The rape accusation involving Buffalo native and Chicago Blackhawks hockey star Patrick Kane took an unexpected turn on Wednesday, when to the attorney for the accuser claimed a rape kit evidence bag was delivered to her mother's house, torn open and contents emptied.
Attorney Thomas Eoannou, representing the alleged victim, hosted a news conference at his office in Buffalo.
"We have spent yesterday evening to the early hours of this morning conferring with law enforcement, former prosecutors, people that have worked at the lab and ECMC personnel," said Eoannou. "It is the 'evidence rape kit' evidence bag."
The bag, he told reporters, was delivered to the accuser's mother's address early Tuesday afternoon and included a label with the accuser's name on it. Eoannou's office released pictures of the bag in question with the name redacted.
"That paper bag is supposed to stay with the evidence," said former prosecutor turned private attorney Joseph Marusak, who was in attendance. "It's not supposed to leave the custody of the people that are involved with collecting and storing the evidence, because you need that bag to prove that it was properly sealed up in the first place."
Following Eoannou's news conference, attorney Paul Cambria, who represents Kane, met with reporters and said no one is suggesting the evidence itself has been tampered with. It's evidence he suggests shows no signs of his client's DNA below the accuser's waistline.
"We're happy with the results of this analysis. Obviously someone else isn't happy with the results," Cambria said. "They would have an incentive to say it's compromised. We have none.
“Because no one is claiming that there was a compromise in the chain up to the time he analyzed it. So he knows what he analyzed. He made notes, he has a report. So that’s that. Somebody is trying to claim that now there is a problem with the evidence, and my question is, ‘Is that someone who’s not happy with the results?’”
Kane has not been charged with any counts. Yet numerous media reports have described supposed evidence, including a claim that DNA of men other than Kane were found in the accuser's genital area.
The Town of Hamburg Police Department issued this statement in response to Eoannou's remarks:
"In regard to the information conveyed today by Mr. Thomas Eoannou, the Hamburg Police Department will cooperate with any authorized investigation regarding the handling of evidence and the procedure of such. That said, The Hamburg Police Department has documentation that unequivocally demonstrates that its handling of the evidence and the integrity of its chain of custody of evidence in this case is unassailable. As is policy with active investigations, there will be no further comment regarding this situation."
Erie County Central Police Services followed a short while later with its own written statement regarding evidence in the Kane investigation. As written and released by Commissioner John Glascott: "All evidence related to this case that was given to Erie County Central Police Services by the Town of Hamburg Police Department is accounted for and remains in its original packaging in the possession of Erie County Central Police Services. This includes the evidence in the rape kit and the packaging itself. This evidence has been analyzed and reports of that analysis sent to the appropriate agencies.”
Cambria says his clients maintains his innocence. Eoannou, meanwhile, says his client is not seeking a settlement.
"I have never settled a monetary case in my life. We know the family. They came forward and helped me, asked me to walk their daughter through the very difficult process. That's what I was there for," Eoannou said. "I don't even know how my name got in the paper. But I can assure you I am the last lawyer in town you would go to to settle a civil case."
Cambria also dismissed rumors of a meeting between the sides to negotiate a settlement. He also dismissed claims that certain media coverage has contributed to a tone of victim shaming in this case.
“There’s no victim bashing when the facts speak for themselves," Cambria said. "You can try to erase the facts by little phrases like that. No one’s done that. People are talking about facts. If the facts are not consistent with what the victim says, they’re not consistent with what the victim says.”