By JOHN DORN
In a press conference Wednesday afternoon, Thomas Eoannou, the attorney representing the accuser in a rape case involving Chicago Blackhawks player Patrick Kane, claimed that crucial evidence was tampered with. The discovery was made when the evidence -- a rape kit -- was found at the doorstep of the accuser's mother.
The situation is incredibly puzzling and disconcerting -- and nobody is quite sure of how or why this was done. The kit was mailed anonymously to the accuser's mother's home, where she found it when she returned from a lunch. The bag was ripped open, leaving any DNA evidence compromised.
— Brad Edwards (@tvbrad) September 23, 2015
Eoannou is hopeful that a "good samaritan' was responsible for the delivery -- perhaps tipping off the accuser's family that the kit had been tampered with and a fair trial would be impossible. Conversely, this could've been an attempt to intimidate or mock the accuser.
It's also not known whether the accuser had come forward with her side of the story to anyone besides law enforcement.
Treatment of rape kits typically follows precise protocol, with each step being documented. They're usually sealed after initial testing, only to be opened again during trial by the DA.
It's too early to tell which direction this will swing Kane's case. Previous reports indicated that the kit lacked Kane's DNA -- but now, any claim regarding the evidence can and will be called into question. Regardless, since it's been tampered with, the kit can no longer be used during trial -- though Julie DiCaro of 670 The Score notes that the importance of actual DNA evidence will likely soon be usurped by other factors, including rape kit notes, testimonies and photos.
This isn't the first troubling development stemming from the Kane investigation. Around the time news had first leaked, the Buffalo News ran quotes from the owner of the bar in which the alleged incident occurred -- painting the accuser in a negative light and inferring that he and Kane were friendly. An off-duty Buffalo police officer who Kane employs as his chauffeur, was quick to dispute accusations made against Kane. That officer is now the subject of a separate investigation.
The Blackhawks had allowed Kane to participate in training camp and preseason games before Wednesday's news, and Chicago fans welcomed him with overwhelming cheers ahead of his preseason debut on Tuesday.
"I think support's been really good," Kane said after the game. "I think just driving in last night you see some 88 jerseys walking into the building and things like that. It's pretty cool to see."
More from today's news conference: