The attorney for the woman who accused Blackhawks star Patrick Kane of sexual assault, says an evidence bag which once contained the woman’s rape kit mysteriously appeared on her mother’s porch, suggesting evidence in the case could be hopelessly compromised.
The bag, which was delivered Tuesday afternoon, allegedly had the woman's name, birth date and the location where the rape kit tests were conducted on it, said attorney Thomas J. Eoannou.
Eoannou suggested a “good Samaritan” had left the bag inside the screen door, to somehow send a message that all was not what it appeared to be.
“Hopefully they get to the bottom of how this bag got opened,” he said, “where the real evidence is, and if it is established, why anybody would have the incentive to tamper with a rape kit.”
He called the incident a "significant development in the case" and said he is asking for an independent investigation by law enforcement.
"On behalf of my client, we'd like to thank the person who anonymously placed the bag in the doorway of her mother's residence, but we'd also like the person to come forward and cooperate with authorities," he said.
But police say no one tampered with anything. In a statement, Erie County Commissioner of Central Police Services John Glascott said investigators know where everything is, and that nothing is amiss.
"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. This includes the evidence in the rape kit and the packaging itself," the statement read. "This evidence has been analyzed and reports of that analysis sent to the appropriate agencies."
Hamburg Police in a statement Wednesday said it would "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," the statement read.
Eoannou called the latest developments unprecedented.
"In my 30 years-plus of being both a prosecutor and a defense attorney, I have never seen an evidence bag outside of a police lab, a prosecutor's office or a courtroom, let alone find one in the doorway of a rape victim's mother's home," he said.
The announcement comes days after reports surfaced detailing results from a rape kit conducted during the investigation. Those reports claimed no trace of Kane’s DNA was found on his accuser’s genitals or undergarments.
Kane's attorney, Paul Cambria, confirmed Wednesday that no trace of Kane's DNA was found from the waist down.
“We have a solid report from the technician who works for the county that none of my client’s DNA was found on the girl from the waist down," he said. “A quote "mixture" of DNA was found from males, and it’s not my client. And that’s important. And that has not been challenged.”
Cambria suggested his client had more to lose by compromised evidence, because so far, all tests had exonerated him from any attack.
"Obviously somebody else isn’t happy with the results," he said. "They would have a reason to say it’s compromised. We have none."
Cambria said he doesn't believe the evidence was compromised.
"We're happy with the results," he said. "We don't want anything to be compromised. And obviously would have no incentive to participate in compromising them."
Chicago criminal attorney Damon Cheronis noted that what is known as the chain of custody is a standard in all criminal proceedings.
“Everywhere the evidence goes, there is going to be a detailed report,” he said. “People who touch it have to sign off on it.”
“So now the question becomes, is that initial test something that could withstand scrutiny,” Cheronis observed. “If I’m Patrick Kane’s lawyers and the first test excluded me, I would certainly not want anything to have happened to that bag. And I’d want that first test to withstand scrutiny.”
Eoannou said that comments surrounding the case in the media and elsewhere have been "devastating" for the woman.
"This is supposed to be a secret investigation," he said. "People in the media, and I'm not saying anyone here, have been discussing semen in undergarments. She is absolutely devastated, this is a classic example why rape victims don't come forward in a rape case. It's the worst example of victim-bashing that I have seen."
NHL Deputy Commissioner Bill Daly said he had no comment on the development, but noted that as far as he knows, Kane's status with the team remains "unchanged."
Kane was back on home ice Tuesday night when the Blackhawks played the Detroit Red Wings in a pre-season game.
Before the game, the winger spoke about what it’s like to return to play for Chicago fans during the time of intense scrutiny.
“Driving in I saw some #88 jerseys walking into the building and things like that so it’s pretty cool to see,” Kane said. “I think the fans have always been great here, but especially the fact that in this last week or whatever it has been. You know, the support has been great. It’s kind of what you’d come to expect from Chicago fans so it’s exciting.”
Several media outlets in Buffalo have reported that a woman accused Kane of sexually assaulting her at his home last month, but the Hamburg Police Department will only confirm that they are investigating an alleged incident at Kane's home.
Erie County prosecutors reportedly postponed grand jury proceedings involving the investigation earlier this month.
Kane has not been charged with any crime and District Attorney Frank Sedita and police have not disclosed details of the case since announcing their investigation last month.
There had been reports in recent weeks that the two sides had been in talks to reach a civil monetary settlement. Both lawyers denied that Wednesday.
“They said at one point Pat and I met with the girl and her attorney. It’s just not true,” Cambria said. “I have had no discussions with any lawyer about settlement. And that’s it!”