The university professor who has accused Virginia Lt. Gov. Justin Fairfax of sexual assault released graphic details Wednesday of the encounter at the Democratic National Convention in 2004.
Fairfax, a Democrat, contends he engaged only in “consensual sex” with Vanessa Tyson. But she charges he forced her to engage in oral sex after “consensual kissing” in his hotel room.
The claim came amid calls for Virginia Democratic Gov. Ralph Northam to resign over a racist photo on his 1984 medical school yearbook page. Fairfax would become governor if Northam steps down. But amid the lieutenant governor’s troubles, attention has turned to the No. 3 official in succession, Attorney General Mark Herring, who now has admitted he wore blackface at a college party in 1980.
Tyson’s statement was issued by the law firm now representing her, Katz, Marshall & Banks. It’s the firm that represented Supreme Court Justice Brett Kavanaugh’s chief accuser, Christine Blasey Ford.
“As I cried and gagged, Mr. Fairfax forced me to perform oral sex on him,” she wrote, CNBC reported.
“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. Quite the opposite. I consciously avoided Mr. Fairfax for the remainder of the Convention and I never spoke to him again.”
Tyson is an associate professor of politics at Scripps College in Claremont, California.
CNBC reported she accused Fairfax of engaging in a “smear campaign” against her. She noted Fairfax pointed reporters to a 2007 video in which she discussed being a victim of incest but made no mention of an attack by Fairfax.
“This, of course, is not proof that he did not assault me,” Tyson said. “His reliance on this video to say the opposite is despicable and an offense to sexual assault survivors everywhere.”
Tyson said she has been telling friends about the assault since October 2017.
“I have never wavered in my account because I am telling the truth. I have no political motive. I am a proud Democrat,” Tyson said.
Her only motive, she said, is “to refute Mr. Fairfax’s falsehoods and aspersions of my character, and to provide what I believe is important information for Virginians to have as they make critical decisions that involve Mr. Fairfax.”
CNBC reported Fairfax’s office did not immediately respond to a request for comment about Tyson’s statement. But Fairfax issued a statement earlier Wednesday urging media, his supporters and others “to treat both the woman who made this allegation and my family with respect for how painful this situation can be for everyone involved.”
“I wish her no harm or humiliation, nor do I seek to denigrate her or diminish her voice. But I cannot agree with a description of events that I know is not true,” Fairfax said.