But have now said they are no longer investigating.
A police spokeswoman said: "Following an investigation it has now been established that no crime has been committed."
Notice that the December 31, 2010 story linked at the bottom of the page states, equivocally, that a rape occurred, starting with the title:
Woman raped on Sunderland footpath
A woman has been raped on a footpath in Sunderland.
The 23-year-old was attacked on the path overlooking Carley Hill Quarry, on Emsworth Road, between 1500 and 1600 GMT on 29 December.
Police said her attacker was white, in his late 40s or early 50s, with no front teeth.
He was wearing a black woollen hat and a red or orange waterproof jacket and had a grey dog with him which was not on a lead.
Acting Det Ch Insp Dave Willett, of Northumbria Police, said: "This was a nasty attack and a terrible ordeal for the young woman concerned.
"People will understandably be concerned but I would like to reassure them that we're doing everything we can to piece together what happened and catch the offender."
He appealed for anyone with information to contact police.