but there’s an allegation. I didn’t find out about it until late last night, and I have no knowledge about it,” Krzyzewski said in the postgame press conference. “That is hugely important. Our University will take care of whatever actions and give whatever information that’s needed to be done...something like that is serious. Our school looks at it that way and we’ll do whatever we can to make sure that we answer whatever questions are posed to us.”

During his lone season at Duke, Maggette was a key reserve in the Blue Devils’ run to the 1999 National Championship game, where they fell to Connecticut 77-74. Maggette declared for the 1999 NBA Draft following the season and was selected by the Seattle Supersonics with the 13th pick.

According to previous reporting by The Chronicle of his announcement, Maggette declared for the draft against the counsel of Krzyzewski, several family members and basketball legend Michael Jordan. 

Maggette’s time as a Blue Devil resurfaced in the news in June 2000 when Maggette admitted that he accepted $2,000 in the the form of cash payments and expense money in 1997 from high school summer league coach Myron Piggie, according to previous reporting by The Chronicle. 

Maggette is currently an analyst at Fox Sports. A spokeswoman for Fox Sports West told The New York Times that they take the allegations seriously and are looking into the issue.

Watson was the second woman to accuse Fairfax of sexually assaulting her. Following the “deeply disturbing” allegations, Duke asked Fairfax to step down from the Sanford School of Public Policy’s Board of Visitors and removed his name from the website until the allegations are resolved, Schoenfeld said last Friday afternoon. 

Fairfax has denied the accusations.

“I deny this latest unsubstantiated allegation,” Fairfax said in a statement reported by the Washington Post Friday afternoon. “It is demonstrably false. I have never forced myself on anyone ever.”

Correction: An earlier version of this story misstated that Watson was the second woman to accuse Fairfax of raping her, and it has been updated to reflect she was the second woman to accuse him of sexual assault. The Chronicle regrets the error.