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

Sen. Mona Das, D-Kent, the primary sponsor of SB 5323, speaking on the bill. (Photo courtesy of Hannah Sabio-Howell)
Proposed law adds a fee to plastic bags at checkout

Senate passes bill to ban single-use plastic bags, place 8-cent fee on reusable plastic bags.

In November 2019, Washington voters approved Initiative 976, which calls for $30 car tabs. Sound Publishing file photo
Republicans try to guarantee $30 car tabs amid court hangup

Lawmakers sponsor companion bills in the House and Senate.

King County Metro’s battery-electric bus. Photo courtesy of kingcounty.gov
King County could bump up Metro electrification deadlines

Transportation generates nearly half of all greenhouse gas emissions in the state.

Photo by Haley Ausbun. Opponent of the Energize Eastside project, Coalition of Eastside Neighborhoods for Sustainable Energy (CENSE) president Don Marsh presents to the Renton Hearing Examiner during a public hearing, Jan. 8, for the project.
Contention over Energize Eastside

PSE, the public and opponents discuss issues for 5 hours

Gov. Jay Inslee delivered his 2020 State of the State Address on Tuesday, Jan. 14. (Photo courtesy of Washington State Office of the Governor)
Gov. Inslee delivers State of the State Address

By Leona Vaughn, WNPA News Service OLYMPIA — Gov. Jay Inslee stood… Continue reading

REA board voted out

Union members use their power to remove leaders from office

Renton schools closed Tuesday for icy road conditions

Schools went from a two hour late start, to closed for Jan. 14

A 50-minute film called “Spawning Grounds,” which documents the effort to save a freshwater variety of kokanee salmon from Lake Sammamish, is finally ready for its debut in North Bend on Jan. 18. (Screenshot from film)
Spawning Grounds: Lake Sammamish kokanee documentary premieres Jan. 18

The film tracks the ‘all hands on deck’ effort to save the little red fish from extinction.

Photo by Haley Ausbun. Have you visited the Highlands new brewhouse? The new Bickersons Brewhouse opened on Nov. 9. Two months later, Jan. 9, business leaders and the Renton Chamber of Commerce celebrated its opening with a ribbon cutting, featuring owners Frank Castro and Shaunn Siekawitch. Go bicker with the “Bickersons” at 4710 NE Fourth St., Renton.
Ribbon cut for new Renton brewhouse

Photo by Haley Ausbun. Have you visited the Highlands new brewhouse? The… Continue reading

Most Read