Maryville Mo. Rape Case Will Be Re-Opened, District Attorney Says

The Maryville Mo. rape case that has become a national cause in recent weeks will now be reopened, the local district attorney said this week.The case involves the alleged rape of Daisy Coleman, a freshman who has accused a popular athlete of sexually assaulting her.

After originally closing the case and facing criticism for doing so, Nodaway County prosecutor Robert Rice has now asked that a special prosecutor be appointed to decide if new charges should be filed.

The alleged incident happened in January 2012, when Daisy and a 13-year-old friend were drinking with a group of older boys from her high school. Coleman said 17-year-old football player Matthew Barnett had sex with her while she was drunk, and Coleman admitted to police that she was incoherent when they had sex, but said it was consensual.

Coleman was later left on her lawn in sub-freezing temperatures. Though police gathered enough evidence to move forward with charges against Barnett, the local district attorney ended up dropping the charges and refusing to move forward, saying there was no evidence to support the case.

The Maryville Mo. story was renewed this week when The Kansas City Star published the results of a seven-month investigation that uncovered allegations of political favors to make the case go away. Barnett comes from a prominent and well-connected family, while the Colemans were seen as “outsiders” in the town.

The case was taken up by the hacktivist group Anonymous, which vowed to bring consequences for those involved, but at first it appeared Barnett and the other accused boys will not see a courtroom. Nanci Gonder, a spokeswoman for Missouri Attorney General Chris Koster, said earlier in the week that “the Attorney General’s Office does not have the authority under the laws of the state of Missouri to review a prosecutor’s discretionary decisions in particular cases.”

The Maryville Mo. rape case will now be handed over to a special prosecutor, who will be appointed by a judge and given the power to review evidence and interview witnesses to determine if charges should be filed.