This post was last updated on February 18th, 2019 at 06:58 am
Lieutenant governor Justin Fairfax is in line to become the new Governor of Virginia, but he is facing sexual assault allegations.
Following the pressure for the resignation of Gov. Ralph Northam over a racist picture that recently surfaced from his 1984 medical yearbook page, Fairfax is likely to become the next governor.
On February 3, the first sexual allegation against Justin Fairfax arose, when Patrick Howley of the Big League Politics portal reported that Vanessa Tyson, a professor of Political Science at Scripps College was sexually assaulted in 2004 by a campaign staffer, who is now up for a very big promotion in politics.
Howley was the first to obtain the yearbook photo of Northam, after which he noted that Justin Fairfax was a campaign staffer for presidential candidate John Kerry back in 2004, and that he is now poised to be become the governor or Virginia.
Tyson had on Wednesday released a statement giving details of her allegation. “What began as consensual kissing quickly turned into a sexual assault,” she wrote. “As I cried and gagged, Mr. Fairfax forced me to perform oral sex on him.”
Another woman named Meredith Watson had on February 8, issued a statement through her attorney claiming that Justin Fairfax raped her in 2000, when they were both students at Duke.
Both the allegations were fiercely denied by Justin Fairfax. “I have never forced myself on anyone ever,” he said in a statement to the Washington Post on Friday.
These allegations came at a time when there is chaos in Virginia, as Northam is faced with calls to resign after his racist photo surfaced and a “disastrous press conference” in which he attempted to address it on Friday. He reportedly told the staff that he would not resign. This further stresses the fact that accusations of sexual assaults are not confined to only one political party.
Justin Fairfax, 39, is the second black person to have won a state-wide election in Virginia. He gained greater attention over the weekend when the scandal engulfed Northam. Virginia Democrats and others have praised his charisma and effective politicking. Notable politicians like Sen. Bernie Sanders had called for him to become governor of the state.
Then the allegation surfaced.
“Imagine you were sexually assaulted during the DNC convention in Boston in 2004 by a campaign staffer,” reads the Big League Politics report in a private post online by Tyson. “You spend the next 13 years trying to forget it ever happened. Until one day you find out he’s the Democratic candidate for statewide office in a state 3,000 miles away, and he wins that election in November 2017. Then by strange, horrible luck, it seems increasingly likely that he’ll get a VERY BIG promotion.”
In a statement on Monday, Justin Fairfax said that “the person reported to be making this false allegation” had approached the Washington Post around the time of Justin Fairfax’s inauguration in 2018. “The Post carefully investigated the claim for several months,” the statement says. “After being presented with facts consistent with the Lt. Governor’s denial of the allegation, the absence of any evidence corroborating the allegation, and significant red flags and inconsistencies within the allegation, the Post made the considered decision not to publish the story.”
Meanwhile, reporting about the newspaper’s investigation into the 2004 incident, Theresa Vargas of the Washington Post reported on Monday that:
“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.”
According to Vargas, the Post did not find “significant red flags and inconsistencies within the allegations,” as Fairfax’s statement claimed.
Justin Fairfax’s office released a follow-up statement on Monday afternoon in response to the article. “The Washington Post, acknowledging it had no corroboration, just smeared an elected official,” the statement said. “We reiterate that this allegation is false.”