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Virginia Lt. Governor Justin Fairfax’s Accuser: Consensual Kissing ‘Quickly Turned Into a Sexual Assault’

Vanessa Tyson, the woman who has accused Virginia Lieutenant Governor Justin Fairfax of sexually assaulting her at the 2004 Democratic National Convention, released a statement Wednesday outlining her allegations. The statement, reportedly distributed by the same law firm that represented Christine Blasey Ford, alleged that Tyson met Fairfax on July 26 of that year. Tyson stated the two realized they had a mutual friend and had “cordial” interactions in the days following. She then claims Fairfax asked her to walk to his hotel room, where he kissed her while she waited for him by his door. “Although surprised from his advance, it was not unwelcome and I kissed him back,” Tyson wrote, further describing that Fairfax then led her to the bed and continued kissing her. “What began as consensual kissing turned into sexual assault,” she stated. “Mr. Fairfax put his hand behind my neck and forcefully pushed my head towards his crotch... Utterly shocked and terrified, I tried to move my head away, but could not[.]” Tyson then described how she “cried and gagged” when Fairfax allegedly “forced” her to perform oral sex on him.

Tyson wrote that she never spoke to Fairfax again after the incident, and said she felt “deep humiliation and shame”—causing her to not speak about it “for years.” Once she saw that Fairfax was running for lieutenant governor of Virginia, she said the news “hit [her] like a ton of bricks,” and she proceeded to tell close friends who lived in Virginia about the assault. Fairfax responded to the letter later Tuesday, claiming he has “never done anything like what [Tyson] suggests.” He also reportedly retained the law firm used by Supreme Court Justice Brett Kavanaugh during his confirmation hearing process when facing sexual-assault allegations from Blasey Ford.