One Minnesota mother is having a little trouble believing Minnesota nice can be found inside Target stores after a teen exposed himself to her and employees refused to call police.
"I'm a sex assault survivor, so my hands began to shake and I began to cry," Kristin Clouse recalled. "I called for my husband right away."
Yet even after screaming for help, Clouse says the staff inside the Lakeville Super Target store refused to call police because they said they weren't allowed to.
Clouse told FOX 9 News she was in the toy section of the store when the culprit struck. Her 8-year-old and 11-year-old children where in the next aisle when a man dropped his pants and walked the full length of the aisle, maintaining eye contact the entire time.
"Exposing yourself to someone is often the very first step in a pattern of deviant sexual behavior that often leads to aggressive sexual attacks," Clouse warned.
Still, what shocked her more than the indecent exposure itself was the treatment she received from the employees after the incident.
"When I talked to the manager, I said, 'I need police to come right away. I need your security personnel. I need police,'" Clouse said. "I was told, 'We won't call police. It's store policy.'"
Target says there is no such policy in place. Police say in most cases the dispatchers would prefer to speak with the person with most direct knowledge, but there is no reason anyone should not call 911 in a case like this.
"We'd like anyone to help when someone is asking for assistance," said Lakeville Police Chief Tom Vonhof. "This is something we'd like anyone to do, regardless of what their position is."
Clouse said the manager told her she was welcome to call police herself, and officers eventually found the suspect -- a minor with mental health issues -- in the store with his mother. Still, Clouse said she is much less concerned about punishing a boy who may not know better than she over how the incident was handled by employees.
"I am not OK with anybody just dismissing this as, 'She just got flashed,'" Clouse said. "It's not OK."
Though Target says its stores are "committed to working closely with law enforcement and our guests to address any concerns or incidents," Clouse says her confidence is shaken.
"My concern is that I felt like when I go to Target now, if a crime is committed against me, I'm on my own," she said.
WHBQ-TV | Fox 13
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