By Associated Press - Friday, February 19, 2021

SEATTLE (AP) - Rape, kidnapping and assault charges filed against a Kirkland man have been dropped by King County prosecutors after a police detective found evidence on the man’s cellphone that led investigators to believe his sexual encounter with a young Tacoma woman was consensual.

The case was covered by media outlets after Thomas Brownlee’s arrest on Aug. 30.

The Seattle Times reports charges were dismissed in January based on electronic communications between Brownlee and the woman, according to court records and Senior Deputy Prosecutor Emily Petersen.

“The nature of those conversations is that she agreed to participate in what I would describe as a rape fantasy,” Petersen said Thursday.

Petersen said Kirkland police are not seeking criminal charges against the 18-year-old woman. She was only identified in court documents by initials because of mitigating information uncovered during the investigation and she is receiving services to address the root cause of her behavior, Petersen said.

While the woman reportedly had developmental challenges, Petersen said there was insufficient evidence to prove she was incapable of consent.

Brownlee said he’s grateful for support from family and friends and that his parents had the resources to bail him out of jail and hire his defense team. He said he feels he was treated fairly by the criminal-justice system.

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