Charges have been dropped against a 40-year-old man accused of raping a woman in his Forest Lake townhouse a year ago as three other women helped restrain her.

The Washington County Attorney’s Office said in a court filing last week that two counts of first-degree criminal sexual conduct are being dismissed against Lawson T. Waples Ward because of a “lack of evidence and interest of justice.”

The County Attorney’s office also dismissed aiding and abetting charges against three others involved in the incident: Tina R. Peet, 52, of Forest Lake; Alena J. Turner, 28, of St. Paul; and Ta’Yonna M. May, 30, of St. Paul.

According to the charges against Waples Ward and the others:

A 21-year-old woman told police that she visited his home on Nov. 16, 2019, and he began engaging in sexual activity with her. At the time, she said she did not tell him to stop.

The three women soon arrived, and they held the young woman by her arms and legs while Waples Ward allegedly assaulted her and hit her with a paddle, the criminal complaint read.