Jackson Co. prosecutor to investigate Daisy Coleman case in Maryville
MARYVILLE, Mo. — Jackson County prosecutor Jean Peters-Baker has been selected to investigate a Maryville teen rape case that has gained national attention and widespread criticism for the way it was handled by the local prosecutor of Nodaway County.
“This case will be thoroughly reviewed,” Peters-Baker said. “Our review of this case will be without fear and without favor.”
Last week, Nodaway County Prosecuting Attorney Robert L. Rice asked the court to appoint a special prosecutor to review the case of Daisy Coleman, who says she was 14 in January 2012 when a 17-year-old boy had sex with her without her consent while a second teenage boy recorded the incident with his cellphone.
Rice says Daisy and her family stopped cooperating with the investigation and therefore he was forced to drop two charges against the accused.
Daisy’s family disputes that and said they believe the charges were dropped because the boy is the grandson of former state legislator Rex Barnett. The Colemans say they were harassed and tormented by many people in the county who had strong ties to the boy’s family.
Prosecutors Peters-Baker made a slight reference to these allegations in a statement given on Monday.
“I can assure you that politics, connections or any other reason you can think of will not play a role in our review of this case,” she said. “It will be the evidence as it is in every case that we review.”
In the weeks that followed her daughter’s alleged assault, Melinda Coleman said her children received threats. She was also fired from her job as a veterinarian at a clinic.
In April, their house in Maryville — which had been vacant and for sale — burned. The state fire marshal said that “due to the unsafe nature of the structure, a detailed examination could not be conducted and this fire loss is being listed as undetermined.”
Anonymous, the activist hacking collective that has instigated cyber attacks on such groups as the Church of Scientology and the Westboro Baptist Church, launched an on-line campaign on behalf of Daisy, demanding an immediate investigation.
A Facebook page campaign called “Justice for Daisy” says a public rally is scheduled for Tuesday, Oct. 22, at 6 p.m. at the Nodaway County Courthouse. Protesters will carry daisies in their hands.