Mom Says Teen Was Raped, Then Nightmare Began
Alleged victim's house burns down after charges dropped
By Matt Cantor, Newser User
Posted Oct 14, 2013 8:45 AM CDT
The 14-year-old was found in freezing temps outside her Maryville, Mo., home (not pictured here).   (©)

(Newser) – A Missouri family moved to a new city to escape the past—but wound up finding new anguish in not just an alleged rape, but the cruel aftermath. The Kansas City Star has spent seven months digging into the story of Melinda Coleman and her four kids, who moved to Maryville from a town 40 miles away following her husband's death in a car accident. Not long after the move, however, Melinda (who gave the paper permission to use her daughter's name) found 14-year-old Daisy passed out on her doorstep in below-freezing temps in just a T-shirt and sweats; she had sneaked out to attend a party with a friend. Daisy says she was encouraged to drink heavily, and Melinda took her to a hospital, where doctors found indications of "recent sexual penetration." Soon, 17-year-old Matthew Barnett was charged with sexual assault and endangering a child; another friend allegedly videotaped the encounter. But it didn't take long for the charges to be dropped.

As the evidence grew, a sheriff "absolutely" expected prosecution. Another boy at the party, meanwhile, admitted having sex with Daisy's 13-year-old friend despite her rejection; his case was addressed in the juvenile system. As for Barnett, he was locally well-connected, the grandson of a former state representative in a small town—and as the charges were dropped, it was Daisy and her family who faced threats over the incident. Her mother was fired from her job, with her boss citing concerns about lawsuits; Daisy was targeted on social media and twice attempted suicide. After the Colemans finally decided to leave Maryville, their unoccupied house mysteriously burned down. The full story is worth a read in its entirety.

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Oct 16, 2013 9:22 AM CDT
Savant365...I appreciate your comments. You were fair ...your observations are your own but I believe that they represent the majority of the people of your town. Rape is rape, no matter the connection to a prominent family. To malign the mother, on the grounds the business might get sued, that is beyond insult. The good ol'boy syndrome is alive and well in your fair city, how unfortunate for the tender souls such as yourself who must endure this mindset. I'm a trucker, I see abusive behavior by the police as well as other drivers on a regular basis. But in a mall town, such as yours, the adversaries to this family should be justly ashamed. Is the. Way to support this family in some manner? Regards, "ChiliDogg"
Oct 15, 2013 11:40 PM CDT
I live in Maryville, MO. And have for most of my life. The Barnett's are not that special but there are some serious questions about this case and how it has been handled. For those of you that want to "burn this hick town down" you should know that most of us want justice too! I will admit that there might be some that do not share this sentiment though. In the last election we got a new sheriff (White) and a new prosecutor (Rice) after 20 years+. We may not be New York or Los Angeles but we want guilty people to answer for what they have done. We might have made a couple of mistakes in the last election. If anyone has any questions I will be happy to answer them.
Oct 15, 2013 7:43 AM CDT