Things are slowly starting to form in the Patrick Kane rape investigation, but we are still far away from any substantive conclusions to the case. News broke Thursday that a friend of the woman accusing Kane of sexual assault will be subpoenaed to appear before an Erie County grand jury Sept. 8. That female friend was with the accuser on the night of the alleged incident.
Now it appears that all witnesses at Kane’s home in Hamburg, N.Y., on the evening of the alleged assault will be subpoenaed to appear in front of the grand jury.
Presenting the case in front of a grand jury will be Erie Country District Attorney Frank Sedita III. The Chicago Tribune reports Sedita will use the grand jury to determine whether to indict Kane and that Sedita has a tendency to send similar high-profile cases to a grand jury, regardless of whether he plans on prosecuting the case. According to WGRZ.com in Buffalo, former Erie County D.A. Frank Clark said he did not expect a grand jury decision by the end of the month.
This means the grand jury hearing could continue well into preseason training camp for the Chicago Blackhawks. Although this certainly isn’t the most important aspect of this incident, there is a question as to whether Kane will appear at training camp when it begins on the campus of Notre Dame on Sept. 18.
Blackhawks spokesman Brandon Faber said he did not have an answer to that question when asked by the media this week. The Chicago Tribune also reports that some inside of the ’Hawks organization are fed up with Kane’s off-ice transgressions, and The Tribune added that the ’Hawks may consider placing Kane on a leave of absence.
Whether Kane shows up to training camp or not, the rest of the Blackhawks will surely face a slew of questions about the star winger. Some players have already commented on the situation, which is unwise.
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“I think you’ve just got to have confidence that things like that will resolve themselves over time,” captain Jonathan Toews told the Hustler and Lawless show. “And for the time being, you stay together as a team, you support your teammate [or] teammates that are maybe going through a rough patch. We saw it last year with some rumors that spread around social media about several guys in our locker room. It’s not the first time we’ve seen situations like that.”
Daniel Carcillo mentioned he had reached out to Kane to send support through text messages and said it was a tough situation. Bryan Bickell merely said he hopes it works out.
Either way, the Blackhawks’ PR staff will need to make sure the players don’t comment on Kane’s status any further. That includes during training camp. Any more comments supporting Kane do not look good for the franchise and give the impression of victim blaming, even though it’s unintended language.
There’s no end in sight to the Kane investigation, which means the Blackhawks will need to keep quiet until the dust settles. Training camp in South Bend will likely be more of a media circus than the Fighting Irish football game that Saturday, as Kane’s impact will be felt with or without his presence.
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