Suffolk District Attorney Rachael Rollins, Boston’s top prosecutor, has announced that she is ready to investigate the sexual assault allegations against Virginia Lt. Gov. Justin Fairfax.

Professor Vanessa Tyson claimed Fairfax assaulted her in Boston in 2004 at the DNC convention.

From The Boston Globe:

Rollins, a Democrat who took office in January, said she e-mailed a letter to lawyers for Vanessa Tyson last Thursday informing them that if Tyson wants to file a criminal complaint against Lieutenant Governor Justin Fairfax, prosecutors in Rollins’s office will investigate.

“We will help in any way we can if she chooses to come forward,” Rollins said in an interview. “We would offer any number of services starting from getting them in touch with counselors all the way, if they were so inclined, to seek prosecution.”

Rollins, who emphasized that she would provide help to any assault victim who came forward, declined to say whether Tyson’s attorneys have responded. She also declined to provide a copy of the letter, citing the confidential nature of sexual assault investigations. Rollins said she made clear in her letter that her office offers “safe, confidential, and survivor-centered” services to victims of sexual assault.

Prosecutors have until summer to press charges against Fairfax since Massachusetts has a 15 year statute of limitations for sexual assault. They “could also argue that Fairfax stopped the clock on the statute of limitations when he left the state.”

On February 6, Tyson released a statement that included the alleged sexual assault in graphic detail:

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.

Fairfax has denied the assault happened.

Tyson’s legal team “said she will cooperate with any investigation.” The Boston Globe continued:

In a letter to Virginia’s state legislative leaders on Tuesday, Tyson’s lawyers reiterated that she is “fully prepared to cooperate with any effort to investigate Lieutenant Governor Fairfax’s sexual assault of her.”

“Whether the Virginia legislature pursues impeachment or some alternative process for investigation, Dr. Tyson hopes that it creates an environment in which the victims, their witnesses, and any other individuals harmed by Lieutenant Governor Fairfax can come forward to provide information vital to any credible assessment of his character and fitness for office,” the letter states.


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