No true winners in Patrick Kane investigation

No true winners in Patrick Kane investigation
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.

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  • P

    PeterOct 8, 2015 at 7:35 am

    Rapes are a horrific crime and the piece covering this accusation was well written, and contained most but not all of the facts. When a rape occurs it has lasting effects on the victim sometimes lasting for years, even lingering for the rest of some victim’s lives in some way. You also pointed out that a false rape accusation damages the perception of credibility of former and future victims of sexual assault. I totally agree. There is another equally important fact that was left out of this article..even.a false accusation will follow Patrick Kane for the rest of his life. Some people will have only seen the accusation report, will not see any followup reports. The way some people digest their news, they will convict Kane of rape and be done with it. There is a price that Kane has already paid. If he is guilty he will hopefully be punished accordingly. If he is innocent of this assault, he is the victim and the only one who will be affected by this story. Patrick Kane deserves the energy of reporting an exoneration as was given to the initial reporting of the arrest.

  • J

    just some dudeOct 7, 2015 at 12:53 pm

    If Kane is innocent, that means he was wrongfully accused and a role model for many hockey fans has been irreparably harmed. If he is guilty then men that have actually suffered from false rape accusations will be even further marginalized.

    False accusations and alleged-perpetrator shaming are realities that are not taken nearly as seriously as they should be.

    Regardless, it is imperative to give respect the legal process and the american core value of innocent until proven guilty. This, however, has been a problem for journalists covering the case, such as, well, almost EVERY SINGLE ONE!

  • T

    TomOct 6, 2015 at 3:11 pm

    While rape is a horrible assault on a typically weaker person, false accusations of such attacks are reprehensible smears of character. As a politician said many years ago, after defending himself from a false accusation (not rape) – “Where do I go to get my reputation back?” Kane will suffer because of this, and it appears he is innocent of all charges.

    If liberals want to protect those who are true victims of these crimes, then stop making excuses for those who harm the entire conversation. False accusations set back your cause, so start figuring that out, and go after the liars.

  • K

    KyleOct 6, 2015 at 6:33 am

    “If he is innocent?” He’s presumed innocent. There is no “if”. Women need to stop lying about rape. It’s one of the oldest accusations women make, for a variety of benefits. There is such a strong visceral reaction because of how abhorrently frequent women lie about rape, and how women such as you never denounce these fraudsters.

    • J

      JayOct 7, 2015 at 6:45 pm

      This is disturbing. I don’t deny that some people out there lie about their rape crime, but you cannot state this like its fact. How on earth have you determined this statistic?

  • R

    Richard MOct 5, 2015 at 4:02 pm

    I agree with Chavez. Men are subjected to public scrutiny while the accuser is shielded sometimes even after the complaint is determined to be not credible or even if it is provably false. Due to the publicity surrounding rape cases and other accusations (say of the police) where the allegations turn out to be false, people including myself are highly questionable of any accusations. Would be better if they were made public after an investigation. I have no idea what happened but I certainly lean to “it did not happen as alleged” until I see any evidence contrary.

  • J

    julia purvisOct 5, 2015 at 9:03 am

    You are mistaken.
    …If he is innocent, Patrick Kane’s reputation, career and faith in the “justice” system is irreparably harmed, while the false accuser has zero consequence, and carries on as before.
    Could you imagine the agony of waiting for months wondering if you were going to be charged with a crime you didn’t commit, by an accuser who has nothing to lose and everything to gain?
    It is no wonder you are getting called out for your bias.

  • C

    ChavezOct 5, 2015 at 7:19 am

    Simple solution: Protect the name of the accused like we do that of the accuser. We shouldn’t know either of those until a trial begins and a court process determines who is telling the truth.