Vanessa Tyson, the woman who has accused Virginia Lt. Gov. Justin Fairfax (D) of sexual assault, provided her version of details about an alleged encounter Wednesday just hours after Fairfax acknowledged having had what he said was a consensual encounter with Tyson.
In a statement released by her lawyers, Tyson described striking up a friendship with Fairfax during the 2004 Democratic National Convention and joining him when he asked her to go with him to pick up some documents from his hotel. Tyson said she remembered standing in the doorway of his room, waiting for him to finish retrieving the documents, and that Fairfax suddenly began kissing her.
“Although I was surprised by his advance, it was not unwelcome and I kissed him back,” Tyson said. “He then took my hand and pulled me toward the bed… What began as consensual kissing quickly turned into sexual assault.”
Tyson claimed Fairfax then took her by the neck and pushed her head toward his crotch, allegedly forcing his penis into her mouth. Though she tried to move away, Tyson said Fairfax was much stronger than her and she was unable to move.
“I cannot believe, given my obvious distress, that Mr. Fairfax thought this forced act was consensual,” Tyson said, claiming she had “cried and gagged” throughout the alleged assault. “To be very clear, I did not want to engage in oral sex with Mr. Fairfax and I never gave any form of consent.”
Statement of Dr. Vanessa Tyson, who has accused Lt. Gov. Justin Fairfax of sexual assault in 2004:
“What began as consensual kissing quickly turned into a sexual assault.” pic.twitter.com/UI9Gz11DWj
— Sarah McCammon (@sarahmccammon) February 6, 2019
Following the alleged assault, Tyson said she “suffered from both deep humiliation and shame” and did not speak about the incident for years until she learned in 2017 that Fairfax was running for lieutenant governor. Only then, she said, did she say she told some of her friends who were Virginia voters about the incident.
Tyson concluded her statement by saying that she had no political motive for coming forward. “I am a proud Democrat,” she wrote. Fairfax also is a Democrat. Tyson said she would not be releasing any further statements about the incident.
Tyson is currently represented by Katz, Marshall and Banks, the same law firm that represented Christine Blasey Ford, who who testified last year that Brett Kavanaugh, now a Supreme Court justice, attempted to assault her when the two were in high school.
Tyson’s statement Wednesday came after Fairfax released a statement of his own.
“Regarding the allegation that has been made against me — while this allegation has been both surprising and hurtful, I also recognize that no one makes charges of this kind lightly, and I take it and this situation very seriously,” he said.
Fairfax said he and Tyson had a “consensual encounter” 15 years earlier and that, at the time, she did not express any “discomfort or concern” about the interaction.
“The first indication I had that she felt that anything [that] happened between us…made her uncomfortable was when I was contacted by a national media organization shortly before my inauguration in 2018,” he said.
NEW: Virginia Lt Gov Justin Fairfax released a new statement about the sexual assault allegations against him pic.twitter.com/vNGNVvW0wO
— Laura Litvan (@LauraLitvan) February 6, 2019
Fairfax recently shot into the national spotlight after a racist photo of Virginia Gov. Ralph Northam (D) resurfaced last Friday. The photo, on a page dedicated to Northam in his medical school yearbook, showed two men, one in blackface and another in a Ku Klux Klan robe and hood.
Northam initially apologized, saying he did not remember the offensive photo, but later walked back his remarks, claiming he was not either of the men in the photo and that there had been a mix-up. Despite pressure from leaders of his own party, Northam has repeatedly refused to resign.
Virginia Attorney General Mark Herring was also criticized Wednesday after saying he, too, had worn blackface during an incident in college, but said it was a “onetime” ordeal.