Washington state lawmakers have called for an investigation into a Seattle woman’s claims that a man who is now a state senator raped her in 2007.
Candace Faber said she was encouraged to “name names” after watching California professor Christine Blasey Ford testify before the Senate Judiciary Committee that she had been sexually assaulted by Supreme Court nominee Brett Kavanaugh when they were both in high school.
“If it’s bad that Blasey Ford waited to raise this until Kavanaugh got to the highest levels of government, then maybe the rest of us shouldn’t sit on our secrets just crossing our fingers that they won’t come into more power,” Faber tweeted.
In a subsequent tweet, Faber named Joe Fain, a Republican state senator and the current Washington state Senate minority floor leader, as the perpetrator of the alleged rape that she said took place in Washington, D.C., on the night she graduated from Georgetown University in 2007.
Fain has vehemently denied the accusation and said he would cooperate with any investigation.
“I absolutely deny what Ms. Faber is accusing me of,” Fain told the Seattle Times. “Any allegation of this serious nature deserves to be heard and investigated for all parties involved. I invite and will cooperate with any inquiry. I ask everyone to show respect to Ms. Faber and to the process.”
In a June 29 post on Medium, Faber wrote about the alleged assault without using names, only hinting that her assailant “continues to serve in the Washington State Legislature.” In the lengthy post, Faber recalled the man was drunk and that she had agreed to help walk him back to his hotel room from a gathering where they had both been.
Once there, she said the man “was suddenly strong enough to sweep me off my feet and pin me to a hotel bed” and pulled her dress down so hard that the straps tore. Faber wrote that she fought the man at first, telling him to “stop, stop, stop” but eventually resigned herself.
“I’d been taught to want this: to be wanted,” she wrote. She said afterward the man asked her to FedEx him a jacket he had left behind at a club, and pack for him – which she did. Faber said she then asked for a goodbye kiss and then left the room.
In her blog post, Faber also went into great detail about her struggle with her sexual identity, her desire not to upset her parents and to win approval from her father, as well as the circumstances leading up to the hotel room incident as reasons she didn’t feel she could report what had happened. She said also considered going to a Catholic hospital but ultimately decided they wouldn’t believe her.
Faber wrote that she had thought deeply about the incident — as well as what she might do if she ever ran into the perpetrator again — over the 11 years since.
“I drowned my anger in an ocean / that I tried never to stir / but then he ran for office / just a few months later,” Faber wrote. “I know because I was at my desk / in my bedroom / and a picture of him with his fiance / asked for my money on Facebook / and I called a friend in outrage. he told me, ‘it’s your word against his / and no offense but you left with him’ / he won the seat and still holds it / and everybody talks about / what a nice guy he is / how he’s not that kind of Republican”
Neither Faber nor Fain immediately responded to requests for additional comment Saturday afternoon.
In an interview with KUOW News, Faber’s mother corroborated parts of her daughter’s story:
Faber’s mother, Laura Lee Faber, said she remembered trying to tour Washington, D.C., with her daughter the next day. She noticed immediately that there was something wrong. Her daughter handed her the dress with broken straps to mend, Faber’s mother said, but wouldn’t say what had happened. She said her daughter broke down sobbing that day, but wouldn’t explain why.
In 2009, Laura Lee Faber said her daughter told her mother she had been raped the night of her graduation, but didn’t name the alleged assailant. That changed in 2016.
“When Trump got elected, she broke,” Laura Lee Faber said. “The emotions just … so that’s when she told us his name.”
In April or May of this year, Laura Lee Faber said she wrote to Fain with a friend who is a lawyer to request a meeting. Neither Fain nor his staff responded, Faber said.
Faber said she once picked up a newspaper and saw a story about Sen. Fain supporting protections for women experiencing sexual harassment in the workplace. “I nearly lost my lunch,” she said.
Candace Faber said in a statement to the media after her tweets that she had not planned to name Fain, nor did she consult a lawyer before doing so.
“It was a decision I made in the moment. However, it feels like a decision I have been building up to for a long time,” Faber stated. “Until recently, I withheld my rapist’s name, even in private conversations. I hoped that I could help change the culture of sexual assault without needing to say his name. I no longer believe that to be the case. We cannot heal without accountability.”
The Associated Press reported Friday that Washington Gov. Jay Inslee and Republican state Sen. Ann Rivers had both supported an investigation.
“But my fellow Republican senators and I agree that any allegation of this nature must be looked into as thoroughly as possible, no matter who is involved and no matter how many years have passed,” Rivers said in a statement to the AP.
It is unclear if Faber has filed a police report. The statute of limitations for first- and second-degree sexual abuse in Washington, District of Columbia, is 15 years.
According to her website, Faber is a former employee with the city of Seattle’s Information Technology Department. according to her LinkedIn page.
According to his bio, Fain represents the 47th legislative district in Washington state, representing parts of South King County near Seattle. He was first elected to the state Senate in 2010, re-elected in 2014 and is currently running for a third term against Democratic challenger Mona Das.
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