The Democrats in Virginia are getting pounded from all sides this week with photos surfacing of its members in blackface. Now, a member of the party is facing criticism for knowledge of, and lack of action regarding a sexual assault allegation against current Lieutenant Governor Justin Fairfax happening at the party’s national convention fifteen years past.
ABC News reports that Rep. Bobby Scott (D-VA) was made aware of the allegations directly from Fairfax’s accuser, Dr. Vanessa Tyson, “who on Wednesday released a statement detailing the alleged 2004 assault, which took place at the Democratic National Convention in Boston.”
“Allegations of sexual assault need to be taken seriously,” Scott said in a statement to ABC News. “I have known Professor Tyson for approximately a decade and she is a friend. She deserves the opportunity to have her story heard.”
Dr. Tyson’s statement includes the following:
I met Mr. Fairfax on July 26, 2004, when he and I were working at the Convention. We struck up a conversation on the first day of the Convention and soon realized we had a mutual friend. We crossed paths occasionally during the first two days and our interactions were cordial, but not flirtatious. We commiserated about our long work hours, and on the afternoon of the third day of the Convention, July 28, 2004, Mr. Fairfax suggested that I get some fresh air by accompanying him on a quick errand to retrieve documents from his room in a nearby hotel. Given our interactions up to that time, I had no reason to feel threatened and agreed to walk with him to his hotel. I stood in the entryway of the room and after he located the documents, he walked over and kissed me. Although surprised by his advance, it was not unwelcome and I kissed him back. He then took my hand and pulled me towards the bed. I was fully clothed in a pantsuit and had no intention of taking my clothes off or engaging in sexual activity. In the back of my mind, I also knew I needed to return to Convention headquarters.
What began as consensual kissing quickly turned into a sexual assault. Mr. Fairfax 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 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.
That is an awful lot of detail. Dr. Tyson has retained counsel at this point since she is accusing the man who may well become the next governor of Virginia of a felony, she’s going to need help.