An aide to Rep. Bobby Scott (D-VA) confirmed Wednesday that the congressman learned details of an allegation of sexual assault against Lt. Gov. Justin Fairfax (D-VA) over a year ago, according to a report.
Dr. Vanessa Tyson, the California professor who is accusing of Fairfax of sexual assault, reached out to Scott’s office by email on November 29th, saying she had an issue with the Virginia Lt. Gov. and expressed her desire to “talk about it.” The following month, Tyson detailed the assault allegation directly to Scott in a text message exchange, ABC News said.
ABC News reports:
In a text message exchange between Scott and Tyson in December 2017, she informed him that the now-lieutenant governor-elect had a “MeToo allegation,” but at the time the congressman did not know that she was the accuser, according to aides.
In late December 2017 and early January 2018, aides to Scott said he learned that it was Tyson herself who was involved in a “MeToo allegation,” concerning Fairfax. She also informed him that she had already told the Washington Post about an alleged incident involving Fairfax and that she had given the Post Scott’s name as a character witness.
When pressed by ABC News, aides said they did not know what the congressman did with that information, but that he told Tyson that he agreed to speak with the Washington Post.
Aides for Scott told ABC News they are unaware of the steps Scott took upon learning of the allegation. “Allegations of sexual assault need to be taken seriously. I have known Professor Tyson for approximately a decade and she is a friend. She deserves the opportunity to have her story heard,” Scott said in a statement to ABC News.
The Democrat congressman also faced a harassment allegation by an ex-staffer, who claimed he propositioned her for sex while working in his Washington, D.C., office as part of a Congressional Black Caucus Foundation fellowship program in 2013. Scott has denied all wrongdoing.
Tyson, through her law firm, Katz Marshall & Banks, released a lengthy statement detailing her allegation against Fairfax.
“With tremendous anguish, I am now sharing this information about my experience and setting the record straight,” the professor said. “It has been extremely difficult to relive that traumatic experience from 2004. Mr. Fairfax has tried to brand me as a liar to a national audience, in service to his political ambitions, and has threatened litigation. Given his false assertions, I’m compelled to make clear what happened.”
Tyson alleges “consensual kissing” turned into a “sexual assault,” in which the powerful Virginis Democrat forced her to “perform oral sex on him” even as she cried and tried to pull her head away.
She said the alleged incident took place during the 2004 Democrat National Convention in Boston, Massachusetts. In a statement Wednesday, Fairfax vehemently denied any wrongdoing, claiming that the interaction was consensual.
“At no time did she express to me any discomfort or concern about our interactions, neither during that encounter nor during the months following it, when she stayed in touch with me, nor the past fifteen years,” Fairfax said. “She in no way indicated that anything that had happened between us made her uncomfortable.”
In a statement Monday, the Virginia Lt. Gov. warned he would take “appropriate legal action against those attempting to spread this defamatory and false allegation.”
Virginia’s Democrat leadership is in disarray as three of the state’s leaders are mired in scandal. Gov. Ralph Northam (D-VA) faces calls to resign following the emergence of a racist photo on his 1984 medical yearbook page showing two men in blackface and Ku Klux Klan attire. Initially, Northam admitted being in the photo, then later denied that he was pictured. At a Saturday press conference, he said he wore blackface for a Michael Jackson costume as part of a dance contest in Texas. Mark Herring, Virginia’s Democrat Attorney General, admitted Wednesday that he too wore blackface during his college years.