World & Nation

Missouri rape case: Special prosecutor to meet with judge

Maryville, Mo., protest
Supporters of Daisy Coleman pass out flowers before a rally outside the Nodaway County Courthouse in Maryville, Mo.
(Orlin Wagner / Associated Press)

Will charges be filed in the Maryville rape case? A special prosecutor in Missouri was expected to meet with a judge on Thursday to discuss her investigation into an incident that drew national attention last fall.

Jackson County prosecutor Jean Peters Baker has been tight-lipped about whether she plans to bring charges. She was appointed to handle the case in October, after a newspaper story sparked a public uproar over whether a northwest Missouri prosecutor had dropped charges for political reasons.

In 2012, Nodaway County prosecutor Robert Rice dropped charges against a Maryville high school football player who was accused of raping Daisy Coleman, then 14. The Los Angeles Times does not usually name victims in sexual assault cases, but is doing so because the girl and her family have gone public. 

Then in late October, a Kansas City Star story about the case instantly went viral, drawing comparisons to a rape case in Steubenville, Ohio, that also sparked protest and garnered the attention of the vigilante hacktivist collective Anonymous.


Rice defended his handling of the Maryville case, saying that Daisy’s family had backed out before the charges against Matthew Barnett went to trial. But he ultimately called for a local judge to appoint a special prosecutor after being besieged by criticism.

Daisy became a national symbol for some feminists after giving interviews about the case and writing an essay for the website xoJane, but she has continued to struggle.

She reportedly attempted suicide last weekend after receiving more harassment from other girls, and was taken to a local psychiatric hospital.

“Where is Anonymous now? My daughter has been terrorized to the point she tried to kill herself last night. She may never be ok,” Daisy’s mother, Melinda Coleman, wrote on Facebook Monday. “Where are you and your super hacking skills and internet help now.......we really need them.”


On Thursday, prosecutor Peters Baker was scheduled to give a status update on the case to a Maryville judge, the Kansas City Star reported. There was no further indication of what might be discussed, but a news conference was expected to follow the hearing.

A spokesman for Peters Baker did not respond to messages from the Los Angeles Times seeking comment Wednesday.

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