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Rape Charges Dropped Against Michigan Firefighter

BEAVER, Pa. (WWJ/AP) - Prosecutors have dropped rape charges against a decorated Michigan firefighter and are now investigating his accuser, a western Pennsylvania woman who claimed she was attacked during a visit last year.

Beaver County Assistant District Attorney Jennifer Popovich is investigating defense claims that 50-year-old Lee Finlayson's accuser hacked into his phone and sent herself an alleged "confession" text message.

Authorities charged Finlayson because the message appeared to show he admitted raping the woman at her Brighton Township home on Sept. 22.

According to WOOD-TV, which obtained a copy of the criminal complaint filed in Pennsylvania, the text message read in part "…Think I've been cruel enough to you already for ten lifetimes. I [RAPED] you and I can't get that out of my head. Then on top of that I was an ass."

Assistant District Attorney Jennifer Popovich told the Beaver County Times they're awaiting the results of several search warrants before deciding whether charges will be refiled.

The woman could be charged if phone records prove she faked the text.

Stephen Colafella, the Rockford, Michigan, firefighter's attorney, said the results of the case are "bittersweet" because "it is a horrible thing he was accused of."

Finlayson was the Grand Rapids Fire Department's 2011 firefighter of the year.  As of Tuesday, it was unclear whether or not Finlayson has returned to full duty.

Authorities aren't saying how Popovich and the woman knew each other.

TM and © Copyright 2012 CBS Radio Inc. and its relevant subsidiaries. CBS RADIO and EYE Logo TM and Copyright 2012 CBS Broadcasting Inc. Used under license. All Rights Reserved. This material may not be published, broadcast, rewritten or redistributed. The Associated Press contributed to this report.

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