Chicago Blackhawks player Patrick Kane is currently under investigation for allegedly raping a woman at his Hamburg, New York, home. Meanwhile, he is preparing for the upcoming NHL season at his team’s training camp. But the twists keep coming: Just today, the Erie County district attorney called claims of evidence tampering by the alleged victim's mother an “elaborate hoax.” Haven't kept up with the story? Here are the facts.
What we know:
- On Aug. 1, Kane, 26, and a male friend were partying at SkyBar in downtown Buffalo when they met up with the alleged victim and her female friend.
- Thomas English, a lieutenant with the Buffalo police who’s worked as a personal driver for Kane for five years, took at least part of that night’s shift off for personal leave. English drove Kane, Kane's friend, the alleged victim, and her friend to Kane’s Hamburg home early in the morning of Aug. 2.
- The alleged victim says that, at Kane’s house, she walked into a room by herself. Kane followed and, she says, overpowered and raped her.
- Following the alleged assault, the victim left Kane’s home, called her brother, and visited a local hospital for a rape examination, where she presented with a scratched leg and bitemarks on both of her shoulders. She filed a report with the Hamburg police.
- Four sources close to the case told the Buffalo News that the rape kit revealed Kane’s DNA under the alleged victim’s fingernails and on her shoulders, but not in her genital area. At least one other person’s DNA, the sources said, was found in her genital region.
- This Wednesday, Sept. 23, the alleged victim’s mother said she found the evidence bag from her rape kit torn open on her doorstep, which would indicate tampering and a breach of the chain of custody. But the Erie County Commissioner of Public Service claims that all evidence, including the rape kit, is still in its original packaging with the police department. Last night, the alleged victim's lawyer, Thomas Eoannou—who’d called whomever dropped off the rape kit a “good Samaritan”—announced that he was resigning as her counsel on suspicion that the mother had made up some parts of her story. “I lack the confidence in the story that was told to me. I looked into it, and it’s my ethical obligation to withdraw,” he said. Today, the Erie County district attorney said the alleged victim's mother concocted the story as an “elaborate hoax.”
- In a press conference last week, Kane, who signed with the Blackhawks for eight years and $84 million last year, apologized for the “distraction” that the allegations have caused his fans, teammates, family, and the “incredible organization” that is the NHL.
- Ditto team captain Jonathan Toews, who called the investigation a “nonfactor” in the Blackhawks training. “You support your teammate or teammates who are maybe going through a rough patch,” he said.
- Kane’s lawyer, Paul J. Cambria, has represented him before: In 2009, the hockey player was charged with two counts of felony second-degree robbery and criminal mischief after punching out a cab driver who couldn’t make change and stealing back his cash.
- The NHL collective bargaining agreement gives NHL Commissioner Gary Bettman the authority to suspend him with pay during the investigation, but Bettman says he prefers to “watch the process play out."
What we don’t know
- If the alleged victim and her friend knew Kane and/or his friend.
- What happened at SkyBar. The bar’s owner, Mark Croce, says he saw a woman “hanging all over” Kane that night before following him out of the bar with her friend. “It was almost like she stationed herself near him and was keeping other women away from him,” Croce said. (Friends and co-workers of the alleged victim say that Kane had planned on hosting a big Stanley Cup party at SkyBar before canceling it after the allegations arose.) “[The victim blaming] has been devastating to my client,” said Eoannou. “This is a classic example of why victims don’t come forward in rape cases.”
- Who suggested the trip to Kane’s house. A friend of the alleged victim told the Buffalo News that the other female friend at SkyBar wanted to go with Kane, and the alleged victim didn’t want her to go alone. English says the alleged victim wanted to go, and convinced her friend to tag along.
- Whether, as some sources have said, the first grand jury hearing was canceled because Kane and the alleged victim were discussing a settlement, or whether the prosecutors just didn't have enough evidence to bring the case forward.