Woman Who Accused Virginia Lt. Gov. Justin Fairfax of Sexual Assault Is Professor at Scripps College in Claremont

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A woman who accused Virginia Lt. Gov. Justin Fairfax of sexual assault has identified herself in a statement released Wednesday as an associate professor at Scripps College and a fellow at Stanford University.

In the statement, released by the Washington Post, Vanessa Tyson said that news of Fairfax possibly being elevated to governor following a separate scandal involving Gov. Ralph Northam, "flooded me with painful memories, bringing back feelings of grief, shame, and anger that stemmed from an incident with Mr. Fairfax," the statement read.

Tyson teaches politics at Scripps, and is researching policies surrounding sexual violence against women and children in the United States at Stanford, according to her profiles on the universities' websites.

Tyson's recent allegation came amid another controversy surrounding Northam's changing story regarding a racist photo in his medical school yearbook that showed one person dressed in blackface and another in the Ku Klux Klan's signature white hood and robes.

Fairfax, at 39 years old, would be the youngest governor in the country and the only African-American governor, should he take over for Northam.

In the statement, Tyson detailed her encounter with Fairfax in July 2004, during the Democratic National Convention in Boston.

She said her first interactions with  Fairfax were "cordial, but not flirtatious." Tyson said she accepted an invitation from Fairfax to accompany him to retrieve documents from his room in a nearby hotel because, up until that point, she had no reason to feel threatened  by him.

Tyson said Fairfax kissed her as she stood in the entryway of the room. She added that the kiss was "not unwelcome" and she kissed him back before he took her hand and pulled her to the bed.

Tyson said she had no intention of "engaging in sexual activity" with Fairfax, but the consensual kissing "quickly turned into a sexual assault," the statement read.

Tyson goes on to describe how Fairfax allegedly forced her into performing oral sex as she cried and was in "obvious distress." She said she never gave consent and called the incident a "forced sexual act."

Tyson said she avoided Fairfax during the remainder of the convention and never spoke to him again. She said she suffered from "deep humiliation and shame" as a result and was not able to speak about the alleged assault for years.

"At the time, I found this horrific incident especially degrading given my regular volunteer work at a local rape crisis center," the statement reads.

She said that when she saw a profile about Fairfax in "The Root" in 2017, when Fairfax was running for lieutenant governor, the article triggered "buried traumatic memories and the feelings of humiliation," and she began telling close friends of hers in Virginia who were voters about what had happened.

She added that, following the momentum of the #MeToo movement, she decided to reach out to a friend who worked at the Washington Post, but the newspaper did not run her story.

In a story about Tyson's statement Wednesday, the Post said they did not run her story in 2017 because the newspaper "could not corroborate the woman’s account or find similar complaints of sexual misconduct."

"I felt powerless, frustrated, and completely drained," Tyson's statement reads. "Again I tried to bury memories of this painful incident and focus on my work and my students."

Upon reading about Fairfax's potential promotion, Tyson said she wrote a private Facebook post expressing her frustration, without naming the lieutenant governor. She said she was inundated with messages and requests for interviews after she wrote the post, but an online publication published her post and identified her before she could make a decision to go public with her accusations.

Fairfax then denied the allegations, telling reporters that his encounter with the accuser was "100 percent consensual."

Tyson said she is telling the truth and wants to refute Fairfax's "falsehoods."

"I have no political motive. I am a proud Democrat," Tyson's statement read. "My only motive in speaking now is to refute Mr. Fairfax’s falsehoods and aspersions of my character, and to provide what I believe is important information for Virginians to have as they make critical decisions that involve Mr. Fairfax."

She added that she wishes to continue teaching and does not want to be further involved in "this highly charged political environment."

 CNN Wire contributed to this story. 

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