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Forum staff reports, Published December 16 2013

Police investigate West Fargo woman's report of fighting off sexual assault

WEST FARGO – A woman here reported to police that two men forced their way into her apartment Sunday evening and tried to sexually assault her, but she fought back and the men fled, according to a news release from West Fargo police.

According to the release, officers were sent to the apartment in the 400 block of Sixth Street East shortly after 7:30 p.m. Sunday.

They went there to check on a woman who had been texting with a friend but had stopped replying. Her text messages had mentioned two men she did not know knocking on her door, the release said.

When officers arrived, the distraught woman explained that about an hour earlier, she had opened the door and the two men had forced their way inside, the release said.

One of the men grabbed her hair and restrained her, while the other man unzipped his pants, exposed himself and forced his midsection toward her mouth, the release said.

The woman fought back and screamed, and after about 30 seconds, the men left the apartment. The woman was not injured, the release said.

West Fargo Assistant Police Chief Michael Reitan said the officer who issued the news release Monday morning did so in error.

β€œIt needed further investigation before any type of press release was made,” he said.

Reitan said investigators are still trying to determine what exactly happened. He said the information in the police report differed from what went into the news release, but he declined to elaborate.

The woman gave police a description of the men, but Reitan said the public does not need to be looking for them.

The assistant chief said investigators are talking with the woman and other residents of the apartment building to gather more information. Police will provide an update when more information is available, he said.