State Sen. Joe Fain, R-Auburn, speaks on the state Senate floor. FILE PHOTO

State Sen. Joe Fain, R-Auburn, speaks on the state Senate floor. FILE PHOTO

Rape allegation against Sen. Joe Fain divides King County Council

In a recent interview, Councilmember Kathy Lambert blamed Fain’s accuser for the alleged rape. Then Lambert’s colleagues distanced themselves from her comments.

When asked recently about an allegation made by a Seattle woman that state Sen. Joe Fain raped her, King County Councilmember Kathy Lambert said that the accuser may have been to blame for the incident.

In late September, Candace Faber, a former foreign service officer and employee in Seattle’s Information Technology Department, accused the Sen. Fain, 37, of raping her in a Washington, D.C., hotel room after a night of drinking back in 2007 — the night she graduated from Georgetown University.

Fain, a prominent state Republican who represents the 47th Legislative District covering Auburn, Kent, and Renton, has denied the allegation and has called for an investigation into the accusation.

“I think it’s a two-way street,” Lambert, who is supporting Fain in his 2018 re-election bid, told KUOW in an Oct. 14 interview. “I tell my daughters you don’t go to a hotel room with a man who is drinking. You just don’t do that.”

During the interview, Lambert also said that when she was younger, “slapping a woman on the butt was a compliment.” She also implied that the alleged rape’s occurrence roughly a decade ago undermines the seriousness of the allegation. “You know, I think what people did 10 years ago is 10 years ago. I wasn’t there and I can’t judge,” she said.

Several of Lambert’s colleagues on the council are distancing themselves from her comments. In a media release Oct. 16, Councilmembers Jeanne Kohl-Welles, Rod Dembowski, and Joe McDermott said that Lambert’s comments “do not represent the King County Council.”

“We believe victims. We stand with survivors. We believe the past matters,” they wrote. “We call on fellow elected officials to work together to end gender-based violence in all forms. While the #MeToo movement has spurred what are certainly difficult and nuanced conversations, there is absolutely no room for justification, invalidation, and victim blaming.”

Councilmember Dave Upthegrove slammed Lambert’s comments as “offensive” in a Facebook post published Oct. 16.

“I want my staff and all King County employees to know that it is not a ‘compliment’ to physically grope a female without her consent. Recent comments made in the press by a council colleague to this effect do not represent the values or the policies of King County government,” he wrote. “I found the comments offensive.”

Lambert also sent her own press release “clarifying” her comments to KUOW. In the release, Lambert said she did not “attack Ms. Faber or question the sincerity of her allegations” during the interview. “As a survivor of domestic abuse, I would never do that,” she said. “Every accusation of sexual assault, harassment, or domestic violence deserves to be heard, taken seriously, and investigated thoroughly.”

“The #MeToo movement has rightfully sparked a much-needed conversation in our country about sexual harassment and sexual assault, not just in the workplace, but in society at large,” Lambert added. “That conversation is long overdue. I hope this conversation will lead to a society where nobody will have to live through these difficult and painful experiences.”

Councilmembers Reagan Dunn, Larry Gossett, Claudia Balducci, and Pete von Reichbauer, all of whom have yet to weigh in on the matter, did not respond to Seattle Weekly’s requests for comment.

In an online essay posted in June, Faber described meeting an unnamed Washington state lawmaker in D.C. after she graduated from Georgetown in 2007. Faber wrote that they spent the night dancing and kissing, and that they “drank way too much.” Eventually, she walked the man back to his hotel and went to his room, where he pinned her to a bed and raped her, she wrote. Faber later told the Seattle Times that she repeatedly told him to stop and tried to kick him away during the alleged incident. After taking inspiration from the Brett Kavanaugh hearings and Dr. Christine Blasey Ford’s testimony, she eventually named Sen. Fain as her assailant Sept. 27 via Twitter.

In a Oct. 15 tweet directed toward Councilmember Lambert regarding her recent comments, Faber wrote: “@KathyLambert It really doesn’t matter to you?”

King County Council, from left to right: Jeanne Kohl-Welles, Pete von Reichbauer, Reagan Dunn, Larry Gossett, Dave Upthegrove, Council Chair Joe McDermott, Council Vice Chair Claudia Balducci, Council Vice Chair Kathy Lambert, and Rod Dembowski. Photo courtesy of King County

King County Council, from left to right: Jeanne Kohl-Welles, Pete von Reichbauer, Reagan Dunn, Larry Gossett, Dave Upthegrove, Council Chair Joe McDermott, Council Vice Chair Claudia Balducci, Council Vice Chair Kathy Lambert, and Rod Dembowski. Photo courtesy of King County

More in News

Residents at SeaTac’s Firs Mobile Home Park received a closure notice for October 31, but most have chosen to stay in their homes. Photo by Melissa Hellmann
South King County coalition targets affordable housing

Rent and housing prices hit south end communities hard; SeaTac, Tukwila, Kent, Burien, Renton and Auburn are working to create organization like Eastside’s ARCH

Responding to a call for help

United Way of King County’s Family Resource Exchange serves hundreds of homeless at Green River College

Das sworn in as senator for 47th District

‘I am truly honored that the voters … have put their trust in me’

City selects new firm to manage golf course

As of Jan. 1, 2019, CourseCo took over duties at the course from the previous management company, Premier Golf Centers.

Microsoft will invest $500 million toward regional housing

Mayors of nine cities — including Auburn, Kent, Federal Way, Bellevue, Kirkland, Redmond, Issaquah, Renton and Sammamish — have pledged to help

Informational workshops began this week and more community news

Informational workshops began this week King County is hosting three free workshops… Continue reading

Clausmeyer to step down from Tahoma School Board

Bill Clausmeyer will end his time on the school board on March 1

Photo from King County press release
WaterWorks Grant informational workshops

The workshops are set for Jan. 17, 30 and Feb. 12.

Exit poll indicates Washington voters still support climate change action

State environmental organizations’ poll points to continuing support for carbon-reducing measures.

Most Read