Vanessa Tyson, the woman who has accused Virginia Lt. Gov. Justin Fairfax of sexually assaulting her in 2004, released a statement on Wednesday detailing her allegations.
“I cannot believe, given my obvious distress, that Mr. Fairfax thought this forced sexual act was consensual,” Tyson, who is now a professor at Scripps College, wrote as she outlined her encounter with Fairfax during the 2015 Democratic National Convention in Boston.
“After the assault, I suffered from both deep humiliation and shame,” she continued. “I did not speak about it for years, and I (like most survivors) suppressed those memories and emotions as necessary means to continue my studies, and to pursue my goal of building a successful career as an academic.”
Fairfax is second in line to become governor if Gov. Ralph Northam resigns amid a separate scandal involving a photo from Northam’s medical school yearbook identifying the governor in a photo of a pair of men in which one is wearing blackface and the other is wearing a KKK hood. Fairfax has denied Tyson’s claims, which were first reported Sunday on the same far-right news site that first exposed Northam’s racist photo just days before.
In a news conference Monday, Fairfax suggested that he was the victim of a conservative smear campaign. “Does anybody believe that’s a coincidence?” he asked. “I don’t believe anybody believes that it’s any coincidence that on the eve of my potentially being elevated, that that’s when this uncorroborated smear comes out.”
You can read Tyson’s statement in full below. She is being represented by Katz, Marshall & Banks, the same legal team hired by Christine Blasey Ford.