Feb 6, 2019

Vanessa Tyson details sexual assault allegation against Justin Fairfax

Vanessa Tyson, the woman who alleges Virginia Lt. Gov. Justin Fairfax sexually assaulted her in 2004, released a statement Wednesday detailing her memory of the incident and rebuking his claims that the encounter was consensual.

"I cannot believe given my obvious distress, that Mr. Fairfax thought this forced sexual act was consensual. ... After the assault, I suffered from both deep humiliation and shame."

Details: Tyson, a professor at Scripps College in Claremont, California, said Fairfax kissed her after walking back to his hotel room during the Democratic National Convention in 2004, and that while it was surprising, it was "not unwelcome" and she kissed him back. Tyson alleged that even though she "had no intention of taking [her] clothes off or engaging in sexual activity," Fairfax pulled her toward his bed and forced her to perform oral sex on him.

  • After the encounter, Tyson said she avoided Fairfax the rest of the convention. She said she did not speak of the assault for years and that she suppressed her memories.
  • In October 2017, she saw a picture of Fairfax in an article about his campaign for lieutenant governor of Virginia. "The image hit me like a ton of bricks," she said.
  • Only then did she decide to tell close friends of hers, who were voters, about the assault.

Earlier this week, Tyson hired the same law firm that represented Christine Blasey Ford for her sexual assault claims against then-Supreme Court nominee Brett Kavanaugh.

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