The rape of a 14-year old girl in Maryville, Missouri last year has divided a town and garnered both outrage and support for the victim online, and now a judge has appointed a special prosecutor to the case after the victim’s family claimed that the rapist might receive special treatment because of who his father is.
Daisy Coleman, a popular high school cheerleader, was sexually assaulted by the boy–then 17–and the incident was recorded on a cell phone by another boy, also 17. She was then left on her front porch in the freezing temperatures of early January. Coleman says she filed a report about the assault, but Nodaway County Prosecutor Bob Rice says the charges were dropped because Coleman, her mother, and other witnesses weren’t cooperating. Daisy and her mother, Melinda, say that just isn’t true, and have been rallying to get the case reopened. One major fear for the family, however, is that the accused rapist is not only a popular football player in their small town, he’s also the son of a prominent politician. Jackson County Prosecutor Jean Peters Baker–who is now on the case–says that he won’t receive special treatment.
“I know this case has raised a variety of concerns. So please know this: This case will be thoroughly reviewed. Our review will be without fear and without fail,” Baker said. “I can also assure you that politics, connections will not play a role in our review in this case.”
The Colemans have faced threats and criticism now that Daisy’s story has gone public, and Melinda posted an open letter recently to address several issues, including the involvement of Anonymous.
“We would just like everyone to know that Maryville is NOT a terrible town. We love so many people there and really were happy there until 1-9-12. Some families there are truly great friends!!! The school was incredible and tried so hard to protect my children…..above and beyond the call of duty. The coaches….even of those boys…..were great and supportive of us. In fact, the wrestling coach and his wife are the best people you could ever know! Truly protected us the best they could. Our horrible experience included a few bad ones that just aggressively went after us……and some people in power that didn’t do their job or protect us. A lot of people did support as much as they were able. To those people I am so grateful! And to the people who tried to defend us but were also terrorized and threatened……I’m sorry you suffered for us but I love you dearly for trying to help us. We wanted to stay in Maryville. We would have stayed if there was a fair investigation and I had felt my children could be safe. I left for fear for our safety from the family that thinks it’s a little mafia….their threats were very violent,” she wrote.
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