More than a week after the story broke, here’s what we know: Patrick Kane has been accused of raping a woman in his home. Hamburg Police are investigating the allegation while awaiting results of forensic tests. The district attorney’s office is looking into the case. Kane has not been charged with a crime.
You hope the allegation isn’t true because no sensible person would root for any crime, and particularly that crime, to be committed. At the same time, if a crime was committed, justice should be swift and severe. Only two people involved know exactly what happened.
It hasn’t stopped people from somehow drawing a conclusion without knowing the facts. This case has been dissected over dinner tables and ballgames and backyard parties. And let’s not forget the Internet, where anonymous people can line up to assess public blame.
My job calls for sharing my opinions. Often, it means taking a position. That’s why they pay me, but we’re not talking about the Bills’ starting quarterback or the Sabres needing a right-handed shooting defenseman. This isn’t about some athlete driving while intoxicated or getting into a barroom brawl. This is a rape allegation.
You want my position? My position is that people need to stop taking positions. They should allow everyone involved to perform their duties with the idea – the mere hope – that facts eventually will emerge and the legal system will work. Nothing good can come from conclusions drawn from speculation and fueled by emotion.
Public assumptions and comments that have been made without people knowing the facts need to cease. It includes SkyBar owner and real-estate developer Mark Croce, whose remarks about not having “skin in the game” and a woman flirting with Kane were way out of line.
So let’s take a deep breath and a step back while the case unfolds.
Two lives have been turned upside down before our eyes. Both could be ruined by the time the case is closed, if they’re not already.
This is no time to rush to judgment, whether you’re a sex-crimes expert or proud owner of a No. 88 jersey. It’s difficult to comprehend Kane would commit such a crime. It’s difficult to comprehend a woman would concoct such an allegation. Perhaps everyone can agree that there will be no winners.
By now, you have heard the rhetoric out there, how Kane’s accuser should have assumed that she wasn’t going to his mansion 15 miles away to play checkers. The argument is asinine. Going home with someone doesn’t equate to consent for sex.
I’ve heard from men and women who said Kane never should have placed himself in such a situation in the first place. I’ve heard from men and women who said Kane’s accuser never should have placed herself in such a situation. But that’s not the point, either.
Was a crime committed? We don’t know.
No matter the outcome, Kane will have supporters and detractors. If he’s charged and convicted, loyalists will claim he was set up while others who despise him will praise the justice system. If he’s never charged or convicted, people who never liked him will claim he was allowed to skate while others behind him will praise the justice system.
Hamburg Police and the district attorney’s office are trying to complete their investigation. They’re examining every detail and trying to uphold the law. Kane’s lawyers are doing the same to defend him to the best of their abilities. He lives under the same laws as everyone else in this country.
For now, people examining the case from a distance are conflicted. They’re uncomfortable. They’re upset. Count me among them. But it’s not for me, or anyone else on the periphery, to solve this case.
Our justice system isn’t perfect by any means. Guilty people have been set free, and innocent people have been sent to prison. But here’s hoping the justice system works. We have no better alternative.