Virginia Senate Republicans are calling on Democratic state representatives to stop blocking a legislative hearing for the two women who have accused Lt. Gov. Justin Fairfax of sexual assault.
Vanessa Tyson went public with her accusation against Fairfax earlier this year and Meredith Watson disclosed hers about a week later. Tyson alleged that Fairfax coerced her to perform oral sex on him as she cried and tried to escape. Watson alleged that he raped her in an aggressive and premeditated way.
Fairfax has maintained his innocence and called for a legal investigation of the claims, rather than a legislative one. He recently sued CBS, alleging that the TV network knowingly published false accusations made by Watson. Both women have stood by their claims.
“The circumstances involving these credible accusations against Lt. Governor Fairfax have degenerated from tragedy to farce,” Sen. Mark D. Obenshain, R-Rockingham, said in a news release. Obenshain is the chair of the Senate Courts of Justice Committee.
“With the filing of his lawsuit against CBS for allowing Dr. Tyson and Ms. Watson to tell their stories, the Lt. Governor has outrageously attempted to discredit his accusers and all who have the temerity to ensure their voices are heard,” Obenshain said. “The latest chapter in this six-month-long fiasco might have been avoided had Democrats in the House of Delegates agreed to accommodate these women with their perfectly reasonable request: a bipartisan hearing in the House. Instead, Democrat delegates – including Senate nominees John Bell, Debra Rodman, and Cheryl Turpin – have continued to block these hearings. By denying Dr. Tyson and Ms. Watson a fair hearing, Delegates Bell, Rodman, and Turpin are complicit in the Lt. Governor’s efforts to discredit and dismiss these women.”
CBS has stood by its reporting.