Alexandria prosecutors dropped prostitution charges against a maseuse yesterday because a judge had dismissed similar charges against the same woman three weeks ago, also on the basis of evidence obtained by a civilian police agent, the prosecutor's office said.

Charges against Deborah Candy Stroud, 26, were dropped in Alexandria General District Court at the request of Assistant Commonwealth's Attorney David W. O'Brien. The "similarity between this case" and the previous case led him to drop the charges, O'Brien said.

Yesterday's developments do not materially affect other prostitution and massage cases brought by Alexandria official who used police and civilian undercover agents to obtain evidence. Prosecutors have obtained one conviction in General District Court, and are waiting to see whether the case will be upheld on appeal to Alexandria Circuit Court.

If the case is reversed, then prosecutors will consider dropping all remaining charges agaist nearly a dozen women, according to Assistant City Attorney Nolan Dawkins." We need guidance," Dawkins said yesterday.

In the first case against Stroud, a judge threw out the charge that she had violated the city's ban on cross-sexual massages after the civilian police agent. Michael Kevin Brennan, testified that he had taken off all his clothing before paying Stroud for the massage.

Brennan's actions made it hard to tell "who's the bigger whore," Fairfax County District Court Judge F. Bruce Bach said at the time.

Brennan also was scheduled to testify in yesterday's case.