“In my ideal world, I’d want him to resign,” said Vanessa Tyson, one of two women to accuse Lt. Governor Justin Fairfax of sexual assault.
Vanessa Tyson and Meredith Watson, the two women who accused Lt. Gov. Justin Fairfax of sexual assault earlier this year, granted interviews to CBS News this week. Those interviews aired Monday and Tuesday on CBS This Morning.
“In my ideal world, I’d want him to resign,” Tyson told “CBS This Morning” co-host Gayle King. Tyson alleges she and Fairfax met in 2004, while both working for the Democratic National Convention in Boston.
Tyson, who has accused Fairfax of forcing her to perform oral sex in a Boston hotel room, told CBS that what began as consensual “quickly turned into sexual assault.”
“I cannot believe, given my obvious distress, that Mr. Fairfax thought this forced sexual act was consensual. To be very clear, I did not want to engage in oral sex with Mr. Fairfax and I never gave any form of consent,” Tyson said in a statement back in February.
The CBS interview with Tyson, her first TV interview since the allegations were made public, aired Monday on “CBS This Morning.” “I was so ashamed. I was so humiliated,” Tyson told CBS in the interview. She later noted that she had volunteered at a rape crisis center at the time.
Tyson’s allegation against Fairfax became public a few days after a racist yearbook photo linked to Gov. Ralph Northam saw calls for the governor to resign, with Fairfax to be his replacement.
Tyson, an associate professor of political science at Scripps College in Claremont, California, cited her political science students and calls for Fairfax to take the governorship as reasons for coming forward.
“I don’t want this to ever, ever, ever happen to them,” Tyson said.
Meredith Watson came forward days after Tyson, accusing Fairfax of raping her while the two were students at Duke University in 2000. Watson told King that she felt Fairfax had assaulted her due to prior knowledge that she’d been assaulted before.
“He knew that the year prior that I had been raped by someone and that nothing was done about it,” Watson told King. “And he was a very good friend to me. Which is why I never would’ve expected anything like this from him.”
Watson told King she had confronted Fairfax later about the alleged assault. She had left a campus party when she saw Fairfax arriving, but she said Fairfax ran after her, calling her to talk to him.
“I finally stopped and I turned around. And all I said to him was, ‘Why? Why would you do that to me?'” said Watson. “And he said, ‘I knew because of what happened to you last year that if I got you in the right situation, you would be too afraid to say or do anything about it.'”
Watson proceeded to elaborate in great detail about the alleged assault, saying that it would have been impossible for Fairfax to think it was consensual.
If you have to hold someone down, it’s not consensual,” she told King.
In response to the allegations, Fairfax issued a news release stating he had hired a former FBI polygraph expert, former FBI Jeremiah Hanafin, to administer a polygraph to him, and that polygraph showed that Fairfax was being truthful.
“Mr. Hanafin is a retired FBI polygraph expert who was previously chosen by Dr. Vanessa Tyson’s attorney, Ms. Debra Katz, to perform a polygraph examination of Dr. Christine Blasey Ford relating to Dr. Ford’s allegations against then-Supreme Court Justice nominee Brett Kavanaugh,” the news release said.
Fairfax said in a February speech that “the truth is on my side” and cautioned against “political lynchings without any due process.”
“And we talk about hundreds, at least 100 terror lynchings that have happened in the Commonwealth of Virginia, under those very same auspices,” Fairfax said. “And yet we stand here in a rush to judgment, with nothing but accusations and no facts, and we decide that we are willing to do the same thing.”
Barry Pollack, an attorney for Fairfax, said in the same news release that a criminal investigation, which Fairfax has called for, would exonerate the Lieutenant Governor.
“All serious allegations deserve to be taken seriously, but not all allegations are true,” Pollack said in the statement. “The public has a right to know if serious allegations made against the Lt. Governor are true, but the public also has a right to know if they are false.”
Tyson, in response, told King that rather than an investigation, she preferred a public hearing before the Virginia General Assembly, in which she, Watson, and Fairfax would be before a committee and under oath. “Investigations often allow people in power to sweep things under the rug,” she told CBS news.
Republicans in the House of Delegates have supported a plan to hold public hearings on the Fairfax allegations this year, but have not set a date, CBS reports.
Virginia Democrats, including Senator Tim Kaine and former Governor Terry McAuliffe, have supported Fairfax’s accusers and called for his resignation.
“The allegations against Justin Fairfax are serious and credible,” McAuliffe wrote on Twitter. “It is clear to me that he can no longer effectively serve the people of Virginia as Lieutenant Governor. I call for his immediate resignation.”
Vanessa Tyson and Meredith Watson images via screencap/CBS News