A report in the Buffalo News on Thursday says that Blackhawks superstar Patrick Kane is the target of a rape investigation in Hamburg, N.Y.
The paper reported that a woman had accused Kane of a sexual assault and that tests using a rape kit had been performed at a local hospital.
The News also learned that Roseanne Johnson, chief of the Erie County District Attorney’s Special Victims Bureau, is the prosecutor assigned to the case.
It’s important to note that Kane, 26, has not yet been charged with a crime.
The Blackhawks issued a statement early on Thursday afternoon: “We are aware of the matter and are in the process of gathering information. It would be inappropriate to comment further at this time.”
Local police are not commenting either. Two sources told the News that Hamburg police officials have forbidden their officers and detectives from publicly discussing the investigation.
“We can neither confirm nor deny the existence or nonexistence of a criminal investigation until such a time as a person is charged with a crime,” Hamburg Police Chief Gregory G. Wickett said.
SI.com’s call to the Hamburg police yielded a similar response from Wickett. “There’s nothing I can add beyond what I told the paper,” he said. “I can’t confirm or deny that an investigation is underway, but we don’t comment on ongoing investigations either way. If an arrest is made, we’ll post it on our Facebook page and issue a press release.”
The News filed two Freedom of Information requests with the town of Hamburg, but police can take up to 20 days to respond.
There’s still not a lot to go on here. That may anger a few Hawks fans, but the Buffalo News isn’t some gossip site. One of the reporters involved in the story, Lou Michel, is the paper’s lead crime reporter and the respected co-author of the biography of Oklahoma City bomber Timothy McVeigh. The other, Robert J. McCarthy, is the lead political columnist for the News. If they’re putting their names on this piece, it’s a good bet that there’s some fire behind the smoke.
The Chicago winger has run afoul of the law before. In 2009, Kane pleaded guilty to disorderly conduct after an altercation with a Buffalo taxi driver. He was given a conditional discharge. In ’12, he was at the center of an embarrassing, but non-criminal, situation in Madison, Wis. That incident led to a public rebuke from the Blackhawks and an apology from Kane.
This story is developing quickly. Stay tuned.
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