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Patrick Kane not likely to face criminal charges in sexual assault case, per report

The investigation into allegations of sexual assault against Patrick Kane reportedly won't make it to a grand jury.

Bruce Fedyck-USA TODAY Sports

The investigation into allegations of sexual assault against Patrick Kane is unlikely to lead to criminal charges, report Tim Graham, Lou Michel and Dan Herbeck of The Buffalo News. Authorities have been investigating the case since a woman told police in early August that she was raped at Kane's offseason home in New York.

Now "it appears no criminal charges will be filed against the Chicago Blackhawks hockey star," according to the News. The same sources also reportedly said that they don't believe the case will be heard by a grand jury, which had been delayed in September after new developments arose.

Last month, Erie County district attorney Frank A. Sedita III declined to discuss details of the investigation with reporters during a press conference. He did deny previous claims of improper handling of evidence in the case -- which led to the withdrawal of the accuser's lawyer, Thomas Eoannou -- and said that he had doubts about the direction of the investigation. "The question in mind is not when this will go to the grand jury. The question in my mind is if this goes to a grand jury," Sedita said that day.

Sedita, who is expected to win a state judge seat Tuesday when he runs unopposed, declined comment to the News more recently. "I am waiting for the investigation to be completed to my satisfaction and to confer with the assigned prosecutor, who is on her vacation six time zones away, before announcing anything further," Sedita said.

Kane and his lawyer, Paul J. Cambria, have repeatedly denied the allegations and claimed the 26-year-old's innocence. While the investigation has been undergoing, the Blackhawks have stood by their star winger and allowed him to participate in training camp and the early portion of the season despite controversy. Based on the latest report in the case, it doesn't seem likely Kane will miss any time at all. He's currently among the NHL's league leaders in scoring.

An important thing to note is that a civil suit against Kane is still possible even if the criminal case is dropped. The burden of proof is much lower in civil trials than criminal ones:

To win at a civil trial, the plaintiff must only prove a "preponderance of evidence" shows the defendant is liable for the act, rather than "beyond a reasonable doubt" standard that exists in criminal trials.

As the News notes, a civil trial could open up some entirely new questions for both the Hawks and the NHL. So just because authorities decide not to pursue criminal charges against Kane does not mean this situation is over.

Read the full articles over The Buffalo News for the complete details on their latest reporting. Kane has responded by declining to comment. "Those are just reports, and not really any facts or anything so far," Kane told the Chicago Sun-Times' Mark Lazerus. "So for me to comment on that would be going against what we’ve been doing the whole time, so I’m not really going to say much about it until the district attorney addresses everything and he make his decision."