Erie County (N.Y.) police commissioner Mark Glascott denied claims of evidence tampering in the Patrick Kane case made by the lawyer of the alleged victim in a statement released Wednesday. Thomas Eoannou, the lawyer for Kane's accuser, claimed during a news conference earlier in the day that an evidence bag containing a rape kit from the investigation had been tampered with.
Eoannou said Wednesday to reporters that an evidence bag, including a rape kit, from the investigation into a woman's allegations of sexual assault against Kane was tampered with and anonymously delivered to her mother's home Tuesday. He called for an independent investigation into how this development, which could have a significant impact on the case, occurred. He also said he had no knowledge of any settlement talks while answering questions from reporters.
Attorney for Patrick Kane accuser says a torn evidence bag from case appeared on doorstep of accuser's mother yesterday.— Stacy St. Clair (@StacyStClair) September 23, 2015
Bag had been opened. Accuser's lawyer requesting investigation by an independent authority as to how this happened.— Chris Hine (@ChristopherHine) September 23, 2015
Lawyer says the evidence bag from rape kit has been determined genuine, contained identity, birthday and information of the rape kit.— Frank Seravalli (@frank_seravalli) September 23, 2015
Eoannou said attorneys authenticated this was the real rape kit bag. This was "no hoax" he said.— Chris Hine (@ChristopherHine) September 23, 2015
Eoannou: In 30 years plus I have never seen an evidence bad outside police lab, courtroom or legal office.— Tim Graham (@ByTimGraham) September 23, 2015
Eoannou said he is unaware of any settlement offers.— Chris Hine (@ChristopherHine) September 23, 2015
The implications of tampered evidence could be significant.
"If you're looking for a sure-fire way to scuttle a prosecution, you tamper with evidence," attorney for Patrick Kane accuser says— Stacy St. Clair (@StacyStClair) September 23, 2015
The rape evidence bag should remain sealed and in the custody of the prosecution through trial, so this is a big deal.— Julie DiCaro (@JulieDiCaro) September 23, 2015
Possibly means someone go into evidence locker or secure location and was delivered to accuser's mother's home. Folded up as if thrown away.— Julie DiCaro (@JulieDiCaro) September 23, 2015
Eoannou wants FBI /another agency to get involved. Says he will have it independently tested and will turn it over to lindep law enforcement— Julie DiCaro (@JulieDiCaro) September 23, 2015
Wow. Raises Qs about every person who had custody of rape kit + could lead to investigation by NY Attorney General. https://t.co/4BsQG5cwvX— Michael McCann (@McCannSportsLaw) September 23, 2015
However, both the police commissioner and the Hamburg Police Department have now released statements denying the claims. Here's the Hamburg PD's statement:
In regard to the information conveyed today by Mr. Thomas Eoannou, the Hamburg Police Department will cooperate with any authorized investigation regarding the handling of evidence and the procedure of such. That said, The Hamburg Police Department has documentation that unequivocally demonstrates that its handling of the evidence and the integrity of its chain of custody of evidence in this case is unassailable. As is policy with active investigations, there will be no further comment regarding this situation.
At the moment, Kane's status with the Blackhawks and the NHL hasn't been affected.
NHL deputy commissioner Bill Daly says Patrick Kane's playing status remains unchanged. He's still in camp with the #blackhawks.— Chris Johnston (@reporterchris) September 23, 2015
A woman has accused Kane of sexual assault at his Hamburg, N.Y., home on Aug. 2. Kane, who played for the Blackhawks in their preseason opener Tuesday night, has not been charged with any crime. A grand jury was expected to begin reviewing evidence on the case this month.