Crime

Missouri town harrasses rape victim and her family while accused attacker remains free

In a shocking and disturbing story from Missouri, a small town terrorized a mother and her daughter after the daughter was raped by a high school athlete and left unconscious on her front lawn in freezing weather.

In a shocking and disturbing story from Missouri, a small town terrorized a mother and her daughter after the daughter was raped by a high school athlete and left unconscious on her front lawn in freezing weather.

According to a report from the Kansas City Star, the small town of Maryville turned against the newly-arrived family after 14 year-old Daisy Coleman reported that she was given a drink at a party that left her “barely able to stand,” and then was made to have non-consensual sex with an older athlete while another athlete videotaped. Coleman’s 13 year-old friend was also sexually assaulted.

After an investigation by local police, 17 year-old Matthew Barnett was clearly implicated in the sexual assault. But in an inexplicable twist to the story, charges against the teen were dropped with relatively no explanation. Coincidentally, Barnett is the grandson of a well-known former Missouri state representative.

Dugan Arnett of the Kansas City Star writes:

Sexual assault cases can be difficult to build because of factors such as a lack of physical evidence or inconsistent statements by witnesses. But by the time his department had concluded its investigation, Sheriff Darren White felt confident the office had put together a case that would “absolutely” result in prosecutions.

“Within four hours, we had obtained a search warrant for the house and executed that,” White told The Star. “We had all of the suspects in custody and had audio/video confessions.

“I would defy the Kansas City, Missouri, Police Department to do what we did and get it wrapped up as nicely as we did in that amount of time.”

But no prosecutions ever came. Dismissing any suggestion of political influence, the prosecuting attorney claimed there wasn’t enough evidence in the case and dropped all charges.

Making matters for the family worse, the town began to turn on them. Online threats and harassing phone calls became a common occurrence. Emboldened by the charges being dropped, the parents of the teens implicated in the assault saw themselves as victims.

The parent of one of the teens at the Barnett house that night was the only one to comment briefly to The Star: “Our boys deserve an apology, and they haven’t gotten it yet.”

[…]

For the Colemans, the dismissal of the charges spelled the beginning of the end to their life in Maryville.

In the days that followed, a new round of vitriol made its way online.

“F— yea. That’s what you get for bein a skank : ),” read one tweet, one of many expletive-filled comments posted publicly.

The reaction wasn’t surprising, according to Julie Donelon, president of the Metropolitan Organization to Counter Sexual Assault.

Some form of victim-blaming occurs in virtually every sexual assault case, she says, but it can be particularly intense in small towns, where “the victim and her family members are having to see not only the perpetrator and the perpetrator’s family, but also those people … who have expressed disbelief in her story.”

The daily harassment became too much, Coleman says. Daisy and Logan transferred to Albany High School, making the 80-mile round trip daily.

[…]

The young men present at the Barnett home that night, meanwhile, seem to have moved on.

Two are now members of Northwest Missouri State University athletic teams, and Barnett is enrolled at the University of Central Missouri, his grandfather’s alma mater. Based on his Twitter account, before it was locked to non-friends, the events of the past two years haven’t dampened his enthusiasm for the opposite sex.

In a recent retweet, he expressed his views on women — and their desire for his sexual attentions — this way:

“If her name begins with A B C D E F G H I J K L M N O P Q R S T U V W X Y Z, she wants the D.”

Read the full Kansas City Star story here.

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8 Comments

8 Comments

  1. Ken (@diegueno)

    October 14, 2013 at 1:22 am

    I wrote a blog about stories like these where they don’t name the members of the school board http://tmblr.co/ZiiHSyYISIwG

  2. Parker Williams

    October 14, 2013 at 3:40 am

    Classy.

  3. Jim S

    October 14, 2013 at 6:14 am

    Probably the son of a Tea Party politician. Their standards are to hell with everybody but me!

  4. John Novak

    October 14, 2013 at 6:58 am

    Not just in small towns but in many inner-city neighborhoods as well, this type of mentality has been displayed. And I seem to hear a lot of instances in the state of Georgia it seems, also. Honestly I think liberals need to be less tolerant, and speak out against any culture that raises their kids with the Bible and the belt. I’m not saying we should discriminate against those cultures, but low income folks deserve a break from having their life’s ruled by gang members and corrupt cops simply because some middle-class people are too cheap to provide them with adequate police protection, and so their entire culture delves deeper into a criminal mindset. Meanwhile their religion teaches them to forgive criminals, but that forgiveness is not extended to the countless victims of these two cultures. And a focus also needs to be put on firing the worst of these judges one by one, along with corrupt cops, sending in the National Guard if necessary. There needs to be a total overhaul of rural culture, inner-city culture, and military and police culture, all from within by revolutionary minded people of this new millennium. Peace and progress, brothers and sisters. My heart goes out to all low income people who are oppressed by their own neighborhoods. May those people take over.

  5. Juliet

    October 14, 2013 at 12:18 pm

    ‘Darn those trouble-making newcomers! Don’t they know they can’t go accusing our hometown heroes? We don’t care how much evidence there is, we know it’s because they’re out to get our boys.’

    That’s the thinking.

    Attacking the victim is also an attempt to reassure each other that the world is a just place, that bad things only happen to those who ARE bad, and so on. Otherwise, they’d have to face realities of power, class, and real and perceived privilege.

    Those boys are out there with this on record. There will come a time when Daddy’s position won’t protect them, and they’ll wish people had taught them how to behave in society — or that they had decided to behave BEFORE anything happened.

  6. Arlene Banks

    October 15, 2013 at 2:08 pm

    Happens all too often and when you add the rights of women being stripped to equal that of the Taliban, this young girl nor her family stand no chance in Hell. Pity.

  7. Pingback: Twitterstorm for #OpMaryville #Justice4Daisy | ANONLUVERZ BLOG

  8. Filldaddy

    October 15, 2013 at 5:56 pm

    So Rex, did you teach your grandson how to treat women, or is it your children who bred these traits into him. Way to be a role model for your constituents.

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