Country Fest’s Civil Suit

The promoter of a country festival in Detroit Lakes, Minn., is being sued for negligence by a woman who was raped at the event in August 2006.

The woman filed suit December 10th against WE Fest promoter Festivals & Concert Events and the company that provided security for the concert in Becker County District Court, according to court documents obtained by the Detroit Lakes Tribune.

Although Eric Joseph Fanning was sentenced to 10 years in prison for raping the woman at the festival, the charges don’t end there. Fanning was also charged with first- and third-degree criminal sexual conduct for the assault of a woman at a Benton Beach campground two months earlier and had a prior first-degree criminal sexual conduct charge from 1994 in Colorado.

Fanning, a festival staff member who wore clothing marked "security," reportedly checked the woman and her friend into their campground when they arrived at the festival August 3rd.

He returned to the campsite uninvited multiple times and made unwanted advances toward the women, the suit claims, at which point they spoke to WE Fest security and asked to have him removed from the site.

But the requests were not granted and the victim allegedly was awakened in her trailer August 5th by Fanning, who was raping and choking her.

The attack was reported to security and Fanning was arrested at the festival site and charged with two counts of first-degree criminal sexual conduct.

The suit alleges that FACE and Security Specialists, the company that provided the security detail for the concert, knew of Fanning’s misconduct and were negligent in their hiring, supervision, retention and infliction of emotional distress in the case, according to the Tribune. The suit also claims the companies are the respondent superiors in the case, and are thus responsible for the actions of Fanning while he was employed by them.

The plaintiff is reportedly seeking more than $300,000 in damages.

Attempts to reach a representative for Festivals And Concert Events were unsuccessful at press time.