Fair­fax ac­cuser has 6 months to file charges in Bos­ton

The Washington Times Weekly - - Politics - BY S.A. MILLER

Vir­ginia Lt. Gov. Justin Fair­fax could face rape charges in Bos­ton over an ac­cu­sa­tion that he forced a woman to have sex with him at the 2004 Demo­cratic Na­tional Con­ven­tion, though no charges have been filed.

The state’s 15-year statute of lim­i­ta­tions for the crime ex­pires in July, leav­ing sev­eral more months for Vanessa Tyson to ask au­thor­i­ties to in­ves­ti­gate her claim that Mr. Fair­fax forced her to per­form oral sex on him.

A spokesman for the dis­trict at­tor­ney in Bos­ton said Thurs­day that charges have not been filed but that the process is open should Ms. Tyson, now a col­lege pro­fes­sor, want to make a for­mal com­plaint.

Rape and sex­ual as­sault pros­e­cu­tions usu­ally start with the vic­tim mak­ing a com­plaint, but Dis­trict At­tor­ney Rachael Rollins has other op­tions.

“Ev­ery case is dif­fer­ent and could be ap­proached dif­fer­ently,” said Ms. Rollins’ spokesman, Jake Wark.

Ms. Tyson’s at­tor­ney re­fused to say whether she would pur­sue crim­i­nal charges or what her next step would be.

The bomb­shell al­le­ga­tion this week added to the po­lit­i­cal in­ferno en­gulf­ing Demo­cratic lead­ers in Vir­ginia, where Gov. Ralph Northam and At­tor­ney Gen­eral Mark Her­ring are on the hot seat for wear­ing black­face in the 1980s.

The rape al­le­ga­tions are by far the most se­ri­ous and ex­pose Mr. Fair­fax, a 39-year-old ris­ing star in the Demo­cratic Party, to crim­i­nal prose­cu­tion and, if con­victed, up to 20 years in prison.

Mr. Fair­fax said the sex­ual en­counter was “100 per­cent con­sen­sual.”

He ini­tially ac­cused Ms. Tyson of en­gag­ing in a po­lit­i­cal “smear,” but he toned down his at­tacks af­ter she re­leased a state­ment Wed­nes­day de­tail­ing the in­ci­dent, which said “Mr. Fair­fax put his hand be­hind my neck and force­fully pushed my head towards his crotch.”

“I have no po­lit­i­cal mo­tive. I am a proud Demo­crat,” Ms. Tyson wrote.

Vir­ginia Se­nate Ma­jor­ity Leader Tommy Nor­ment on Thurs­day be­came the first Re­pub­li­can snared in the black­face con­tro­versy. It was dis­cov­ered that he was man­ag­ing ed­i­tor of Vir­ginia Mil­i­tary In­sti­tute’s 1968 year­book, The Bomb, which in­cluded pho­tos of men in black­face and other racially of­fen­sive ma­te­rial.

“With 114 edi­tions of The Bomb avail­able on­line dat­ing back to 1885, I am not sur­prised that those want­ing to en­gulf Re­pub­li­can lead­ers in the cur­rent sit­u­a­tions in­volv­ing the gov­er­nor, lieu­tenant gov­er­nor and at­tor­ney gen­eral would high­light the year­book from my grad­u­a­tion a half cen­tury ago,” said Mr. Nor­ment, who noted his sup­port of in­te­grat­ing VMI that year.

Say­ing the use of black­face was “ab­hor­rent,” Mr. Nor­ment stressed that he was nei­ther re­spon­si­ble for nor as­so­ci­ated with the of­fen­sive pho­tos.

While Mr. Northam is un­der un­re­lent­ing pres­sure to step down be­cause of a black­face photo in his 1984 med­i­cal school year­book, Mr. Fair­fax, who is black, has been mostly spared from res­ig­na­tion calls.

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