Virginia lieutenant governor again denies sexual assault allegations, says he took polygraphs
Virginia Democratic Lieutenant Gov. Justin Fairfax’s office issued a statement Sunday again denying allegations of sexual assault and saying Fairfax took two polygraph exams in an effort to show he is telling the truth.
The statement from Fairfax came as televised interviews of two women, Vanessa Tyson and Meredith Watson, are set to air over the coming days.
“From the moment that Dr. Vanessa Tyson and then Ms. Meredith Watson first made accusations that Lt. Governor Fairfax had committed sexual assault decades ago, Lt. Governor Fairfax has been steadfast in saying that the allegations are extraordinarily serious, deserve to be heard, and should be investigated and taken seriously,” the statement said. “Lt. Governor Fairfax has also been steadfast from the start in saying that a serious, fair, and impartial investigation and examination of the facts would demonstrate that these allegations are false and that he engaged in no wrongdoing whatsoever.”
A source directly connected to Tyson say that they did not intend “to get into a piecemeal back and forth” and noted the women’s interviews would air Monday and Tuesday, respectively.
“This is all the more reason the (Virginia) legislature should take bipartisan action when they meet on Wednesday to ensure all sides are able to testify on the record in public and make their case,” the source said. “That is what all sides have now said they want.”
The statement went on to detail two polygraph exams where Fairfax denied “any non-consensual sexual activity” with either Tyson or Watson. The statement said both answers were shown to be truthful. Polygraph exams are not admissible in Virginia courts.
The statement said Jeremiah Hanafin administered the polygraph exams and noted that Hanafin administered a polygraph exam last year on Christine Blasey Ford, who came forward with allegations against now-Supreme Court Justice Brett Kavanaugh.
The allegations against Fairfax emerged earlier this year as Democratic Gov. Ralph Northam faced wide-ranging calls to resign over a racist photo that appeared on his page of his medical school yearbook and later admitted that he darkened his face for a dance contest.
Amid the unfolding controversy, Tyson came forward and alleged Fairfax had sexually assaulted her in 2004. Watson came forward shortly after and said Fairfax raped her when they were both students at Duke University.
Fairfax categorically denied both allegations and called for “a full investigation into these unsubstantiated and false allegations.”
CBS released a portion of Gayle King’s interview with Tyson on “Face the Nation” Sunday morning where Tyson called for a public hearing at the Virginia General Assembly with testimony from herself, Watson and Fairfax.
“Particularly for survivors, I think this is incredibly important,” Tyson said. “They need to be heard. We need to be seen. Right? And we need to be treated as the human beings that we are.”