Sanford Police said Friday that a sexual assault reported by a 13-year-old boy this week near his middle school did not happen.

But the boy’s mother said the police have it wrong, and that her son is adamant that he was the victim of a sexual assault on a trail between Sanford Middle School and the Sanford skate park, and that several concussions have impaired his ability to remember dates accurately.

Police said they made the determination that no crime had occurred by conducting interviews and by reviewing surveillance footage. It was a turnabout from when police had warned the public this week in the wake of the report and asked for tips about the alleged incident.

“My son has memory recollection issues,” the boy’s mother said. “He recalled his exact day, exactly as it happened, but obviously it was the wrong day that they investigated and looked at. So I think the statement that came out is very premature.”

The boy told police on Wednesday that he was assaulted while taking a walk to cool down from a workout and was between the middle school and a city skate park near the Sanford-Springvale YMCA, and that more than one person was responsible.

The mother spoke about what happened with permission of her son, but the Portland Press Herald is not identifying her because to do so would identify the boy.


Deputy Police Chief Eric Small did not return a request for an interview or respond to questions sent by email Friday night, including whether anyone would be charged with filing a false report.

The trail where the boy said he was assaulted is part of the Mousam Way trail system, a nearly four-mile long network of mostly paved trails, stretching from Gowan Park on the south end to the Sanford-Springvale YMCA on the north end. Trail-goers can reach the Sanford Armory, high school and middle school.

The mother on Friday said police informed her that they did not believe the attack took place and questioned her son about whether he had made the story up.

“They were talking to him like he was lying right from the start,” she said. “Which made him very uncomfortable.”

The mother said her son reported the assault Wednesday, first to a close friend, then to a guidance counselor and the school resource officer. The next day, he was interviewed by a specialist at a child advocacy center. As the interview took place, a police detective watched from another room, she said.

Police took two sets of clothing from the family as evidence, and doctors collected a sexual assault kit from him at a hospital Wednesday after he first reported the incident.

A detective called her Friday to say that police would not be pursuing the case, but that they were not closing off all chances of further investigation. Then detectives came to her home and interviewed her son.

“They tried to give him an out, (saying) ‘It’s OK, let us know, you’re not going to be in trouble for lying,’ and he’s crying and saying, ‘This did happen to me,'” she said. “They’re making him feel like he is crazy.”

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