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

Washington Low Income Housing Alliance is among supporters of statewide “just cause” legislation to protect tenants in Washington. However, some landlords say removing the ability to quickly remove tenants limits their ability to get rid of problem renters. (Courtesy image)
Tenant advocates prepare for another push in Olympia

Following wins in Burien and Federal Way, just cause evictions are on the 2020 Legislative agenda.

Fire along Twisp River Road in the Okanogan Wenatchee National Forest in 2018. Courtesy photo
Wildfire response: State unveils funding legislation proposal

Last year, Department of Natural Resources responded to record number of wildfires.

A new report, complete with recommendations to the Legislature, has been released by a statewide task force that was formed to address a lack of child care in Washington. File photo
Report outlines lack of child care in Washington

In King County, supply doesn’t meet demand for child care.

Racing left Renton, still bothers residents

Police say efforts were successful, but racers just moved across the city border

Renton Rotary selects Youth of the Month for December

The award is given to students who have leadership abilities, maintain a good GPA and volunteer in the community.

Photo by Haley Ausbun. Booths for kids to make Christmas tree decorations were one of the highlights at the pop-up market during the downtown tree lighting in Renton. Saturday, Nov. 30 at the Renton Pavilion Events Center.
Lighting up the holiday season

Photos by Haley Ausbun. Renton Small Business Saturday and Downtown Tree Lighting,… Continue reading

Photo by Danny Rodgers for The Salvation Army.
                                Seattle Seahawks Defensive End L.J. Collier volunteers at The Salvation Army community meal on Wednesday, Nov. 26, helping serve a traditional Thanksgiving meal. The Salvation Army serves a free meal to the public, Monday through Thursday, 5:15 to 6:30 p.m. Also pictured are Captain Isaias Braga, director of The Salvation Army in Renton, and Larissa Braga, volunteer.
Seahawk feeds Rentonites in need

Photo by Danny Rodgers for The Salvation Army. Seattle Seahawks Defensive End… Continue reading

Council asks – who will fill Pavone’s seat?

City Council discusses future appointments after election

Photo by Haley Ausbun. Wyman and Vicky Dobson, as Wyman Dobson receives a certificate and medal for being a founder of the Nishiwaki-Renton sister cities. Wyman recently retired and sold his family building, where he had been an attorney for 59 years.
Dobson shuts his doors, leaves behind a nearly 60-year legacy

Long-time local lawyer, leader chooses to retire

Most Read