Patrick Kane’s legal troubles took an even more disturbing turn this week.
For those who have not followed this case, Chicago Blackhawks’ right wing Patrick Kane stands accused of raping a woman in Buffalo, New York.
Most recently, attorneys for the alleged victim have claimed that parts of her rape-kit were tampered with and then left on her mother’s doorstep as a possible threat. If this is true, the act would not only complicate legal proceedings, it could bring new charges into the mix.
Currently, Kane faces civil and criminal charges resulting from these allegations. While the grand jury proceedings were suspended in his criminal case earlier this month, prosecutors may still send the case back to trial in the future.
For now, this escalation has only been brought up as part of the civil case against him. With few facts released to the public, it’s hard to make any concrete statement about the veracity of these accusations.
Of course, if the prosecution believes they have sufficient evidence to meet the burden of proof, conspiracy and intimidation charges could be added to the initial allegations.
New York Penal Law Sections 215.15 defines intimidating a victim or witness as any act that: “1. Wrongfully compels or attempts to compel such other person to refrain from communicating such information to any court, grand jury, prosecutor, police officer or peace officer by means of instilling in him a fear that the actor will cause physical injury to such other person or another person; or 2. Intentionally damages the property of such other person or another person for the purpose of compelling such other person or another person to refrain from communicating”.
If anyone can be tied to the act, it would not be incredibly hard to argue that point. While the prosecution may not be able to indict Kane, other parties could find themselves potentially facing charges of conspiracy, aiding and abetting, or possibly accessory after the fact. Of course, without a suspect, it would be difficult to bring up charges.
Several media sources, including Christine Brennan of USA Today and the Staff of SBNation, have now called for the NHL to suspend Kane until further information becomes available. So far, NHL commissioner Gary Bettman is standing by the statement he gave to The Buffalo News.
“It’s a terrible thing,” said Bettman, “but we’re going to have to watch the process play out and at the appropriate time, we’ll make whatever decisions have to be made at the time”.
These allegations are disturbing, and things have only gotten more troublesome as the case has moved forward. One can only hope that justice will be served quickly and effectively, for the sake of everyone involved.
Since publishing this piece, the story has escalated yet again. CBS Chicago has now announced that the lawyer representing Patrick Kane’s accuser has dropped her as a client. The attorney, Thomas Eoannou, stated that he no longer has confidence in her as a source due to inconsistencies in her claims regarding the rape-kit tampering. Eoannou wants to be clear that his decision to drop her as a client should not discredit her initial accusations, but it’s hard to imagine that it won’t hurt her case going forward.
UPDATE: 9/27: It’s now been widely covered that this entire incident was most likely an “elaborate hoax” orchestrated by the alleged victim’s mother. Roland M Cercone, the new lawyer for the alleged victim, had this to say in a recent letter to the Chicago Tribune:
“For the record, no one has asked to speak to the complainant regarding the latest incident. I suspect this is so because their investigation has already revealed that she had no knowledge of — or anything to do with — this entire fiasco…
I have until today had no desire to comment on this case whatsoever. However, the leaks and misrepresentations have simply gotten out of hand. I do not plan to comment any further in this matter, and prefer instead to allow due process to take its natural course, without any further misrepresentations, untruths, or inaccurate speculation. I pray that everyone does the same.”