NORTH ADAMS — A rape charge against a city man was dropped Friday after new evidence surfaced.

Gerald Richardson, 33, was charged with raping a woman in a tent last July, after a night of drinking.

The incident, reported to North Adams Police the next day by a 26-year-old woman, was alleged to have occurred behind a North Holden Street residence.

But Facebook messages between Richardson and the alleged victim were brought forward in February by his attorney, Edmund St. John III.

"There exists a substantial change of circumstances in this case," St. John wrote in a Feb. 22 motion to reduce Richard's $15,000 bail.

The messages, dated July 7, 2017, and July 8, 2017, "demonstrate that the sexual encounter between the defendant and the complainant was consensual."

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The motion does not elaborate on the content of the messages, but St. John wrote that copies were provided to the Berkshire District Attorney's Office, which agreed to releasing Richardson on personal recognizance.

On Friday, prosecutors officially dropped the charges of rape and indecent assault and battery on a person over 14 years old.

A warrant had been issued for Richardson's arrest July 11, but he was not arraigned in Northern Berkshire District Court until Jan. 31.

A single count of assault and battery against Richardson remains open.

Adam Shanks can be reached at ashanks@berkshireeagle.com, at @EagleAdamShanks on Twitter, or 413-629-4517.