Chicago Blackhawks forward Patrick Kane can finally Dane Fletcher Jerseyfocus solely on his NHL career after avoiding criminal charges in a rape investigation, with prosecutors ending a bizarre three-month ordeal that put one of hockey's biggest stars at the center of intense speculation and criticism.
Prosecutors announced Thursday they declined to file charges against Kane because of a lack of credible evidence in a case ''rife with reasonable doubt.'' The accuser signed an affidavit saying she did not want to press charges, prosecutors said.
Erie County District Attorney Frank Sedita said a three-month investigation found that physical and forensic evidence ''tend to contradict'' the accuser's claim that she was raped on Aug. 2 at Kane's offseason home outside Buffalo.
''The DNA results lend no corroboration whatsoever to the complainant's claim,'' said Sedita, who decided against presenting the case to a grand jury for possible charges.
It's not immediately clear whether Kane could face disciplinary action from the National Hockey League. Deputy Commissioner Bill Daly said the league wouldn't comment until reviewing the prosecutor's findings.
At 26, Kane is one of the NHL's top young stars and has won three Stanley Cup championships in Chicago over the past six years, including last season.
He had been in trouble before, too, arrested after an altercation Braylon Edwards Jerseywith a cab driver in Buffalo in the summer of 2009. Photos of him partying are easily found online.
But the assault case brought by a woman he had met at a nightclub was by far the most serious allegation Kane had faced.
The high-profile investigation led to Kane's removal from the cover of a popular NHL video game and fan chants of ''She said no!'' and ''No means no!'' during a couple of early road games.
Kane, the first pick in the 2007 draft, hasn't shown any signs of distraction on the ice. With a goal and assist in a 6-5 overtime loss to St. Louis on Wednesday night, Kane's 18 points (eight goals, 10 assists) in 13 games have him ranked third in the NHL's scoring race. Two of his goals have been game-winners, and he's tied for the league lead with four power-play goals.
Sedita's decision to not pursue charges came after signs of trouble with the investigation first appeared in September.
In a strange series of events, the accuser's initial attorney, Tom Eoannou, announced that the woman's mother had found an empty evidence bag in her doorway. The attorney quit the case a short time later, saying he no longer believed the mother's story.