FRONT PAGE CONTRIBUTOR
Missouri Lt. Gov. Calls For Grand Jury Investigation Into Daisy Coleman Case
If you haven’t read up on the backstory in the Daisy Coleman case, I encourage you to do so. After the death of her father, Daisy’s widowed mother and brothers pack up and move to a new town, Maryville, Missouri, for a fresh start.
High school freshman Daisy Coleman was subjected to constant cyber-bullying from classmates – and even parents – in Maryville, Missouri, after she reported in January 2012 that she had been raped. She told police the 17-year-old boy invited her to a party where she became so intoxicated she couldn’t stand and then had sex with her while a friend filmed the incident on an iPhone.
She told CNN‘s ‘Erin Burnett OutFront’ that she and her friend had been drinking and went to his house, where they ‘snuck in through his basement window. ‘He gave me a big glass of a clear liquid. And that’s all I remember,’ the teenager said yesterday on CNN.
The athlete and his friends then allegedly dumped Daisy on her front porch, where she passed out – with no shoes or socks and no coat – in 22-degree weather. When her mother found her several hours later, Daisy’s hair was frozen and she had frostbite on her hands and feet.
‘There was frost on the ground,’ Daisy’s mother Melinda Coleman told CNN.
‘It wasn’t until I undressed her to put her in a warm tub that I realised that maybe she had been sexually assaulted. So I asked her if she was hurting, and she said yes, and started to cry,’ she said.
The Kansas City Star reports that Mrs Coleman, a veterinarian, lost her job as a result of the police report her daughter filed. Mrs Coleman says her three sons – Daisy’s brothers – were threatened at school and booed on the field – often by boys they had counted as their friends just weeks earlier.
The Coleman family home also suspiciously burned to the ground before they could sell it.
From the Kansas City Star:
Few dispute the basic facts of what happened in the early morning hours of Jan. 8, 2012: A high school senior had sex with Coleman’s 14-year-old daughter, another boy did the same with her daughter’s 13-year-old friend, and a third student video-recorded one of the bedding scenes. Interviews and evidence initially supported the felony and misdemeanor charges that followed.
Yet, two months later, the Nodaway County prosecutor dropped the felony cases against the youths, one the grandson of a longtime area political figure.
The incident sparked outrage in the community, though the worst of it was directed not at the accused perpetrators but at a victim and her family. In the months that followed, Coleman lost her job, and her children were routinely harassed. When it became too much, they left, retreating east to Albany.
The sun hadn’t yet risen the next morning when [Melinda] Coleman, groggy from a sleep interrupted, made her way toward the living room.
She had woken moments earlier to the sound of scratching at the front door — the dogs, she figured, had gotten out — and grudgingly went to investigate.
Instead, she found Daisy, sprawled on the front porch and barely conscious.
The low temperature in the area that day was listed at 22 degrees, and the teen had spent roughly three hours outside, wearing only a T-shirt and sweatpants. Her hair was frozen. Scattered across an adjacent lot were her daughter’s purse, shoes and cellphone.
Coleman tried to process what she was seeing. Daisy had a history of sleepwalking — years earlier, she had wandered outside. Had she done it again? In her daughter’s bedroom, Coleman found the 13-year-old asleep. She, too, seemed confused.
Still struggling to make sense of it all, Coleman carried her daughter to the bathroom, to be undressed for a warm bath.
That’s when she saw the redness around her daughter’s genitalia and buttocks. It hurt, the girl said, when Coleman asked about it. Then she began crying.
“Immediately,” Coleman says, “I knew what had happened.”
Coleman called 911, which directed her to St. Francis Hospital in Maryville, where, according to Daisy’s medical report, doctors observed small vaginal tears indicative of recent sexual penetration. The 13-year-old also ended up at St. Francis.
A few things of note, bold my emphasis:
The younger girl, who admitted drinking that night but denied doing so after arriving at Barnett’s, said she went into a bedroom with the 15-year-old boy, who was an acquaintance. He is unidentified in this article because his case was handled in juvenile court, but sheriff’s records include his interview, in which he said that although the girl said “no” multiple times, he undressed her, put a condom on and had sex with her.
[Matthew] Barnett, who was arrested and charged with sexual assault, a felony, and endangering the welfare of a child, a misdemeanor, admitted to having sex with Daisy and to being aware that she had been drinking. He insisted the sex was consensual.
Barnett was not charged with statutory rape, as that Missouri law generally applies in cases when a victim is under 14 years old or the perpetrator is over 21. But felony statutes also define sex as non-consensual when the victim is incapacitated by alcohol.
[ … ]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.”
“Since Sunday I have read with growing dismay the media accounts of the Daisy Coleman case in Nodaway County. I make no claim to knowledge of all the facts. Still, facts revealed in exhaustive media reports, including the 4,000-word piece in the Kansas City Star, raise all kinds of questions that it is now clear won’t be put to rest. These questions will fester and taint the reputation of our state for delivering impartial justice to all.
“I am disappointed that the Attorney General would wash his hands of the matter through a brief statement by a spokesman. The appalling facts in the public record shock the conscience and cry out that responsible authorities must take another look. I call on Attorney General Koster and Prosecutor Rice to join me in asking that the Circuit Court convene a grand jury to review all the evidence, hear all witnesses, and issue a decision as to whether charges should ensue.
“I hope that responsible officials will join me in this call for a grand jury to make the final call on whether criminal charges should or should not be filed.”
I am unconcerned with the politics involved. Missouri is my home state, born and raised. Rural family abounds, which is why I’ve chosen to highlight this story. It isn’t representative of my state and, in my opinion, this story isn’t finished and questions deserve answers.