No true winners in Patrick Kane investigation

Hang on for a minute...we're trying to find some more stories you might like.


Email This Story






Patrick Kane speaks during a press conference before the start of the Chicago Blackhawks training camp on Thursday, Sept. 17, 2015, at the University of Notre Dame's Compton Family Ice Center in South Bend, Ind. (Antonio Perez/Chicago Tribune/TNS)

Patrick Kane speaks during a press conference before the start of the Chicago Blackhawks training camp on Thursday, Sept. 17, 2015, at the University of Notre Dame’s Compton Family Ice Center in South Bend, Ind. (Antonio Perez/Chicago Tribune/TNS)

In early August, police began investigating an alleged rape in the home of Chicago Blackhawks superstar Patrick Kane in Hamburg, N.Y. Since then, the case has experienced a legal rollercoaster as evidence emerged suggesting that the accusation was false due to a lack of Patrick Kane’s DNA on the accuser’s lower body. This legal rollercoaster only intensified when the mother of the alleged victim made a claim that a bag containing evidence of her daughter’s alleged rape was left on her porch.

Erie County District Attorney Frank Sedita III evenutally deemed the incident a hoax, after which the victim’s lawyer, attorney Thomas J. Eoannou, dropped the victim’s case as he “no longer has confidence in the manner and means that bag came to (his) office.” He also said that he felt he had a moral obligation to drop the case because of his lack of confidence.

These events have understandably shifted public opinion on the legitimacy of the accuser’s claims. Regardless, it is imperative to give both parties the benefit of the doubt until the case is resolved. This, however, has been a problem for journalists covering the case, such as CBS Chicago’s Julie DiCario, who has received numerous death threats via social media for trying to maintain a neutral perspective in her coverage of the case. DiCario’s attempts to stay neutral have been interpreted by many Blackhawks fans as being partial to Kane’s accuser, despite her never suggesting that Kane was guilty.

This behavior towards DiCario shows the backlash that reporters often face when giving alleged rape victims the benefit of the doubt in their journalism. Other reporters covering the Kane case, such as ESPN radio host Sarah Spain, have also received threats for maintaining a neutral perspective on the case. Such backlash is similar to the adversity that rape victims are often faced with when reporting their rapes to authorities or when they reach out within their communities. In the current social climate, rape victims are unlikely to report their crimes because of such adversity. In fact, according to the Rape, Abuse and Incest National Network (RAINN), 68 percent of rapes are never reported.

Considering the disadvantages that rape victims already face, the results of major rape cases such as that of Kane become increasingly important. When a scandal gains this level of attention, the realities and horrors of sexual assault are given the spotlight necessary to incite progressive conversation. However, when the accusations in such cases end up being false, everyone who as ever faced adversity because of their sexual assaults suffers a loss. These scandals end up doing nothing more than cementing the prejudice against sexual assault victims that already exists in this nation.

With this in mind, however the Kane case is resolved, there is no happy ending. If Kane is guilty, that means an innocent girl was sexually assaulted and a role model for many hockey fans has fallen from grace. If he is innocent then people that have actually suffered from sexual assault will have the adversity they face reinforced.

Regardless of this unfortunate situation, there is an important conversation to be had. Sexual assault and victim shaming are realities that are not taken nearly as seriously as they should be. It is important for this conversation to remain on a national forefront longer than the end of the Kane trial. Sexual assault should not be a topic reserved for incidents involving celebrities.