State Senate leaders say an outside investigation into a rape allegation made against state Sen. Joe Fain will continue even though he lost his reelection bid. REPORTER FILE PHOTO

State Senate leaders say an outside investigation into a rape allegation made against state Sen. Joe Fain will continue even though he lost his reelection bid. REPORTER FILE PHOTO

Senate committee to move forward with investigation into rape allegation against Fain

But some question whether to proceed with probe in wake of Auburn senator losing his reelection bid

State Sen. Joe Fain, R-Auburn, last week conceded his bid for reelection to a third term on the 47th Legislative District seat to Covington Democrat Mona Das.

But a state senate subcommittee on Thursday indicated, in an informal discussion that was not on its agenda and did not result in any action, that the investigation into a Seattle woman’s claim of rape against Fain would continue anyway.

On Nov. 8, the Facilities and Operations Committee, composed of four Democrats and three Republicans, had agreed it would spend funds to hire an outside investigator to look into Candice Faber’s allegation that Fain had raped her on the day she graduated from Georgetown University in 2007. The investigator was to report back no later than Dec. 31.

Republicans at Thursday’s meeting of the committee noted that members had also agreed on that earlier occasion that the investigation would not continue if Fain were to lose the election. Although strongly opposed to continuing, as Fain will be a private citizen by the time the investigation wraps, and concerned about the cost and about setting a negative precedent, Republicans did not make a motion to end it.

Catching wind earlier this week that incoming Senate Majority Leader Andy Billig had decided to continue with the investigation, Sen. Randi Becker, R-Eatonville, issued the following statement.

“I initially supported the investigation of Sen. Fain,” Becker began. “In fact, I seconded the motion in the Facilities and Operations Committee meeting to proceed. But that was based on the trend that showed he was ahead in his reelection bid and the constitutional provision that the majority could decide not to seat him. Now that he’s lost, the purpose for the investigation no longer exists. He won’t be returning to the Senate.”

Hearing that the new majority leader would not “honor the agreement” made with his predecessor, which was that the investigation would only proceed if Sen. Fain were to remain a member of the senate, Becker asked, what for? Why put taxpayers on the hook for the $100,000 she estimated it would cost to continue, given that Faber has said she does not intend to press formal charges against Fain?

“Since the alleged activity took place years before he became a senator, and he’s not continuing with us, an investigation no longer has a legislative purpose,” Becker said. “This case properly belongs in a court. Because his accuser isn’t going to pursue her legal options, the Senate shouldn’t succumb to political pressure to further damage the reputation of a man who has not been charged with anything.

“This is all the result of social media being used to attack a man whose behavior has been nothing but sterling during his entire tenure in the Legislature,” Becker concluded.

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