Aides say Virginia Democrat knew about sexual assault allegation against lt. governor

The woman who has accused Virginia Lt. Gov. Justin Fairfax (D) of sexual assault informed Rep. Bobby ScottRobert (Bobby) Cortez ScottThis week: House impeachment inquiry hits crucial stretch Overnight Health Care: House to vote next week on drug prices bill | Conway says Trump trying to find 'balance' on youth vaping | US spent trillion on hospitals in 2018 House to vote next week on sweeping bill to lower drug prices MORE (D-Va.) of the incident more than a year ago, an aide told The Hill on Wednesday.

An aide to Scott told The Hill that Vanessa Tyson first reached out to the congressman in October 2017 to express concerns about Fairfax, who was then a candidate for lieutenant governor.

Tyson sent another message to the congressman that November expressing a desire to speak with Scott about the issue, an aide said.

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According to the aide, Tyson informed Scott in December 2017 that Fairfax was involved in a "MeToo" moment, but that it was not until late December 2017 or early January 2018 that the congressman learned Tyson was the woman alleged to have been involved. Fairfax was inaugurated in January 2018.

An aide to the congressman told The Hill that Scott knew generally about the accusations roughly a year ago, but that he learned the details of the alleged encounter between Tyson and Fairfax when they emerged this week.

ABC News first reported that aides to Scott said the congressman was aware of the allegations.

"Allegations of sexual assault need to be taken seriously," Scott said in a statement to ABC. "I have known Professor Tyson for approximately a decade and she is a friend. She deserves the opportunity to have her story heard.” 

ABC noted that Scott has previously been accused of sexual harassment by a former aide. He has denied the allegations.

The allegations against Fairfax garnered national attention on Monday when the lieutenant governor denied a sexual assault allegation published on a conservative website.

Tyson came forward on Wednesday to allege that the two had been consensually kissing during a 2004 encounter, but that Fairfax then forced her to perform oral sex.

Fairfax has continued to deny the allegations, but both sides have retained legal counsel.

The allegations against the lieutenant governor emerged just days after Gov. Ralph Northam (D) was embroiled in controversy over a racist photo that surfaced from his medical school yearbook page.

— Updated 10:24 p.m.