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Jackie Speier: ‘I have no reason to doubt’ Justin Fairfax allegation

Rep. Jackie Speier said Thursday she had “no reason to doubt” the allegation of sexual assault brought against Virginia Democratic Lt. Gov. Justin Fairfax.

Speaking on CNN’s “New Day,” the California Democrat stressed the importance of believing the alleged victims of sexual assault. 

“I think that we have got to get to the point in this country where we appreciate that only a very small percentage of persons who are sexually assaulted come forward, and the reason they don’t come forward is because they are trashed in the media,” Mrs. Speier said. “And it is incumbent on us to believe the women — 92 to 97 percent of women of those who come forward are telling the truth.”

Scripps College professor Vanessa Tyson has accused Mr. Fairfax of raping her in a hotel room during the 2004 Democratic National Convention in Boston, where they both worked as campaign aides. Mr. Fairfax has said the sex was consensual.

Mrs. Speier recently nominated Christine Blasey Ford, the woman who famously accused now-Supreme Court Justice Brett Kavanaugh of sexually assaulting her nearly 40 years ago, for the John F. Kennedy Profile in Courage Award.

Asked Thursday whether Ms. Tyson deserved the same recognition, the congresswoman answered, “I do.”

“There’s very little that I have seen, but from what she has said I have no reason to doubt her,” Ms. Speier said. “At some point, we’ve got to learn that women do not come forward unless they have truly been assaulted, because coming forward is yet another assault, emotionally, on an individual.”

The scandal hit Mr. Fairfax as Virginia Gov. Ralph Northam and state Attorney General Mark Herring, also Democrats, face their own controversies for admitting to wearing blackface decades ago. If all three leaders heed calls to resign, House Speaker Kirk Cox, a Republican, is next in line to serve as Virginia governor.

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