It began as a surprise but not unwelcome kiss, but quickly turned into rape, Dr. Vanessa Tyson alleges.
In a statement that comes days after Heavy reported that Tyson was the woman behind a sexual assault accusation against Virginia Lt. Gov. Justin Fairfax, Tyson now describes in explicit detail what she said occurred in Boston in 2004, when she and Fairfax were working at the Democratic National Convention.
Read the full statement here:
Fairfax has vehemently denied he sexually assaulted Tyson, called her claim against him “false” and said she was not credible.
He claims it was a “consensual encounter.” But what she describes is the definition of rape. The She describes as violent rape. In Massachusetts, where the alleged assault took place, state law defines rape as penetration by force including “unnatural sexual intercourse,” meaning anal or oral. In Massachusetts, the statute of limitations for criminal cases of rape is 15 years. The statute on civil cases is 35 years. The incident accused in July of 2004.
Tyson writes that when she read Fairfax could become Virginia’s governor if Gov. Ralph Northam resigned following accusations of racism – something the governor has refused to do – the “news flooded me with painful memories, bringing back feelings of grief, shame, and anger that stemmed from an incident with Mr. Fairfax that occurred in July 2004 during the Democratic National Convention in Boston.”
Tyson says both she and Fairfax were working at the DNC convention, met, had a mutual friend and were “cordial, but not flirtatious.” She said the two went to his hotel so he could retrieve documents and as she followed him to his room, she said she “had no reason to feel threatened.” She recalled that she was standing in the doorway when Fairfax kissed her.
Then, she says Fairfax “took my hand and pulled me towards the bed. I was fully clothed in a pants suit and had no intention of taking my clothes off or engaging in sexual activity.”
Her account of what occurred next is graphic and explicit.
“He put his hand behind my neck and forcefully pushed my head towards his crotch. Only then did I realize that he had unbuckled his
belt, unzipped his pants, and taken out his penis. He then forced his penis into my mouth. Utterly shocked and terrified, I tried to move my head away but could not because his hand was holding down my neck and he was much stronger than me. As I cried and gagged, Mr. Fairfax forced me to perform oral sex on him. I can not 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. I never gave any form of consent. Quite the opposite.”
Tyson said she was humiliated and ashamed and did not speak of the alleged assault. Many years later, she saw a news story about Fairfax, who was running for lieutenant governor. Seeing his picture “hit me like a ton of bricks, triggering buried traumatic memories and the feelings of humiliation I’d felt so intensely back in 2004.”
She brought her story to The Washington Post but the paper declined to run it: “After The Washington Post decided in March 2018 not to run my story, I felt powerless, frustrated, and completely drained.”
When she saw that Fairfax might be installed as governor, she hired the lawyer who represented Brett Kavanaugh accuser Dr. Christine Blasey Ford, Debra Katz of the Washington, D.C.-area firm Katz, Marshall and Banks.
“On Friday, February 1, 2019, as stories appeared in the media suggesting that Governor Northam would have to resign and that Mr. Fairfax would be sworn in as Governor, I felt a jarring sense of both outrage and despair,” she said. “That night I vented my frustration on Facebook in a message that I wrote as a private post. I did not identify Lt. Governor Fairfax by name but stated that it seemed inevitable that the campaign staffer who assaulted me during the Democratic Convention in 2004 was about to get a big promotion. It was not my intention in that moment to inject myself into what has become a much larger political battle.”
She was hesitant, she says because she was aware she’d “immediately face accusations about my motives and be branded a liar, as is routinely the case when women come forward with allegations of sexual misconduct against prominent men.”
Fairfax said he was cleared given the Washington Post declined to do the story. Tyson said that assertion “was deceitful, offensive, and profoundly upsetting. He has continued a smear campaign by pointing reporters to a 2007 educational video in which I talked about being the victim of incest and molestation. In that video, I did not talk about being assaulted by Mr. Fairfax. This, of course, is not proof that he did not assault me. His reliance on this video to say the opposite is despicable and an offense to sexual assault survivors everywhere.”
The National Organization for Women has called on Fairfax to resign.
But Fairfax has again denied the allegation and said reading her statement was “painful.”
Tyson, a “proud Democrat,” says she has no political agenda.
“Given his false assertions, I’m compelled to make clear what happened. I very much wish to resume my life as an academic and professor. I do not want to get further embroiled in this highly charged political environment. This is the only statement I and my legal team will be making.”