Sexual Assault Accuser: ‘Fairfax Forced Me to Perform Oral Sex on Him’

Virginia Lt. Gov. Justin Fairfax (Logan Cyrus/AFP/Getty Images)

Vanessa Tyson, Virginia Lt. Gov. Justin Fairfax's accuser in a sexual assault claim from 15 years ago, has come forward with a statement outlining the details of how she says Fairfax forced her to perform non-consensual oral sex on him.

Tyson said she met Fairfax at the 2004 Democratic National Convention on July 26, 2004. Their initial interactions were "cordial, but not flirtatious," but according to Tyson, matters changed on July 28, when Fairfax invited her to "get some fresh air" by coming back to his hotel room to pick up some documents. Once inside the room, Tyson recalled that "he walked over and kissed me."

"Although surprised by his advance, it was not unwelcome and I kissed him back," Tyson said. "He then took my hand and pulled me towards the bed."

As Tyson pulled her to the bed, Tyson recalled thinking she had "no intention of taking my clothes off or engaging in sexual activity" and that she needed to return to the Convention. She described what happened next as sexual assault:

What began as consensual kissing quickly turned into a sexual assault. Mr. Fairfax put his hand behind my neck and forcefully pushed my head toward 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 was much stronger than me. As I cried and gagged, Mr. Fairfax forced me to perform oral sex on him.

Tyson added that she "cannot believe" Fairfax would think the 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," she said. "Quite the opposite. I consciously avoided Mr. Fairfax for the remainder of the Convention and I never spoke to him again."

Tyson concluded that she "suppressed" memory of the traumatic experience for many years, until she saw a picture of Fairfax in October 2017 profiling his political campaign.  Tyson is now an associate professor of politics at Scripps College in Claremont, California. She is the author of Twists of Fate: Multiracial Coalitions and Minority Representation in the US House of Representatives.

Fairfax has denied the allegations, calling it a "consensual encounter." He took a more candid tone in private meeting on Monday, saying of Tyson, "Fuck that bitch," according to sources who spoke to NBC News. Fairfax’s chief of staff and policy director lated acknowledged their boss "used the ‘F' word to refer to the situation, but dispute that he used the ‘B' word at all or used any heated language directed toward Vanessa Tyson," according to NBC correspondent Kasie Hunt.

The Democratic Party of Virginia released a statement regarding Fairfax on Tuesday, saying Tyson's allegation should be taken "with profound gravity." In another statement, Democratic members of Virginia's House of Delegates and Senate said, "The facts here are still being determined. Every individual deserves the opportunity to be heard, and we respect anyone who comes forward to share their story."