The Lakeville Police Department said on Thursday that after an exhaustive investigation into an alleged violent assault in East Lake Community Park on March 27, there is no threat to the community in the area at this time.
The department said in a Facebook post that it “put in hundreds of hours investigating the case, including a neighborhood canvas, an extensive search of the park, following up on numerous tips, and executing several search warrants.”
Investigators concluded the assault never happened, according to a statement Lakeville Lt. Bill Gerl provided to the Pioneer Press on Friday.
“While we are fortunate to live in a largely safe community, we want to remind everyone to always use good safety habits,” the police said on Facebook. “We would also like to take the opportunity to acknowledge legitimate victims of assault. … The lengths Lakeville Police took to investigate the reported crime should give confidence to any victims that we always hear their voices, and we will always investigate the reported crime to the fullest.”
Gerl told the Pioneer Press that the case would be forwarded to the Dakota County Attorney’s Office for possible charges against the reporting party.
The reporting party, a woman in her 40s, said she was lured to a secluded area of the park at about 11 a.m. by a male who said that he needed help with someone who had fallen. She reported she went to help when she was attacked by the suspect. She reported she was able to get free from the attacker and ran from the area to get assistance. She was taken to Ridges Hospital to be evaluated for her injuries.
After the report, Lakeville Police issued a notice of precautions to take including not using the park alone, letting someone know where you will be and when you plan on returning home, carrying a cellphone, and reporting any suspicious activity or behavior immediately by calling 911.
The Lakeville Police said it used additional staffing to provide extra patrols in the area of northeast Lakeville.
An estimated 63 percent of sexual assaults are never reported to the police, while the prevalence of false reporting is low, according to a 2012 National Sexual Violence Resource Center report.