After Anonymous, the “hacktivist” collective responsible for publicizing the Steubenville rape coverup, went public with the Daisy Coleman case, a local sheriff lashed out at the group in the ensuing press frenzy.
Thanks to the Anonymous OpMaryville initiative, the country learned of the alleged rapes of two girls in Maryville, Missouri. Originally, 14-year-old Daisy Coleman came forward, and later, the second alleged victim was named as Paige Parkhurst, 13. While sexual assault victims and underage victims are generally kept anonymous, Coleman and her family have consented to being identified as Parkhurst later did.
Much coverage was given the as of this week unpublicized case, and the details were stunning. Coleman, 14, was allegedly plied with alcohol, raped, and left scantily clad on her lawn in freezing temperatures.
Much like in Steubenville, her assailants were well-liked football stars. The 17-year-old boy accused of raping her and a friend accused of filming the assault was not charged and the Coleman family faced a backlash for accusing Matthew Barnett in the assault.
Anonymous waded in with their power to boost a signal, and things quickly got real. County Sheriff Darren White commented on the decision not to prosecute the boys — one of whom comes from a well-connected Republican family — and @YourAnonNews tweeted:
— Anonymous (@YourAnonNews) October 15, 2013
Now that White is forced to answer for declining to charge Barnett and his accomplice in the alleged rape, he’s angry… with Anonymous.
Speaking to press after a day of intense heat from media and social presences, White sneered at the group and painted Anonymous as a band of low-life losers in their moms’ basements.
The Sheriff said:
They are truly a bunch of cowards, hiding behind–even their name, ‘Anonymous.’ What do you do with people like that? They all need to get jobs and quit living with their parents.”
What is perhaps the saddest aspect of all of this is the tentative hope Melinda Coleman has in the renewed push for investigation into the Maryville rape case. She stated:
“They [local officials] said it over and over again that it could never be reopened… So now I don’t know… what could really happen legally at this point.”
— Anonymous (@YourAnonNews) October 16, 2013
Daisy: “Thank you it means a lot that you all are doing this for me. Honestly I bawled when I saw the video. & I don’t cry lol” #OpMaryville
— Anonymous Operations (@YourAnonCentral) October 15, 2013
Following Anonymous’ push for a new look at the case using the #OpMaryville and #Justice4Daisy hashtags, Missouri Lt. Gov. Peter Kinder and House Speaker Tim Jones both spoke out to criticize official handling of the case involving Daisy Coleman and Paige Parkhurst. Coleman is said by the group’s official Twitter feed to be grateful for the campaign.