Politics & Government

Seattle woman says state Sen. Joe Fain raped her in 2007; Fain denies allegation

State Sen. Joe Fain, a Republican from Auburn, is up for re-election in November.
State Sen. Joe Fain, a Republican from Auburn, is up for re-election in November. Associated Press

A Seattle woman has alleged that prominent Washington state Sen. Joe Fain raped her after her college graduation in 2007.

Fain, R-Auburn, denied the accusation and called for an investigation.

The woman, Candace Faber, tweeted about Fain on Thursday and later issued a statement stating, “We cannot heal without accountability.” The tweet came after hours of televised testimony on sexual assault allegations against U.S. Supreme Court nominee Brett Kavanaugh.

Faber said in her tweet that the assault occurred the night she graduated from Georgetown University. She had previously written a post about being assaulted by someone serving in the Washington State Legislature, but did not include a name.

In that earlier account, posted online in June, she described how she and the lawmaker met “at the Capitol” and spent a night out drinking and kissing. She wrote that she helped the drunken man return to his hotel room. In the room, she wrote, he pulled down her dress “so hard the straps tore.”

She wrote that she pushed him away and said, “Stop, stop, stop” before eventually relenting. She later asked him for a kiss goodbye, she wrote, and wondered whether she should go to the hospital.

Fain denied Faber’s account in a text message to The Seattle Times.

“I absolutely deny what Ms. Faber is accusing me of,” he said. “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.”

Neither Faber nor Fain made themselves available for interviews.

Faber, 35, recently worked in the City of Seattle’s Information Technology Department. Her LinkedIn profile shows she has been a guest faculty member at the University of Washington Information School for the past two years.

Fain, 37, was elected to the state Senate in 2010 and was majority floor leader from 2013 through 2017, when Republicans controlled the chamber. He now is minority floor leader.

On Thursday, Faber tweeted about the U.S. Senate hearing on Supreme Court nominee Kavanaugh where psychology professor Christine Blasey Ford discussed her allegation that Kavanaugh had sexually assaulted her when they were teenagers.

Faber said in her statement late Thursday that she was inspired by Ford’s courage.

“Like Dr. Ford, I can no longer remain silent knowing that the man who raped me is in a position to influence the laws that govern my state and impact every woman who lives here,” Faber wrote. “I do not believe that survivors have a civic duty to speak out. I believe that we have a civic duty to believe survivors.”

About 4 p.m. Faber asked on Twitter: “Is anyone else just fed up and ready to name names? Because I am!”

Then she followed up. “So okay, let’s do it. @senatorfain, you raped me the night I graduated from Georgetown in 2007. Then you had the audacity to ask me to support your campaign. I’ve been terrified of running into you since moving home and seeing your name everywhere. I’m done being silent.”

Considered a moderate, Fain was one of four Republican senators who voted to legalize same-sex marriage in 2012, and helped negotiate a bipartisan deal for the 2017 paid family-leave law.

Fain represents the 47th Legislative District, which includes parts of Auburn, Covington and Kent. He is up for re-election this year, recently besting Democratic challenger Mona Das by about 8 points in the primary. Both will be on the November general-election ballot.