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Washington state Dems suspend probe of Fain rape allegations

Joe Fain on the Washington State Senate floor in 2017 (AP Photo/Ted S. Warren)

State Senate Democrats are suspending the outside investigation into a rape allegation against outgoing GOP state Senator Joe Fain, that had been approved by a bipartisan group of senators just last month.

RELATED: Seattle woman publicly accuses Joe Fain of rape

The move comes one day after Republican state Senator Randi Becker — who was among those on the Senate Facilities and Operations Committee who approved the investigation — called out Democrats for not responding to her letter on Nov. 21, asking for the committee to revisit the plan now that Fain had lost his re-election bid.

Becker said the committee had only approved the hiring of an outside investigator to look into a claim made by Candace Faber, a former foreign service worker and one time Seattle staffer, because it looked at the time like Fain was going to win his re-election bid. Faber alleged that Fain had raped her in a Washington, D.C. hotel room more than a decade ago.

Becker added that Senate Democrats had agreed to revisit the issue if Fain lost, which he did, but had since been unresponsive to their calls to do so.

According to Becker, now that Fain has lost the election, there is no legislative purpose to continue with the investigation. and that it would only serve as a “partisan witch-hunt.”

She also warned that if the Democrats moved ahead with the investigation, it will “poison the relationship between our two caucuses, reduce cooperation, and make it all the more difficult for the Senate as a whole to do the work we have been elected to do.”

On Tuesday, Senate Democratic Caucus Chair John McCoy expressed disappointment that Becker and other Republicans no longer shared in Democrats’ values to “to put politics aside and create a safe environment for survivors to come forward, and for anyone accused of such behavior to receive fair, unbiased treatment.”

“It is discouraging to hear the Republican caucus has viewed this process as a partisan one, considering the extraordinary efforts undertaken in selecting an appropriate investigator to ensure this is not the case. The Secretary of the Senate vetted numerous candidates from a variety of backgrounds, many suggested by your own caucus. All had the experience and background necessary to conduct a fair and unbiased investigation. As of today, the Minority Leader has refused to approve any of them,” McCoy wrote.

Calling it regrettable, McCoy went on to say, “The investigation cannot continue without your caucus’ good faith participation, and the only option at this point is for the Secretary of the Senate to suspend the process of hiring an investigator.”

Becker had said Monday that it was not that they do believe the allegation against Fain should not be investigated, but rather that it was not the Legislature’s role to do it.

Following Becker’s calls to end the investigation Monday, and comments from Republican Senator Ann Rivers that, among other things, questioned the validity of Faber’s claim, Faber reacted on Twitter Monday night, saying that in part, her decision to come forward never had anything to do with the election, and that despite the outcome pf the investigation, she can be at peace.

RELATED: Rape allegation, investigation leaves Senate seat vulnerable

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