The mother of a woman who has accused Blackhawks star Patrick Kane of sexual assault perpetrated an “elaborate hoax” when she delivered an evidence bag to her attorney, the Erie County District Attorney said Friday.
“It’s a bizarre hoax,” D.A. Frank Sedita told reporters. “It’s a dog and pony show.”
The saga began unfolding Wednesday, when the family’s lawyer, Thomas Eaonnou told reporters the alleged victim’s mother had found the evidence bag inside the door of her home Tuesday afternoon. At that time, he suggested the bag had once contained the woman’s rape kit, and called into question all of the test results, which reportedly had excluded Kane’s DNA.
But by last night, Eaonnou had withdrawn the accusation, declaring he had been misled by the mother, and announcing he was resigning from the case.
“I don’t know how the bag got on the porch,” he said. “I don’t have confidence in the version that was relayed to me.”
At a Friday news conference, Sedita said the rape kit was never in the bag. Rather, he said, rape kits come in boxes, and he walked the assembled reporters through a step by step analysis of when and where the alleged victim’s kit was collected and eventually placed in a locker at the police crime lab. He even showed a surveillance video of the box being signed in.
“New questions arise,” he said. “And now I have to figure out where we go from here.”
Sedita said on the morning after the alleged attack, the young woman had gone to her mother’s home and changed her top, before driving with her mother to the hospital. Hospital personnel, he said, sent her home with the empty evidence bag, so she could package the top for later collection by investigators. But when police finally arrived, they placed the top in a bag of their own, and the one the hospital provided was unused.
“This is a rape kit,” he said, waving a sample box in front of him. “It is a box. As you can plainly see, it is not a bag!”
Even though Sedita was clearly angered by what he repeatedly termed a hoax, he said it was unlikely the woman would face charges.
“What she did, clearly immoral, is not illegal under New York Law,” he said. “If you lie to an attorney, you’re not under oath, and you bamboozle an attorney, and you create this manufactured ruse, it’s not a crime!”
Minutes later, Kane’s lawyer Paul Cambria suggested mother and daughter alike should face charges, noting the daughter, the alleged victim, knew full well that the bag had been intended for her shirt, and that it never contained the rape kit at all.
“The girl knew that an item of her clothing is what was in this bag,” he said. “And then later on, we saw no effort to stop this hoax from going forward.”
Cambria said at the very least, the mother, and possibly the daughter, should be investigated for possible obstruction.
“There’s no room in the system for this kind of hoax,” he said. “It corrupts it to the core.”
For his part, Sedita seemed to be more concerned about the overall investigation, which he said continues. Although for the first time, he held out the possibility that the case could simply go away.
“The question in my mind is not when this case will go to a grand jury,” he said. “The question in my mind is if this case will go to a grand jury.”
In the meantime, he questioned the speed with which Eaonnou had handled the initial accusation.
“He had sent us a couple of text photos of these bags, and that is when we started to commence our investigation,” he said. “He just made a decision to call a press conference and drop the bomb which kind of blew up in his face.”