National Hockey League star Patrick Kane will not be charged following a three-month investigation into claims he raped a 21-year-old woman at his New York home, an upstate New York prosecutor announced Thursday.
Less than two months after indicating a grand jury would consider the case, Erie County District Attorney Frank A. Sedita III said that no physical or forensic evidence backs up the woman’s allegations. He also noted inconsistencies between her accounts and those of eyewitnesses.
“The totality of the credible evidence — the proof — does not sufficiently substantiate the complainant’s allegation that she was raped by Patrick Kane,” Sedita said in a statement. “This so-called ‘case’ is rife with reasonable doubt.”
Kane’s agent Pat Brisson expressed satisfaction Thursday with the close of the case, saying, “We knew all along that Patrick didn’t do anything wrong.”
Kane, a standout right winger for the Chicago Blackhawks, added that he is “glad that the matter has now been closed.”
“I have repeatedly said that I did nothing wrong,” Kane said.
Allegation of evidence tampering
Kane became the target of a sexual assault investigation after a woman claimed she was raped in August on a bed in his home in Hamburg, New York, a town of about 56,000 people located some 13 miles south of Buffalo.
Hamburg police began looking into the incident while a cloud of controversy swirled around Kane, a former No. 1 overall NHL draft pick and perennial all-star.
The case took a major turn in September when the accuser’s attorney, Thomas Eoannou, claimed an evidence bag containing his client’s rape kit was anonymously delivered to the home of the accuser’s mother. Not only that, but the bag had signs of being tampered with, according to Eoannou.
Yet the next day, everything changed. Eoannou announced that he would no longer represent the accuser, citing “misrepresentations … made to me about the facts concerning the discovery of the rape evidence bag.”
“In my 30 years of practicing law, none of us in this profession has seen anything like (this),” said the lawyer, who added that this episode “does not in any way reflect on what occurred on the night in question.”
Sedita strongly defended authorities after the incident, which he called “nuts” and a “dog-and-pony show.” He said his office concluded the forensic evidence was neither tampered with or compromised, alleging the mother of Kane’s accuser “engaged in an elaborate hoax.”
The mother denied this, and her family issued a statement then — which was obtained by CNN affiliate Time Warner Cable News Buffalo — insisting they “have every intention of pursuing this case to a just conclusion.”
“It must be emphasized that there exists no evidence or allegation that the accuser herself had any knowledge of the existence of the ‘evidence bag’ until well after it was brought to Mr. Eoannou’s office,” the family said.
Prosecutor: Accuser didn’t wish to proceed
Thursday’s announcement indicates that — from the prosecutor’s perspective, at least — the case is closed.
Sedita said in a press release that “the DNA results lend no corroboration whatsoever to the complainant’s claim.” Kane hadn’t talked to law enforcement, but he said hadn’t made any “known incriminating statements to any civilian, nor has he engaged in any conduct consistent with a consciousness of guilt,” the prosecutor added.
“Additionally, the complainant, after consultation with her attorney, has decided that she does not wish to go forward with a criminal prosecution,” Sedita added.
Kane’s team, the Blackhawks, issued a statement indicating the club “has taken this matter very seriously” and declining further comment.
The NHL, meanwhile, is still reviewing the situation.
“In light of the statement issued … by the Erie County District Attorney’s Office,” Deputy Commissioner Bill Daly said, “… we intend to promptly review the information that may now be available to us.”
By Wesley Bruer and Greg Botelho, CNN
CNN’s Jill Martin and Joseph Netto contributed to this report.