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Maryville Alleged Rape: Special prosecutor appointed to re-examine Mo. teen sex assault case

Daisy Coleman CBS

Daisy Coleman
Daisy Coleman
CBS
(CBS/AP) KANSAS CITY, Mo. - A special prosecutor has been appointed to look into the alleged Jan. 2012 alcohol-fueled sexual assault of 14-year-old Daisy Coleman and her 13-year-old friend in Maryville, Mo.

Circuit court clerk Elaine Wilson said Monday Jackson County prosecutor Jean Peters Baker has taken on the case.

The new development comes after Nodaway County Prosecutor Robert Rice announced last week that he was asking a judge to appoint a special prosecutor to take another look at the case.

Rice continued to defend his decision to drop the felony charges that were initially filed against two 17-year-old boys in the case, but decided to request a special prosecutor after seeing Daisy and her mother appear on CNN last week and acknowledge their willingness to testify in the case.

Rice had previously said, and still maintains, that he made the decision to drop the charges in the case due to a lack of evidence and the victims' refusal to cooperate. He says Daisy and her mother, Melinda Coleman, invoked their Fifth Amendment right and therefore the case was not prosecutable.Nodaway County Sheriff Darren White told Crimesider that he backs up Rice's claims.

Melinda Coleman, Daisy's mother, told CBS News' Crimesider during a phone interview on Friday that the family never stopped cooperating. She said she only invoked her Fifth Amendment right after the felony charges were dropped in the case and after Rice and a rape advocate talked her into doing so.

She told Crimesider that Daisy was suicidal and in the hospital at the time she invoked her Fifth Amendment right and that she was told by both Rice and the advocate that even if she were to continue cooperating with the investigation, the only remaining charge was a misdemeanor and it would only serve as a "slap on the hand."

She said there was never a deposition before the felony charges were dropped and that she believes the charges were dropped for "political" reasons.

According to a report in the Kansas City Star, one of the boys charged in the alleged sexual assault, Matthew Barnett, is the grandson of a once-prominent Nodaway County politician.

"People are afraid to stand up to people who have the power," Melinda Coleman told Crimesider.

Rice has denied any political motivation in dropping the charges.

It was a report in the Kansas City Star on Oct. 12 that brought renewed attention to the case and Melinda Coleman told Crimesider both she and Daisy are glad that people are finally listening objectively.

"Up to this point, everyone that heard it was lying and twisting it and not trying to seek out the truth," she said.

Complete coverage of the Maryville alleged rape case on Crimesider

  • Stephanie Slifer

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