RICHMOND, Va. -- Virginia Lt. Governor Justin Fairfax went on the offensive Wednesday at the State Capitol in Richmond. His public statements come after two women, who accused Fairfax of sexually assaulting them in the early 2000s, told their stories in emotional interviews with CBS This Morning anchor Gayle King.
"I believe that anyone willing to come forward with allegations of sexual misconduct should be heard fairly and fully, taken seriously, and treated respectfully. It is very important for truth to be established and, where sexual assault has, in fact, occurred, for resources and assistance to be provided to survivors," Fairfax read from a prepared statement. "As the person accused, I also deserve to be treated fairly, seriously, and respectfully. A just society requires fairness and due process. In that regard, I do not believe that national television appearances or legislative hearings are the right vehicles to get at the truth. Sensationalizing allegations does not make them true. Yet, airing salacious allegations without evidence does enormous damage."
In interviews that aired on national television Monday and Tuesday, Dr. Vanessa Tyson and Meredith Watson shared their experiences with Gayle King.
Tyson told King that, while at the 2004 Democratic National Convention, Fairfax invited her to his room where the two kissed on his bed. She said that consensual interaction ended when Fairfax forced her to perform oral sex on him.
"He's pushing down and pushing down -- and I couldn't hold my neck up. And I didn't know what was going on,” Tyson told King. “I honestly didn't know what was going on. And then the next thing I know, like, my head is, like, literally in his crotch. And I'm choking and gagging. And, you know, I couldn't say anything 'cause i'm choking and gagging.”
In Response to Dr. Vanessa Tyson's claims
Fairfax said Dr. Tyson's story was "not true."
"While Dr. Tyson has stated definitively that she met, interacted, and had a conversation with me in Boston on July 26, 2004, the first day of the Convention; in fact, Senator [John] Edwards and I were not in Boston on that date. We did not arrive in Boston from North Carolina until the following day," he said. "After I arrived, I met Dr. Tyson, who was a volunteer at the Convention. As young adults and students we spent time together talking. I invited her to my hotel room, where we engaged in completely consensual activity.
"I have heard Dr. Tyson say that I held her neck and physically forced her to engage in sexual contact. That is simply is not true. What she alleged never happened.
"At no time did I force any contact. She has also said that she was visibly upset and crying. That is also is not true. At no time was she crying or did she express any concern, reluctance, or discomfort. Her demeanor never changed throughout the encounter. We engaged in friendly banter after leaving the room."
"Dr. Tyson has said that after our encounter, we had no further contact. This, too, is not true. In fact, she reached out to me more than once after the Convention had ended. We spoke several times in the weeks after the Convention.
"At one point, she left me a message asking me if she could come visit me in New York City, where I had returned to school at Columbia Law School, and even invited me to meet her mother. I did not respond and our relationship did not continue. Through it all, I had no reason to believe that she felt that our interaction in Boston was in anything other than 100% consensual."
In Response to Meredith Watson's claims
Fairfax also addressed allegations from Meredith Watson, who claimed Fairfax raped her while the two were classmates at Duke University in 2000.
"On one occasion late in my senior year in the year 2000, she initiated a consensual encounter with me. I did not rape or sexually assault Meredith Watson. I did not lock the door, turn out the lights, hold her down, or use any physical force whatsoever. We were both willing participants.
"After that encounter, I saw her on occasion when we were with mutual friends. At no time, before, during, or after our encounter did she ever say or do anything that suggested to me in any way that she believed that she thought anything that happened between us was something she had not wanted or that she was uncomfortable with.
"She has alleged we later had a conversation about the encounter where I supposedly raised the fact that she had previously accused a Duke basketball player of raping her and therefore thought she would be too afraid to report another assault. No version of that conversation ever occurred."
In addition to responding to the allegations, Fairfax released the results of a polygraph test that he said proved he was telling the truth.
"But I have gone further than taking and passing polygraph examinations. I have said from the beginning that the allegations made by Dr. Tyson and Ms. Watson are allegations of crimes and should be treated as such," he said. "That is why I have repeatedly asked for an investigation by law enforcement professionals. Because of the nature of these allegations, they should be assessed by professional law enforcement investigators who have the tools and the training to determine whether or not the allegations are true."
He also touched on the emotional toll the allegations have taken on him and his family.
"My family and the life we have built together mean the world to me. It pains me more than I can express for my wife and young children to have to hear these false allegations," he said. "I look forward to clearing my good name. More importantly, I look forward to being able to be a husband and father without having my loved ones read and hear false accusations about me. And, I look forward to going back to work for the people of Virginia, whom I am honored to serve."
Lawyer: General Assembly’s inaction prompted Gayle King interview
Lisa J. Banks, Tyson's lawyer, continued calls Wednesday afternoon for the General Assembly to hold a hearing for Fairfax's accusers to testify.
“Since their allegations became public in February 2019, Dr. Vanessa Tyson and Meredith Watson have made clear they believe the people of Virginia deserve to hear about the sexual assault and trauma they experienced at the hands of Lt Governor Justin Fairfax. They have asked the members of Virginia’s legislature to come together to determine a process that would provide due process to all parties while allowing the people of Virginia to judge for themselves whether Lt. Governor Fairfax deserves to hold his position of trust and power. Given the General Assembly’s inaction, Dr. Tyson decided to appear and answer questions about the incident in a national television interview.
Today Lt. Governor Fairfax made a public statement to members of the media in which he responded in a piecemeal fashion to the accounts of both women. He insists that he is fit to serve as Virginia’s Lieutenant Governor unless he is convicted in criminal court. However, a politician’s fitness for office is wholly independent of the workings of the criminal justice system. We believe Lt. Governor Fairfax’s statement to the media further exemplifies the need for a bipartisan public hearing in which all sides have an equal opportunity to testify under oath and present facts and evidence. It is unclear why Lt. Governor Fairfax is refusing to appear and testify under oath in the General Assembly about his past conduct.
While Dr. Tyson and her legal team have been in touch with the Suffolk County District Attorney’s Office and she has not ruled out pursuing criminal charges, the Virginia General Assembly must fulfill its responsibility to the people of Virginia to ensure the integrity of the Commonwealth's leadership. Reports have indicated that Virginia’s legislators are at a political standstill and unable to agree on a way to allow all parties to testify in public and under oath. Sexual assault is not a partisan issue. The failure of the Virginia legislature to provide all sides the opportunity to be heard sends a devastating message to sexual assault survivors in the Commonwealth that their state representatives will silence them in order to gain political advantage. We hope that the General Assembly and Lt. Governor Fairfax will agree to hold an open, fair hearing where all parties can come forward to provide information about this serious matter.”
Scroll down to read the polygraph examination released by Justin Fairfax
Date of Report 03/30/2019
POLYGRAPH EXAMINATION REPORT
Date of Examination 03/29/2019
Location of Examination 2000 K Street NW, Washington, DC 20006
Examinee's Name Justin Fairfax
Synopsis On March 29, 2019, Justin Fairfax reported to the Law Offices of Robbins, Russell, Englert, Orseck, Untereiner & Sauber LLP, 2000 K Street NW, Washington, DC for the purpose of undergoing a polygraph examination. The examination was to address two issues. The first issue was to address whether Fairfax sexually assaulted Vanessa Tyson in 2004 in Boston, MA. The second issue was to address whether Fairfax sexually assaulted Meredith Watson while both were students at Duke University.
Present prior to the polygraph examination was Attorney Barry Pollack. After a brief meeting, Pollack departed the room. Fairfax was then interviewed in an effort to formulate the relevant questions. During this Pre-Examination Interview, Fairfax denied sexually assaulting Ms. Tyson or Ms. Watson. He stated that all sexual activity between him, Ms. Tyson and Ms. Watson was consensual.
Regarding his relationship with Ms. Tyson, Fairfax stated he met Ms. Tyson at the Democratic National Convention in Boston, MA in 2004. At this time, Fairfax was working for the campaign of John Edwards, the Democratic Vice Presidential nominee. Due to his busy schedule, Fairfax stated he did not arrive to the convention on the first day.
After arriving to the convention, he met Ms. Tyson and they developed a friendship. At some point, Ms. Tyson accompanied Fairfax to his hotel room. In the room, they began to kiss and fondle each other. During this encounter, Ms. Tyson performed oral sex on Fairfax. Fairfax stated that he never forced Ms. Tyson to perform oral sex on him and that all sexual activity that occurred between them was consensual. After this encounter, they left the hotel room together.
Fairfax stated that after the convention ended and he left Boston, he continued to have contact with Ms. Tyson. They exchanged telephone calls and messages on several occasions over the ensuing months and during one specific contact, Ms. Tyson suggested visiting Fairfax in New York and introducing him to her mother. Fairfax slated that in the fall of 2004, he had returned to New York to finish law school at Columbia University.
Fairfax advised that he was not interested in pursuing a relationship with Ms. Tyson and he never got together with Ms. Tyson or meet her mother.
Regarding his relationship with Ms. Watson, Fairfax stated he met Ms. Watson when both were students at Duke University. Fairfax stated they were friends and were never involved in a romantic relationship. Fairfax stated that he only engaged in sexual contact with Ms. Watson on one occasion. This occurred at the Fraternity House where Fairfax was a member.
He stated that all sexual contact with Ms. Watson was consensual and Ms. Watson is the one who initiated this sexual encounter.
Following this encounter, Fairfax stated he continued to have contact with Ms. Watson while at Duke. At no time did he have a conversation with Ms. Watson where she implied that he had assaulted her. In addition, he never had a conversation with her where he used words to the effect of "I knew that because of what happened to you last year that you'd be too afraid to say anything."
Following this interview, Fairfax was given a polygraph examination consisting of the following relevant questions:
A. Did you engage in any non-consensual sexual activity with Vanessa? Answer: No
B. Was Vanessa crying at any time she was in your hotel room? Answer: No
C. After leaving Boston, did Vanessa contact you and suggest visiting you and meeting her mother? Answer: Yes
Four polygraph charts (which included an acquaintance or "slim" chart) were collected using a Dell G7 notebook computer and Lafayette LX4000 software.
This software obtained tracings representing thoracic and abdominal respiration, galvanic skin response, and cardiac activity. All of these physiological tracings were stored in the computer along with the time that the questions were asked as well as text of each question.
The format of the test was the Modified General Question Test (MGQT). It included relevant questions addressing the issues to be resolved by the examination, comparison questions to be used in analysis, and neutral or irrelevant questions. All questions were reviewed with Fairfax prior to the test.
The charts collected were subjected to a numerical evaluation that scored the relative strength of physiological reactions to relevant questions with those of the comparison questions. An analysis was conducted using a three (3) point scale (-1, 0, +I ). If reactions were deemed to be greater at the relevant questions, then a negative score was assigned. If responses were deemed to be greater at the comparison questions, then a positive score was assigned. A decision of deceptive is rendered if any individual question score is -3 or less. A decision of non-deceptive is rendered if each individual question is +3 or greater.
Fairfax's scores utilizing the three (3) point scale are +4 at Question A, +7 at Question B and +5 at Question C.
Based upon this analysis, it is the professional opinion of this examiner that Fairfax's responses to the above relevant questions are Not Indicative of Deception.
An independent quality control review of this polygraph examination was conducted by Alan Jennerich. Mr. Jennerich is a retired FBI Special Agent and graduated from the Department of Defense Polygraph Institute (currently known as the National Center for Credibility Assessment) in November 2000.
He is currently a member of the American Polygraph Association. Jennerich's scores utilizing the three (3) point scale are +5 at Question A, +6 at Question B and a 4-7 at Question C. Based upon this analysis, it is the professional opinion of Mr. Jennerich that Fairfax's responses to the relevant questions are Not Indicative of Deception.
A third analysis was conducted utilizing a scoring algorithm developed by Raymond Nelson, Mark Handler and Donald Krapohl (Objective Scoring System Version 3) which concluded " No Significant Reactions- Probability these results were produced by a deceptive person is .002." Truthful results, reported as "No Significant Reactions," occur when the observed p-value indicates a statistically significant difference between the observed numerical score and that expected from deceptive test subjects, using normative data obtained through bootstrap training with the confirmed single issue examinations from the development sample. Truthful results can only occur when the probability of deception is less than .050.
A second polygraph examination was conducted consisting of the following relevant questions:
D. Did Meredith give you any physical or verbal indication she did not want to have sexual contact with you? Answer: No
E. Did you engage in any non-consensual sexual activity with Meredith? Answer: No
F. After this incident, did you have a conversation with Meredith where she implied your sexual contact with her was non-consensual? Answer: No
Three polygraph charts were collected, again using the Dell G7 notebook computer and Lafayette LX4000 software. The format of the test was the Modified General Question Test (MGQT). It included relevant questions addressing the issues to be resolved by the examination, comparison questions to be used in analysis, and neutral or irrelevant questions. All questions were reviewed with Fairfax prior to the test. The charts collected were subjected to a numerical evaluation that scored the relative strength of physiological reactions to relevant questions with those of the comparison questions.
An analysis was conducted using a three (3) point scale. If reactions were deemed to be greater at the relevant questions, then a negative score was assigned. If responses were deemed to be greater at the comparison questions, then a positive score was assigned. A decision of deceptive is rendered if any individual question score is -3 or less. A decision of non-deceptive is rendered if each individual question is +3 or greater.
Fairfax's scores utilizing the three (3) point scale are +6 at Question D, +3 at Question E and +4 at Question F. Based upon this analysis, it is the professional opinion of this examiner that Fairfax's responses to the above relevant questions are Not Indicative of Deception. An independent quality control review of this polygraph examination was conducted by Alan Jennerich. Jennerich's scores utilizing the three (3) point scale are +4 at Question D, +3 at Question E and a +5 at Question F. Based upon this analysis, it is the professional opinion of Mr. Jennerich that Fairfax's responses to the relevant questions are Not Indicative of Deception. A third analysis was conducted utilizing a scoring algorithm developed by Raymond Nelson, Mark Handler and Donald Krapohl (Objective Scoring System Version 3) which concluded " No Significant Reactions- Probability these results were produced by a deceptive person is .001."