Erie County District Attorney Frank Sedita announced that Blackhawks star Patrick Kane will not face rape charges due to a lack of proof that a crime was committed.
“The totality of the credible evidence–the proof–does not sufficiently substantiate the complainant’s allegation that she was raped by Patrick Kane and this so-called ‘case’ is rife with reasonable doubt,” Erie County District Attorney Frank Sedita wrote in a statement released Thursday and first published by The Buffalo News. “Accordingly, the Office of the Erie County District Attorney will not present this matter to an Erie County Grand Jury.”
The decision comes just days after Kane’s accuser told prosecutors that she no longer wanted to cooperate with the investigation, citing the emotional toll it had taken on her and her family, essentially ending any chance that he would face prosecution.
"I have repeatedly said that I did nothing wrong," Kane said in a statement released by the team on Thursday. "I have respected the legal process and I am glad that this matter has now been closed and I will have nothing further to say going forward.”
The Hawks released a statement as well: “We respect the announcement today by the Erie County (N.Y.) District Attorney regarding Patrick Kane. The Chicago Blackhawks organization has taken this matter very seriously, and has tried to navigate a very sensitive situation while continually respecting the legal proceedings. At this time we will have no further comment.”
Kane’s agent, Pat Brisson, told Blackhawks beat writer Mark Lazerus, “We knew all along that Patrick didn’t do anything wrong. We are pleased with the results from the investigation. It’s finally concluded.”While Kane has been cleared criminally, there remains the possibility of civil action by the accuser. Kane also could file a civil claim seeking damages. At this point, though, neither seems likely to pursue that option.
Kane also faces the potential of sanctions from the NHL.
“In light of the statement issued today by the Erie County District Attorney’s Office, as an internal League matter, we intend to promptly review the information that may now be available to us," NHL deputy commissioner Bill Daly said in a statement. “We will have no further comment until we have completed that review.”
The woman filed a report with suburban Buffalo police on Aug. 2, claiming that Kane raped her in his home after meeting her at a local night club. She later went to a hospital where she was examined for signs that she had been sexually attacked.
According to DA Sedita, DNA obtained during that testing failed to prove she had sexual contact with Kane.
He said the investigative findings also revealed:
- There are significant material inconsistencies between the complainant’s accounts and those of other witnesses.
- The physical evidence and the forensic evidence, when viewed in tandem, tend to contradict the complainant’s claim that she was raped on Kane’s bed.
- Although Kane has exercised his constitutional right to remain silent (which prohibits questioning by law enforcement), he has made no known incriminating statements to any civilian, nor has he engaged in any conduct consistent with a consciousness of guilt.
The case took an odd turn on Sept. 26 when an attorney representing the woman held a press conference to reveal that packaging for a rape kit had been left on the doorstep of a home belonging to the accuser’s mother. Sedita later revealed this to be a hoax that he said was perpetrated by the mother herself, an act that led the attorney to abruptly resign and the district attorney to question the validity of the case.
“The question in my mind is not when this will go to the grand jury. The question in my mind is if this goes to a grand jury,” he said at the time.
The Blackhawks stood by Kane throughout the process, despite condemnation from the media and fans around the league. Kane has rewarded their faith with an excellent start, leading the team with eight goals and 18 points through 13 games, and now being cleared by law enforcement authorities.