The remaining attorney representing the woman who has accused hockey star Patrick Kane of raping her says, if asked, she will cooperate in the investigation into the brown paper bag that was erroneously described as containing rape kit evidence in the case.
Attorney Roland M. Cercone says Erie County District Attorney Frank A. Sedita III’s news conference Friday left some with the impression that the young woman had refused to participate in the investigation of the alleged mishandling of the bag.
Sedita determined the bag, which had a sticker with her name, date of birth and the initials of a nurse, represented a hoax carried out by the woman’s mother to cast doubt on the credibility of the DNA evidence in the case. The district attorney on Saturday said it was never his intention to question the woman’s willingness to cooperate.
In a letter to the editor released exclusively to The Buffalo News on Saturday night, Cercone stated:
“For the record, no one has asked to speak to the complainant regarding the latest incident. I suspect this is so because their investigation has already revealed that she had no knowledge of – or anything to do with – this entire fiasco.
Sedita said his investigators plan to interview the alleged victim in the near future to determine if she had any knowledge or role in the hoax.
“I wasn’t trying to suggest she was being uncooperative,” said Sedita, pointing out that he was simply stating a fact at the news conference that the woman had two attorneys initially representing her.
Attorney Thomas J. Eoannou, whose law offices are in the same Delaware Avenue building where Cercone also maintains offices, resigned from the case late Thursday after determining he was given false information about the alleged evidence bag.
Sedita’s investigation determined that the mother, who had given Eoannou the bag after claiming to find it placed between the storm door and front door of her home Tuesday, carried out an elaborate hoax.
Last Sunday, The News had reported that testing on DNA collected in the rape kit examination had determined Kane’s DNA had not been found in the woman’s pelvic area.
The mother, Sedita said, denied taking the bag home from the hospital. But it was in her home when one of the Hamburg detectives arrived there to collect a “top” her daughter had been wearing hours earlier on Aug. 2 at Kane’s Hamburg mansion, where the alleged attack occurred.
The nurse, Sedita said, had given the mother the hospital bag to place the top into for safekeeping because the garment was considered evidence.
Cercone, in his letter, says he does not believe Sedita was trying to send a veiled message that his client was uncooperative.
Sedita said his intention Friday was to address the allegation that the chain of custody for evidence in the case was flawed.
“What I was addressing strictly was the issue of whether or not there was evidence tampering. If there was not evidence tampering, I wanted to provide an explanation to the public of what was going on.
“The allegations went far beyond this case. They went to the integrity of the process and public confidence in the integrity of the process,” Sedita said. “Given what I was trying to do, it wasn’t necessary at that point to speak to the complainant.”
Kane’s attorney, Paul J. Cambria, ripped into Cercone’s remarks Saturday night.
“My response is, spare me all the pompous BS. Everyone else knew what they were trying to do,” he said. “According to Rollie, I guess we are supposed to believe that his client was the only one in Western New York who didn’t know what they were trying to pull off.”
Here is Cercone’s entire letter to the editor:
“What a Mess! What a Circus!
“My name is Roland M. Cercone. I am an attorney whose name has been associated with a high-profile case in this area.
“Not much surprises me after 30 years of practice, including years as the chief prosecutor in the Sex Offense Unit of the Erie County District Attorney’s Office. However, the misrepresentations this case has generated have reached the point of indeed being a circus.
“Recently, it was reported that I am a member of the law offices of attorney Thomas J. Eoannou. This is simply not true. I have my own firm and happen to occupy space in the same building as Mr. Eoannou.
“More troubling is the fact that it has been alleged that I or others have refused to let the complainant in this matter speak with the district attorney or his investigators. Nothing could be further from the truth.
“When asked if the District Attorney’s Office had spoken with the complainant, Frank Sedita responded that she is represented by counsel. I am confident he did not mean to imply that counsel refused to permit the complainant to speak with his office, but that is certainly what people inferred. And that is how easy it is to have the truth misrepresented.
“For the record, no one has asked to speak to the complainant regarding the latest incident. I suspect this is so because their investigation has already revealed that she had no knowledge of – or anything to do with – this entire fiasco. However, should the district attorney wish to speak with my client, she is ready, willing, and able to cooperate, as she has always done throughout this investigation. I reiterate: never has my client refused to speak or cooperate with the District Attorney’s Office when asked to do so. Any time the district attorney has asked her to come to his office, she has cooperated fully. Now is no exception.
“Sadly, this circus has drawn attention from the pope’s visit to our country, and from his message, among other things, that we should pray for one another. Maybe it’s time that we take that advice.
• Pray for the young lady whose life has been irreparably damaged and forever altered
• Pray for Patrick Kane and his family, who undoubtedly have been adversely affected by this incident
• Pray for the District Attorney’s Office to stay the course
• Pray for those so anxious to report stories in this case
• Pray for those who leak information, whether accurate or not
• Pray for those who spend so much time commenting about this case on social media, instead of examining themselves
• As he requested, pray for Pope Francis
• And certainly, pray for truth and righteousness to prevail
“To date, I have not once spoken with any member of the media, nor have I leaked any information. In fact, I have until today had no desire to comment on this case whatsoever. However, the leaks and misrepresentations have simply gotten out of hand. I do not plan to comment any further in this matter, and prefer instead to allow due process to take its natural course, without any further misrepresentations, untruths, or inaccurate speculation.
“I pray that everyone does the same.
Deacon Roland M. Cercone.
Cercone serves as a deacon at Mount Olive Baptist Church in Buffalo.
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