It looks like the battle for public opinion in the Patrick Kane rape case investigation has begun in earnest.
According to a report in the Buffalo News on Wednesday, the alleged victim went to Kane’s suburban Buffalo home on Aug. 2 only because her friend wanted to go.
“The woman who allegedly was raped at Kane’s home was not the woman who wanted to go there,” a law enforcement official told the News.
Several friends of the alleged victim have come forward to corroborate that story, saying that she initially refused an invitation from Kane to go to his house, but that she eventually went along because she didn’t want her friend to go alone.
The woman’s friends told the News that they had decided to speak out because they were upset by comments made by the owner of the bar where Kane and the women are believed to have met that seemed to blame the victim for whatever transpired in the early morning hours of Aug. 2. Mark Croce was quoted in the paper last Sunday saying that he and several of his employees at SkyBar noticed a young woman “hanging all over” Kane, and “being very forward, very flirtatious with him,” on the night of the alleged attack. (In the story, Croce admitted not knowing if the woman he saw was the same one making the rape charge against Kane.)
“It was almost like she stationed herself near him and was keeping other women away from him,” Croce said. “I noticed it and kind of laughed about it.”
He also said that he saw the woman and her friend follow Kane and one of his friends out of the bar.
Croce’s version of events left the woman’s friends seething.
“She’s a really nice girl, and it made me sick to see Mr. Croce make her look like she was some kind of gold digger, that she was out looking to pick up Pat Kane,” one of the alleged victim’s coworkers told the News. “She’s really getting bashed, and it upset me.… I don’t think Mr. Croce should be making remarks like that. I don’t think it’s fair. He’s taking Pat Kane’s side in this because Pat Kane was going to have a big Stanley Cup party at his bar.”
“She does not strike me like the kind of person who would make up a story about being raped,” the coworker added. “Not at all.”
“She’s a very positive person, a hard worker,” another of the woman’s coworkers said. “To see her mixed up in something like this came as an absolute surprise to me. For her to be a gold digger and to take advantage of a situation like that would be totally out of character for her.… I’m completely surprised.”
With facts hard to come by as authorities continue their investigation, this sort of second-hand insight has become the currency of the Kane story. This certainly won’t be the last we hear from friends of both parties.
And while this type of information is certain to color public perception, or at least reinforce currently held beliefs, it’s worth remembering that this is all just background. That’s not to say it isn’t instructive, but it doesn’t reveal anything about what actually happened later that night.
At this point, all we really know is that Kane has yet to be charged with any crime, and the woman involved deserves to have her allegations taken seriously and respectfully.