Virginia has another scandal on its hands after Governor Ralph Northam endorsed infanticide and faces calls to resign over a racist photo in his medical school yearbook.

Lt. Gov. Justin Fairfax would succeed Northam if he resigns, but sexual assault allegations from 2004 has surfaced again.

The Accuser

The alleged victim is Vanessa Tyson, a professor at Scripps College and a fellow at Stanford University. She claims the assault took place at the DNC Convention in 2004.

Big League Politics first reported the allegations. It’s the same website that first posted about Northam’s racist photo.

The Denial

Fairtfax denied the allegations in a tweet he sent out at 3AM:

More from Politico:

In a news conference Monday in Richmond, Fairfax said he wasn’t sure why the accusations had resurfaced, but he said the timing was was suspect.

“Does anybody think it’s any coincidence that on the eve of potentially my being elevated that that’s when this uncorroborated smear comes out?” he asked. “Does anybody believe that’s a coincidence? I don’t think anybody believes that’s a coincidence, again, particularly with something — this is not the first time this was brought up.”

He asserted that the Post investigated the account for three months before it “dropped the story” because it was uncorroborated.

“It’s uncorroborated because it’s not true,” he said, adding that “you don’t have to be cynical, you don’t have to understand politics to understand when someone is trying to manipulate a process to harm someone’s character without any basis.”

The Story

It turns out that Tyson told The Washington Post and WUSA9 about the alleged assault, but neither outlet published anything about it because they could not corroborate her story.

WaPo explained what the newspaper knew and why it turned down the story:

The woman approached The Post after Fairfax won election in November 2017 and before he was inaugurated in January 2018 inauguration, saying she felt like she had an obligation to speak out.

The woman and Fairfax first met in Boston at the 2004 Democratic national convention.

During a conversation, the two realized they had a mutual friend. It was that commonality, she recalled, that put her at ease enough that on the afternoon Fairfax asked her to walk with him to his hotel room to pick up some papers, she thought nothing of joining him.

Fairfax and the woman told different versions of what happened in the hotel room with no one else present. The Washington Post could not find anyone who could corroborate either version. The Post did not find “significant red flags and inconsistencies within the allegations,” as the Fairfax statement incorrectly said.

Fairfax (D), who was not married at the time, has denied her account through his attorneys and described the encounter as consensual.

The woman described a sexual encounter that began with consensual kissing and ended with a forced act that left her crying and shaken. She said Fairfax guided her to the bed, where they continued kissing, and then at one point she realized she could not move her neck. She said Fairfax used his strength to force her to perform oral sex.

The Washington Post, in phone calls to people who knew Fairfax from college, law school and through political circles, found no similar complaints of sexual misconduct against him. Without that, or the ability to corroborate the woman’s account — in part because she had not told anyone what happened — The Washington Post did not run a story.

She said she never told anyone about what happened at the time or in the years that followed until shortly before she approached The Post.


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