December 3, 2009 in City

Additional charges filed in Fairchild rape case

Prosecutors say instructor bragged about interrogation skills
By The Spokesman-Review
 

A man accused of raping a woman in a Fairchild Air Force Base interrogation room faces additional charges in an attack prosecutors say began after he showed the alleged victim torture devices and bragged about his interrogation skills.

Michael W. Fassbender, 32, is on leave from his job as a civilian instructor at Fairchild’s survival school, said his lawyer, Chris Phelps. Fassbender is employed there through SERE Solutions, a Spokane-based company that provides contracted instructors.

Fassbender was arrested Oct. 20 on one count of first-degree rape but released from Spokane County Jail the next day on $20,000 bail. Spokane County Superior Court Judge Ellen Kalama Clark on Thursday allowed prosecutors to amend charges to three counts of aggravated first-degree rape and one count of second-degree assault with sexual motivation.

In court documents, Deputy Prosecutor Sharon Hedlund described the attack as being “committed with deliberate cruelty.”

Fassbender “demonstrated an extreme lack of remorse,” Hedlund wrote.

Fassbender denies the allegations, Phelps said.

“We’re not surprised by the additional charges. It’s not unusual in these cases,” Phelps said. “It doesn’t change the facts at all.”

New court documents say Fassbender met the woman through an online dating service and they had their first date the night of the alleged attack. They dined at the Rusty Moose restaurant in Airway Heights before Fassbender took the woman to Fairchild and told her to leave her cell phone in the car because of security constraints, according to court documents.

The two reportedly drank a bottle of wine before Fassbender showed her torture devices and took her into a room, “where he told her he was such a good interrogator, that he could get information out of anybody,” documents allege.

Fassbender is accused of choking the woman into unconsciousness and slapping her during separate sexual assaults in the interrogation room that lasted for “an extended period of time,” according to court documents.

The alleged victim said Fassbender “bragged that he had done this to eight other women” and “told her that she could yell as loud as she wanted but that nobody would hear her,” according to the documents.

Fassbender drove her back to the Rusty Moose to get her car, where he kissed her and said “good night,” according to the documents.

She drove home and called a friend for help. She was transported to a hospital by medics.

The woman told deputies “she feared for her life,” according to the documents.

Deputies say that they found blood on a desk and chair in an interrogation room at the center and that the woman had red marks and bruises on her arms, chest and legs.


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