Five Colleagues of Justin Fairfax’s Sexual Accuser Support Her Story: ‘She’s Not Doing This for Any Fame’


A profile piece on Dr. Vanessa Tyson gives focus to a group of colleagues who are backing up her sexual assault allegations against Virginia Lieutenant Governor Justin Fairfax (D).

The New York Times interviewed five people who worked with Tyson and claim that she told them that someone sexually assaulted her at the 2004 Democratic National Convention. Tyson didn’t tell anyone about the assault back when it happened in 2004, but the interviewees said her allegations against Fairfax match with what she told them, even if she alternated between “[identifying] the assailant as Mr. Fairfax, a lieutenant governor, or a politician on the rise.”

Professors Elizabeth Armstrong and Jennifer Freyd attended a Stanford fellowship program with Tyson when she told them about her ordeal, and Armstrong said “what she told us was pretty much exactly what was in the statement that she released but with vastly less detail.” Freyd agreed and said it was “clearly a traumatic experience” for Tyson.

More from The Times:

“Everything she said in her statement was exactly what she told me when we talked,” said Diane L. Rosenfeld, a founding director of the Gender Violence Program at Harvard Law School, who said Dr. Tyson told her of the assault in December 2017.

“She’s not doing this for any fame,” Dr. Rosenfeld added. “She’s not suing him for money, so disbelievers and doubters can’t say, ‘Oh, she just wants money.’ She just wants, as she says, the Virginia voters to know who this person is.”

This new report comes after ABC News reported that Rep. Bobby Scott (D-VA) was aware of allegations against Fairfax for over a year. Fairfax’s sexual assault charges come as his fellow Democratic leaders of Virginia continue to take fire for their racially-charged blackface controversies.

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