The first woman to come forward with sexual misconduct allegations against Virginia’s lieutenant governor Justin Fairfax is reportedly scheduled to meet with law enforcement in Massachusetts. Vanessa Tyson said she was assaulted by Fairfax at the Democratic National Convention in Boston, Massachusetts.
The Washington Post reports, “Debra Katz, the attorney who represents Vanessa Tyson, said she is working to schedule a meeting between Tyson and staff for Suffolk County District Attorney Rachael Rollins after she offered assistance and an opportunity to file a criminal complaint.” It is not clear whether she will file a criminal complaint.
A spokesperson for Fairfax said, “The Lt. Governor has stated repeatedly that he has never sexually assaulted anyone ever. He has called publicly for a fair, impartial investigation. He has nothing to hide. In that event, the Lt. Gov. will explore all options with regard to filing his own criminal complaint in response to the filing of a false criminal complaint against him.”
Tyson’s lawyer responded with, “Dr. Tyson will not be bullied and she will not be deterred by such threats.”
Vanessa Tyson said Fairfax forced her to give him oral sex during the summer of 2004. Public support for Tyson has been steadily growing since she released a statement detailing her accusation. And although she originally said she has no intention of seeking any charges against Fairfax, the legal door remained open for officials in Boston, where Tyson was allegedly sexually assaulted, and North Carolina, where the second accuser, Meredith Watson, said she was raped. Watson came forward on Feb. 8 and claimed Fairfax raped her while they were students at Duke University in 2000, according to a report from the Washington Post.
The statute of limitations in Massachusetts for criminal allegations of a sexual nature is 15 years, which means local law enforcement in Boston has until some point in July this year to file charges against Fairfax.
But in North Carolina, there is no statute of limitations for first-degree forcible rape, according to RAINN (Rape, Abuse & Incest National Network), the nation’s largest anti-sexual violence organization. That means that law enforcement in both states have time to decide whether they think there is a viable case to prosecute.
Fairfax has denied Tyson and Watson’s claims, saying both incidents were consensual. They have both called on him to resign, which he has not. However, two out of three of his government staffers have resigned and two employees of his political action committee resigned, according to Richmond.com.
Fairfax has also been put on paid leave as a lawyer at the firm Morrison & Foerster.