Vanessa Tyson, a former political activist and current professor of politics, has called for the Virginia legislature to allow her to speak at a public hearing to explain the accusations of sexual assault she made against Lieutenant Governor Justin Fairfax (D-Va.).
In February, Virginia was rocked by a political scandal after yearbook photos of Governor Ralph Northam (D-Va.) resurfaced depicting two men, one in blackface and one in a Ku Klux Klan robe. Northam denied he was in the picture but admitted to wearing blackface. As calls for his resignation grew louder, accusations of sexual assault surfaced against Fairfax — his would-be replacement.
Two women came forward with allegations that Fairfax raped or sexually assaulted them. Tyson came forward first, alleging that Fairfax forced her to perform sexual acts during the 2004 Democratic National Convention.
Following Tyson’s claims, Meredith Watson came forward with a similar story and asked that Fairfax resign.
Two months later, neither Northam nor Fairfax have left office. During an interview with Gayle King on “CBS This Morning,” Tyson’s explained why she still wants to participate in a public hearing about her allegations against Fairfax.
VA Lt Gov @FairfaxJustin accuser @VanessaCTyson tells @CBSThisMorning co-host @GayleKing she came forward because “the Virginia people need to know who it is that they elected.” pic.twitter.com/CsYheIpBis
— Face The Nation (@FaceTheNation) March 31, 2019
“In my ideal world, I’d want [Fairfax] to resign. There were two main reasons why I came forward. There’s a million reasons not to come forward, right. It’s tough. I’m not gonna lie. But I look at my students. […] I teach politics and then they want to get involved and all I can think of is that I don’t want this to ever, ever, ever happen to them. And then the second thing that I think is that the Virginia people need to know who it is that they elected. They need to know.”
Tyson claimed that she believes voters have “a right to know” about Fairfax and the allegations she made. She explained that a private investigation of his behavior wouldn’t be as beneficial to the voters because things could get brushed under the rug.
“I think there should be a public hearing,” said Tyson. “There’s a difference between hearings and investigations. Investigations often allow people in power to sweep things under the rug, right. That’s, you know, kind of a pattern that, as a political scientist, I’ve witnessed and seen emerge.”
Tyson wants herself, Ms. Watson, and the lieutenant governor to be able to testify “under oath” in a public hearing.
It is unclear if Tyson’s request will be fulfilled. At one point, there was a movement to impeach Fairfax, but that hit a standstill in the General Assembly when delegates decided they wanted to keep every option on the table.