For weeks I refused to touch this story because even though it was a hot-button item, there wasn’t enough concrete evidence to go off of. It was a lot of guess-work and when it comes to court-cases, assumptions only leave you looking uniformed and biased. Dutifully, I refrained until more information came out.
As time went on, we learned that Patrick Kane, Chicago Blackhawk, Face of American Hockey and famous resident of Buffalo, New York, had retreated back home after winning the Stanley Cup and found himself accused of rape. Initially, everyone rushed to defend Kane, saying the girl wanted money, or that the accuser was, for lack of better terms, “a gold-digger”.
Things being what they are, a Rape Kit was eventually done on the accuser, which is commonplace and pretty standard when it comes to a charge like this. When that Rape Kit came back showing no DNA from Patrick Kane on the accuser’s genitals or underwear, many took it as vindication for Kane that he was wrongfully accused and this girl was using the system and his fame to file a false report and cash out.
The funny thing about that line of thinking is that the Rape Kit contained evidence that found Kane’s DNA under the accuser’s fingernails and on her shoulder.
That Rape Kit, as is the last report out of Buffalo, has been found now to have been tampered with and destroyed.
In the most obscene thing I can think of, the Rape Kit containing evidence involving Patrick Kane and the accuser was taken to the young lady’s house and found by her mother, the bag containing the contents having been ripped open and compromised. This bag contained DNA evidence tying Patrick Kane to the accuser via DNA on her fingernails and shoulders.
Having been ripped open and compromised, that piece of evidence has seen its Chain of Custody broken, and going forward, will probably be inadmissible in court.
It’s a hard-sell to say that anybody tied to the accuser would have anything to do with tampering with the evidence. It makes no sense logically. However, after confirmation that an off-duty cop drove Kane and his accuser to Kane’s house the night of the incident, it becomes much easier to believe that someone tied to the defense had something to do with an evidence bag being tampered with.
Without the Rape Kit, one of the most glaring pieces of the prosecution no longer becomes valid. And that is a blow to the prosecution and in a way, an aide to Kane’s defense team. You can’t say he was there or that he harmed her if there’s absolutely no admissible DNA that ties him to it.
The mere fact that the Rape Kit was tampered with means the Chain of Custody was broken. Unless Chain of Custody can be re-demonstrated, any evidence is absolutely useless. The minute the prosecution tries to present the Rape Kit in court, the defense will call in to question its integrity, asking how many hands have touched the evidence and how the evidence can be considered uncompromised.
Sad, but true.
Still, the insanity of this situation casts doubt on the whole process of this investigation. How can an off-duty cop drive home Kane and a girl who for all intents and purposes wouldn’t have been able to consent? How is it possible that someone was able to anonymously grab a Rape Kit, take it to a victim’s home and compromise the evidence? Pardon the language, but how in the hell is that even a possibility, much less a reality?
Sadly, it comes back to the unfortunate truth that as a society, we do far too much to protect our athletes. We turn the other cheek and try to make excuses for them. It’s the same mindset that allowed Jameis Winston to sexually assault a young woman and get away with it. It’s the same culture that allows Greg Hardy to do inhumane things to a female and still have a job. It’s the same culture that allows athletes at Notre Dame to sexually assault a female student and have it swept under the rug by the university.
Moreover, this idea that the accuser is automatically lying, that she wanted it and just changed her mind during it, that the accuser is after money or has an alterior motive, needs to stop. Rape culture in this country is absolutely horrid and sadly, this whole case in a showcase in that.
This case and others like it, the characteristics, behaviors and actions that have been shown throughout, are the reason that rape doesn’t get reported nearly as much as it should.
Instead treating an accusation with the severity and the seriousness it deserves, we immediately jump to slut-shaming, and worse.
In the case of athletes, we worry more about whether they can suit up that night and don the colors of our favorite teams over the moral integrity that we all should have in regards to cases like this.
Tragically, we are all guilty of that to a point.
This whole situation is a mess. It’s an absolute shambles.