In a three-part series, the Duluth News-Tribune looks into a police investigation of an alleged sexual assault. Andrew Lawrence, 17, was accused of rape by a 34-year-old woman who lived a few blocks from him. He was arrested, but the charges against were eventually dropped. The case has left both the accused and the accuser feeling traumatized.
The woman still contends that someone broke into her home, put a gun to her throat, raped her and got away with it. And she says police were wrong to have dismissed the charges. Both sides share one belief: that the Superior Police Department mishandled the investigation. Lawrence and his family say he never should have been arrested and charged; the victim says that leads never were followed and potential witnesses never were interviewed. To Superior police, the sexual assault case is open. There is no middle ground in this story: Either Lawrence or his accuser is wrong.