Petaluma man arrested on suspicion of rape released from jail after prosecutors decline to charge him

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Prosecutors declined to file charges against a Petaluma man arrested last month on suspicion of raping a fellow student at Santa Rosa Junior College’s Petaluma campus library, Sonoma County District Attorney’s Office said Tuesday.

Brandon Larrieta Cortes, 19, was released from Sonoma County Jail after a court hearing Monday when prosecutors announced they were not bringing charges against him.

Cortes had been held on $125,000 bail since March 14 on suspicion of rape, sodomy and sexual battery. A female student told police Cortes sexually assaulted her March 11 at Herold Mahoney Library. She originally reported the assault to campus police and the case was referred to Petaluma police due to the seriousness of her accusation.

Sonoma County Chief Deputy District Attorney Brian Staebell said the investigation would continue into the assault.

“We did not have sufficient evidence (Monday) to make a determination, but we’re still actively reviewing the case,” Staebell said.

Anyone with information about the case is asked to please call the Petaluma Police Department at 707-778-4456.

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