The rape case that drove a family out of a small Missouri town after a 14-year-old girl accused a popular high school football player
will be reopened, the Associated Press reports.
Outcry followed last weekend’s story in the Kansas City Star that described Daisy Coleman’s case.
Daisy accused 17-year-old Matthew Barnett, a senior defensive end on the Maryville, Mo. football team, of raping her while she was at a party at his house in January 2012.
A special prosecutor will review the allegations, according to the Associated Press, giving Daisy another chance to bring the case to court.
Nodaway County prosecutor Robert Rice dropped felony charges against Barnett in March 2012, citing a lack of evidence despite Barnett confessing to having sex with Daisy. Another boy at the party allegedly raped one of Daisy’s friends that same night.
Investigators say Daisy’s family stopped cooperating with the investigation, and Daisy’s family says they were bullied.
Rice told the AP that he was only asking a special prosecutor to review the case because of the recent media attention it has gotten, with many people criticising the county’s justice system. Hacker collective Anonymous has even launched a campaign against the town.
Barnett comes from a powerful family in Maryville — his grandfather was a longtime member of the Missouri House of Representatives — and some have accused the prosecutor of dropping the charges because of this connection.
Daisy’s case has been compared to the infamous Steubenville, Ohio rape case. The alleged Maryville assault, which involved alcohol, was also reportedly captured on camera. Police were unable to retrieve any footage during the investigation.
Daisy woke up the morning after Barnett’s party outside her house in freezing weather. Her mother found her outside.
The Coleman family — who had moved to Maryville shortly before the alleged rape after Daisy’s father died in a car wreck — eventually moved out of the small town after locals who were tied to the accused boys turned against the family.
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