State Watch

Fairfax accuser says consensual situation ‘quickly turned into a sexual assault’

Vanessa Tyson, a professor who has accused Virginia Lt. Gov. Justin Fairfax (D) of sexual assault, issued her first statement Wednesday detailing her allegation against him.

“What began as consensual kissing quickly turned into a sexual assault,” Tyson, a college professor from California, said in the statement. “Mr. Fairfax forced me to perform oral sex on him.” 

Tyson has accused Fairfax of sexually assaulting her at the 2004 Democratic National Convention in Boston. Fairfax has denied the accusation.{mosads}

The lieutenant governor issued a statement earlier Wednesday maintaining that his interaction with Tyson was consensual.

“At no time did she express to me any discomfort or concern about our interactions, neither during that encounter nor doing the months following it, when she stayed in touch with me, nor the past fifteen years,” Fairfax said in the statement. “She in no way indicated that anything that had happened between us made her uncomfortable.”

The governor’s office did not immediately respond to a request for comment.

Tyson contradicted Fairfax’s denial, saying, “I cannot believe, given my obvious distress, that Mr. Fairfax thought this forced sexual act was consensual. To be very clear, I did not want to engage in oral sex with Mr. Fairfax and I never gave any form of consent.”

“I suffered from both deep humiliation and shame,” Tyson said, adding that she did not tell anyone for years.

She did approach The Washington Post with her story last year, but the paper said it did not publish her story because it could not find anyone to corroborate it.

Tyson is a professor of politics at Scripps College in California, although she is on fellowship at Stanford University this year. In addition to being a professor and author, Tyson advocates for sexual assault awareness and prevention, according to the Scripps College website.

She said in her statement that the allegations are not politically motivated and that she is a “proud Democrat.”

Tyson is represented by Katz, Marshall & Banks, the same law firm that represented Christine Blasey Ford, who accused Supreme Court Justice Brett Kavanaugh of assault last year. The firm did not immediately respond to a request for comment.

The allegation against Fairfax surfaced after a photo was released Friday of Virginia Gov. Ralph Northam’s (D) medical school yearbook page that pictured a man dressed in blackface and another dressed in Ku Klux Klan robes.

Virginia Attorney General Mark Herring (D) on Wednesday also admitted to using blackface as a teenager, deepening the leadership crisis in the Commonwealth.

-Updated 3:48 p.m.

Tags Brett Kavanaugh sexual assault allegations Virginia

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