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A 14-year-old girl was allegedly raped by an older boy from her Missouri high school and left passed out on her porch in freezing temperatures.   Daisy Coleman was 14 on the night in January 2012 she and 13-year-old friend drank alcohol they stashed in a closet, sneaked out of the Colemans’ Maryville home and met with three boys, including two 17-year-olds.

Daisy’s mother claims that one of the older boys sexually assaulted her daughter while the girl was passed out, and that the 15-year-old boy forced the 13-year-old to have sex in a different room. The second 17-year-old was accused of recording the incident involving Daisy on his cellphone. Authorities say the cellphone video had been deleted and investigators at the regional forensics lab in Kansas City could not recover it from the cellphone.

The two older boys were initially charged as adults with felonies, while the younger boy’s case was handled in the juvenile system. Months later, Rice dropped all the charges against the older boys, saying the victims had invoked their Fifth Amendment right against self-incrimination. The boys have insisted the sex act involving Daisy Coleman was consensual.

The mother, Melinda Coleman, was outraged when Rice dropped felony charges in March 2012, two months after the incident. The case gained new attention and an outpouring of responses of social media following a Kansas City Star investigation. The girl’s family also spoke out this summer to Kansas City radio station KCUR.

Since the Star’s story was published, the town has been the subject of repeated condemnation on social media for seemingly abandoning sexual assault victims. The case now is the talk of the town, with divisions growing.

Home of Northwest Missouri State University, Maryville may be best known as a football town, illustrated by the giant “bearcat” paw prints painted on Fourth Street and leading the way to the university’s football stadium.  The case and the publicity has unsettled the small college town, where Melinda Coleman said her family was forced to move after being harassed over the allegations. Her house in Maryville burned down while the family was trying to sell it, but a cause hasn’t been determined. 

Nodaway County prosecutor Robert Rice filed a motion Thursday for a judge to appoint a special prosecutor in the case.  A special prosecutor will launch a fresh investigation, interview witnesses and work independently from the local prosecutor who’s faced intense scrutiny for dropping the felony charges.

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