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Rape charge stemming from concert encounter dropped

Bristol County prosecutors dropped a rape charge Thursday against a West Roxbury man arrested in July after Keith Urban concertgoers reported seeing him engaged in a sexual act with a female on the lawn of the Xfinity Center in Mansfield.

“Given the state of the evidence, the case had to be dismissed in the interest of justice,” said Gregg Miliote, spokesman for the Briston district attorney. “The family [of the woman] is on board with this decision.”

The charge was dismissed Thursday during a hearing in Attleboro District Court.

An attorney for 18-year-old Sean Murphy said his client was relieved by the news, but was deeply shaken by the fact that he had been charged at all.

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“This is still a completely devastating accusation to be made of someone who’s 18 years old and never been in trouble his whole life,” said attorney Steven Brooks. “He spent the night in [jail]. . . . That’s certainly going to change anybody’s perspective.”

Murphy had been accused of attacking the woman on July 26 while bystanders took pictures and video and reported what they had seen to police.

“It happened in a crowd and people saw it and assumed that because it was a young man on top of a young woman, and they both got up and went in different directions after, that it may have been a sexual assault,” said Brooks.

But Brooks said the encounter was consensual, though it demonstrated bad judgment. After Murphy was arraigned, he said, witnesses contacted his office out of the blue to say the encounter was not rape.

His investigators interviewed 15 to 20 people, he said. “It became unmistakably clear that this was a consensual act,” said Brooks. “There were people videotaping.”

Brooks said that Murphy’s dream is to serve in the military. He is hoping the accusation does not affect his chances of moving on, Brooks said.

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“He’s just a nice, normal kid from Boston who has taught children to swim and has donated a lot of time to charities,” said Brooks. “He’s done a lot of good work.”


Evan Allen can be reached at evan.allen@globe.com.