According to a report in today’s Buffalo News—and apparently contradicting the bar owner’s previous account—the woman who accused Patrick Kane of overpowering and raping her at his Buffalo-area home did not want to leave the bar with him to go to his house, but instead went along with a friend who did.

From the News’ story:

“They were at SkyBar, and Kane invited them to his home. Her friend really wanted to go to Kane’s house, and she didn’t want her friend to go there alone,” a friend of the woman told The Buffalo News. “It wasn’t her idea to go there.”

Two other sources who are familiar with the Kane rape allegation – a law enforcement official and a member of Buffalo’s legal community – gave similar information to The News about what led the alleged victim to go to Kane’s residence.

The woman who allegedly was raped at Kane’s home was not the woman who wanted to go there, the law enforcement official said.

This shouldn’t need to be said, but it probably does: it doesn’t matter if an alleged victim willingly goes home with someone, or if she’s all over the accused earlier in the night—none of that has anything to do with ultimate consent. Nothing that happened at SkyBar matters to this investigation. But these accounts— especially the one from the law-enforcement source, who would presumably be relaying what the woman told investigators—very much matter in further emphasizing why giving the bar owner a platform was a poor and irresponsible editorial decision.

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SkyBar’s owner, Mark Croce, had told the News that a woman was “hanging all over” Kane and “being very forward, very flirtatious with him,” and “followed” Kane when he left. Croce’s implication was clear: whatever happened later at Kane’s house, the woman was partially to blame. (Croce’s motivation for talking was just as transparent: he was attempting to avoid criminal and civil liability, and to protect his bar’s most famous patron. The News didn’t see fit to mention that, though.)

But at the end of Croce’s victim-blaming spiel, he acknowledged that he couldn’t be sure the woman he saw was the one accusing Kane. It appears, given today’s revelations, that she was not. The News’ inexplicable decision to print Croce’s remarks now looks even worse.

Reporting on an ongoing investigation is tricky in the best of times, and when it involves alleged sexual assault, it requires an added level of propriety. The Buffalo News has generally done great work on this story. (Really, the only work on this. The paper has been responsible for just about every development, while the national outlets have been curiously absent.) But giving a forum to Croce’s biased and inaccurate account was a massive lapse, and judging from some of the comments and feedback we’ve seen, it’s already become the narrative of choice for those already inclined to disbelieve the accuser. There is no timeline for statements from investigators, or a decision to bring or not bring charges, but the court of public opinion is already, depressingly, in session.

[Buffalo News]