The rape kit evidence bag from the woman who has accused NHL star Patrick Kane of rape was placed on her mother’s doorstep on Tuesday, the alleged victim’s lawyer Thomas Eoannou told reporters during a Wednesday press conference.
The mother found the evidence bag at 1:30 in the afternoon when she returned home from work, completely ripped open. Eoannou said he took extensive measures to confirm with the hospital that the rape kit definitely belonged to his client and was not a hoax.
— Brad Edwards (@tvbrad) September 23, 2015
Rumors of DNA evidence in the case have been leaked to the media throughout the investigation, including reports that Kane’s DNA was found in the victim’s fingernails and shoulders, but not in her genitals; and reports earlier this week that semen found on the victim belonged to two other men.
“[The victim blaming] has been devastating to my client,” Eoannou said. “This is a classic example of why victims don’t come forward in rape cases.”
Kane has not been officially charged with anything, but it has been alleged that he “overpowered and raped” a woman at his home in Hamburg, New York (outside of Buffalo) early in the morning on August 2nd. The allegations against Kane are being investigated by a grand jury.
The 26-year-old has not been disciplined in any way by the NHL or the Chicago Blackhawks. He is currently at training camp with the Blackhawks, and even took the ice in the team’s preseason game Tuesday night as fans cheered and wore his jersey.
In a press conference last week that the Chicago Tribune called “tone deaf,” Kane said, “I am confident that once all the facts are brought to light, I will be absolved.” He also apologized to his teammates for this “distraction.”
After Wednesday’s report that the rape kit had been tampered with, Kane’s lawyer told reporters that he is mostly worried about how this will impact his ability to prove his client’s innocence.
Patrick Kane attorney tells Trib that his client would be hurt most by tampered evidence because they can't do their own testing if needed
— Stacy St. Clair (@StacyStClair) September 23, 2015
Rape kits are supposed to remain in Chain of Custody throughout a rape investigation in order to preserve the DNA evidence. It has been reported that Kane’s accuser went to the hospital for an examination and rape kit immediately after the attack occurred. Rape kits are invasive, often painful exams that can last for hours, and are usually performed before the victim even showers after an assault. There is currently a huge backlog of untested rape kits in the United States.
Eoanou called the person who delivered the rape kit anonymously a “good samaritan,” but asked them to come forward with more information. He also called for outside forces, the FBI or state troopers, to investigate how this had happened, claiming that he had never seen anything like this in his career.
The Associated Press reported that Kane did not travel with the rest of the Blackhawks to Detroit for Wednesday’s game against the Red Wings.
NHL Deputy Commissioner Bill Daly responded to Wednesday’s development, saying, “Kane’s status with the league remains unchanged at this point. We have no comment on today’s press conference,” Mark Lazerus with the Chicago Sun-Times reported.
There were initially conflicting reports about whether the rape kit evidence bag that appeared on the alleged victim’s mother’s doorstep included the contents of the rape kit itself. According to the Chicago Sun-Times, the bag was empty. This story has been updated to refer to the evidence bag itself rather than the rape kit, and ThinkProgress has reached out to lawyers involved in the case for more clarity.
John Glascott, Erie County Commissioner of Central Police Services, released the following statement on Wednesday afternoon: “All evidence related to this case that was given to Erie County Central Police Services by the Town of Hamburg Police Department is accounted for and remains in its original packaging in the possession of Erie County Central Police Services. This includes the evidence in the rape kit and the packaging itself. This evidence has been analyzed and the reports of that analysis sent to the appropriate agencies.”