Washington Legislators Reverse Course, Won’t Investigate Rape Allegation Against Sen. Joe Fain

Senate Republican floor leader Joe Fain, R-Auburn. CREDIT: TED WARREN
Washington state Sen. Joe Fain, R-Auburn, lost his re-election bid in 2018. A Senate committee had voted to proceed with an investigation into a rape allegation, but have since dropped it after he lost. CREDIT: TED S. WARREN/AP

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The Washington State Senate announced Tuesday that it will not go forward with its planned investigation of Senator Joe Fain (R-Auburn).

Fain has been accused of raping a Seattle woman in 2007 before he took office and has denied the allegation.

In November, a bipartisan group of Senators signed off on a plan to hire an outside investigator to look into the case.

But on Monday, Republicans said the investigation should be called off because Fain lost his re-election bid. They said Fain’s loss made the issue a potential case for law enforcement and that the Senate was no longer the appropriate body to launch an investigation.

Sen. Randi Becker (R-Eatonville) sent a letter to Sen. John McCoy (D-Tulalip), chair of the Facilities and Operations Committee, and characterized the investigation as a “partisan witch-hunt.”

In response, Democrats, who control the chamber, said the investigation would be cancelled and blamed partisanship.

A spokesperson for the Democratic leadership said the committee agreed to work on the investigation in a bipartisan manner and said that Republicans had failed to advance any suggestions for a possible investigator.

McCoy wrote to Becker that the Republican minority leader had refused to approve any of the proposed investigators.

KUOW producer Jason Pagano contributed to this story.

Copyright 2018 KUOW

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