BUFFALO, N.Y. (WIVB) — Just under a week ago, Patrick Kane spoke his first words to the public denouncing rape allegations against him, but a woman and her attorney who claim she is the victim of the sexual assault are firing back.
Thomas Eoannou, an attorney who represents clients in criminal cases, appeared in front of a packed room of media outlets and issued a stern message. He announced his client’s evidence had been tampered with, and the entire investigation could be in jeopardy.
“It was never my intention to comment or try this case in the media,” Eoannou said. “However, during the course of this investigation, multiple leaks to the media have occurred. Leaks from law enforcement about the physical evidence, the DNA, the lack of Kane’s DNA have all been troublesome to say the least.”
Patrick Kane has not been charged with any crime.
Eoannou called into question the reports, published by various media outlets using unnamed sources who wished not to be named due to their inability to speak publicly on the matter.
“It was reported yesterday, quote, ‘DNA tests found DNA evidence of at least one person, and possibly one or two more, in her genital area, but no traces of any DNA from Kane,'” he said. “It was also reported, that quote, ‘Two unknown semen samples in Kane’s victim’s rape kit,’ close quote.”
Kane, who is under investigation by police following accusations of rape by Eoannou’s client, has maintained his innocence in the matter and only spoken to the press once publicly. However Eoannou said the covert battle being fought in the press is more than concerning.
“The consequence of all of this has been to discount my client to the public,” Eoannou said. “And as concerning as this has been, we have encountered a far more concerning situation.”
Paul Cambria, Patrick Kane’s defense attorney, confirmed some results of DNA tests conducted in the case. He said none of Kane’s DNA was located on the lower half of her body.
Eoannou said after the second report surfaced in the press, the original bag of evidence, belonging to his client’s case, appeared at the home of the victim’s mother. Eoannou said an anonymous person delivered it to the home. He presented the evidence bag to the public, visibly torn open.
“The bag has a label on it. It contains my client’s identity. It contains my client’s birthday. It contains the location where the rape kit was done, and it confirms the nurse’s initials who performed the rape kit,” Eoannou said. “It is authentic.”
Eoannou said he conferred with law enforcement and medical personnel tirelessly to confirm the authenticity of the tampered with bag.
“It never leaves law enforcement or the district attorney’s office,” Eoannou said. “In my 30 years plus of being both a prosecutor and a defense attorney, I have never seen an evidence bag outside of a police lab, a prosecutor’s office or a court room. Let alone find one in the doorway of a rape victim’s mother’s home.”
The entire investigation now, Eoannou said, and any results gleaned thus far from it, could be under question.
“We don’t know what was found where. We have an evidence bag that was ripped open, something was either taken out of it, or placed in another bag,” Eoannou said. “I do know what is normally in it — the evidence.”
Cambria commented on the unsure nature of the bag’s discovery. He said Kane has nothing to lose by this discovery, as they were happy with DNA results gained after Kane submitted to testing.
Eoannou provided pictures of the evidence bag, after a person brought it forward, noting how an evidence bag would typically be kept and safeguarded from tampering.
Cambria, however, said he’s not certain of where — if ever — tampering could have occurred in the handling of the evidence bag. He noted lab technicians could have completed testing without any tampering.
Hamburg Police released a statement on Facebook saying they have faith in their investigation and their lab technicians.
“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,” a Hamburg Police official wrote. “As is policy with active investigations, there will be no further comment regarding this situation.”
In light of the new evidence, Eoannou said he is calling for an independent investigation into the handling of the case. He issued a call for help to the Federal Bureau of Investigation, New York State Police and other police sources who can handle an investigation of this magnitude — one which involves the Erie County District Attorney’s Office, the Hamburg Police Department and that centers around an NHL superstar.
After calling for the help of an independent agency, he also thanked the Good Samaritan who dropped off the official evidence bag and pleaded for that person to come forward to him, so they can be involved in the investigation as well.
Eoannou said the only reason he came forward is to put forward the new evidence to police and to publicly address any mishandling of the evidence in the public eye.
“Hopefully they get to the bottom of how the bag was opened, by whom, and when, where the real evidence is, and it is established why anyone would have the incentive to tamper with a rape kit,” Eoannou said.
Cambria, too, called for the investigation of the new evidence, however he said the District Attorney’s office should handle it. He noted there’s no evidence to suggest they improperly handled the case before the discovery of the evidence bag.
Hamburg Police, who originally handled the investigation due to the location of the alleged rape, said in their statement that they will cooperate with any authorized investigation regarding the handling of evidence and procedure of such.
It remains to be seen if a new investigation will be conducted. News 4 has reached out to Erie County District Attorney Frank Sedita, however he has declined to comment.
Eoannou brought the focus of the investigation back to his client — who he says is the victim of a rape — saying she has been a victim of a potentially botched investigation and is further suffering as a victim of public rape victim bashing.
“It’s atrocious. In this case, it has been absolutely devastating to my client. This is supposed to be a secret investigation,” Eoannou said. “People in the media — and i’m not saying anybody here — have been discussing people’s semen in her undergarments. She is absolutely devastated. This is a classic example for why victims don’t come forward in rape cases.”
Eoannou called media coverage of the rape case the worst case of victim bashing he had ever witnessed.