NEW: Justin Fairfax Accusers Vanessa Tyson and Meredith Watson to Testify Before Virginia House Committee
Virginia Lt. Governor Justin Fairfax
A Virginia Republican announced Friday that two of Lt. Gov. Justin Fairfax’s accusers will testify to the state’s judiciary committee in April when the legislature is back in session.
Dr. Vanessa Tyson, one of Justin Fairfax’s accusers, blasted the Virginia General Assembly in a statement Thursday for their failure to act regarding her allegations of sexual assault against the Lt. Governor.
While lawmakers in both parties have responded with words of concern, they have utterly failed to act and have stood idly by as Lt. Governor Fairfax has impugned Dr. Tyson’s actions as being politically motivated; verbally attacked Dr. Tyson and Ms. Watson; [and] threatened to file criminal charges against Dr. Tyson if she pursues criminal charges against him. … It now appears that the Virginia General Assembly lacks the political courage to establish a process by which Dr. Tyson and Ms. Watson’s serious allegations of sexual violence suffered at the hands of Lt. Governor Fairfax will be fully investigated. We ask the members of the Virginia General Assembly to consider what message such inaction sends to victims of sexual assault and rape, the statement from Dr. Tyson’s attorney said.
In response, Delegate Rob Bell, chairman of the House Courts of Justice Committee announced the panel will take action before the committee adjourns this weekend, reported Fox News.
“Today, the Courts of Justice Committee will schedule a meeting,” Bell said on the House floor. “We will invite Dr. Vanessa Tyson and Ms. Meredith Watson to testify. We will also be inviting Lt. Gov. Fairfax to testify to give all parties a chance to be heard.”
Dr. Vanessa Tyson was the first woman to come forward and claim Justin Fairfax sexually assaulted her at a DNC convention in Boston in 2004.
Dr. Tyson says after she was assaulted by Justin Fairfax, she “suffered from both deep humiliation and shame,” a common thing women experience after a traumatic sexual assault.
“I did not speak about it for years, and I (like most survivors) suppressed those memories and emotions as a necessary means to continue my studies, and to pursue my goal of building a successful career as an academic,” Dr. Tyson said in a statement.
A couple weeks ago, a second woman came forward and accused Virginia Lt. Governor Justin Fairfax of sexual assault.
The accuser, a woman named Meredith Watson, requested the resignation of Lt. Governor Justin Fairfax through her attorney Nancy Erika Smith, alleging Fairfax raped her in college in the year 2000.
According to the statement released by Nancy Erika Smith, Meredith Watson has contemporaneous witnesses, fellow classmates at Duke University, who provided statements corroborating Ms. Watson’s claims Fairfax raped her.
Justin Fairfax admitted to having encounters with both women, however, he maintains everything was consensual.