Home / HUMAN RIGHTS / Daisy Coleman, a Brave Warrior Against Rape

Daisy Coleman, a Brave Warrior Against Rape

Daisy Coleman was raped and possibly drugged when she was just a freshman in high school.  She knew she would have to admit to sneaking out and drinking.  She knew she would be labeled, some people would support her, but others wouldn’t.  She knew that the nightmare had only just begun the night of the rape if she pursued justice.  Still, Daisy fought for er own honor and self-respect. Let Daisy’s story be an inspiration to all girls who have been sexually assaulted, both young and old.

Associated Press Image Daisy Coleman

Associated Press Image
Daisy Coleman

MARYVILLE, Mo. (AP) — Two years and a day after a northwest Missouri high school freshman said she was raped by an older schoolmate at a party, the girl and her mother said they are satisfied that her assailant has been held accountable for his actions.

While the misdemeanor child endangerment charge to which Matthew Barnett, 19, pleaded guilty Thursday fell well short of the felony sexual assault count they thought he deserved, Daisy Coleman and her mother, Melinda Coleman, said they’re now hoping for closure after two extremely painful years.

“I am ready to move forward,” Daisy Coleman, now 16, said in a statement provided by special prosecutor Jean Peters Baker. “To all those who supported me, I promise that what happened on January 8, 2012, will not define me forever.”

Barnett’s plea agreement, accepted Thursday by Nodaway County Associate Circuit Judge Glen Dietrich, means he won’t have to spend time in jail nor face trial for sexual assault. It also means Daisy — who has spoken extensively with the media about her experience, especially since The Kansas City Star detailed her claims in a lengthy story in October following a seven-month investigation — won’t have to testify in court and be grilled by defense attorneys.

Baker, the Jackson County prosecutor, was brought in from Kansas City to reopen the case amid criticism that Nodaway County prosecutor Robert Rice wasn’t doing enough when he dismissed a felony charge against Barnett and instead pursued only a misdemeanor child endangerment charge against the Maryville native. Melinda Coleman alleged that Rice’s decision to drop the case was politically motivated — Barnett’s grandfather was a four-term Missouri state representative who was a state trooper for 32 years.

Rice denied that, insisting the charge was dropped because the Colemans stopped cooperating. Melinda Coleman said she and her daughter did cooperate with Rice’s office when he was seeking a felony conviction, and only dropped their support because they saw the misdemeanor count as little more than a slap on the wrist.

On Jan. 8, 2012, Daisy and her 13-year-old friend sneaked out of Daisy’s house and were picked up by Barnett and some other boys, including some who were friends with her older brother, and taken to Barnett’s home. The girls admitted that they drank alcohol before sneaking out.

Daisy claimed that when she got to the party, she was given a clear liquid that she drank before being taken into a bedroom and raped while a second boy recorded the act on his cellphone. Investigators have said the video no longer exists.

The 13-year-old was taken into a different room by a 15-year-old boy who forced her to have sex, something the boy admitted doing. His case was handled in the juvenile system and is not public record.

Daisy said she blacked out and doesn’t remember much after arriving at the boy’s home. Melinda Coleman has said she believes her daughter was given a date-rape drug.

Barnett has not denied the two had sex but has insisted it was consensual. A Missouri State Highway Patrol investigation summary released to reporters Thursday said the girl told investigators it was possible Barnett thought the sex was consensual since he had also been drinking that night.

After more than two months of examining the evidence, Baker came to the same conclusion as Rice: The evidence of a sexual assault was insufficient to gain a conviction on that count.

“It is not the job of a prosecutor to seek convictions. It is the job of the prosecutor to seek justice,” Baker said. “I believe this is the right outcome, given the evidence available in this case. This is justice.”

After her story gained wide attention, Daisy was held up as an example of a brave young girl standing up against sexual assaults. The Associated Press generally doesn’t name alleged sexual assault victims, but is naming Daisy because she and her mother have granted public interviews.

In October, Daisy wrote a first-person article for the website xojane.com, in which she likened the incident to falling into a “dark abyss.”

“I not only survived, I didn’t give up,” she wrote for the website.

Wearing a blue shirt and tie, and answering “Yes, sir” to procedural questions from the judge, Barnett was sentenced immediately after his plea Thursday to two years of probation and a four-month suspended jail term. Other conditions of the deal bar him from drinking, going to bars and contacting the Colemans. He must perform 100 hours of community service and, as a precondition to the plea bargain, had to apologize to Daisy — which he has provided to Baker’s office.

The Colemans didn’t attend the hearing.

Barnett’s lawyer, J.R. Hobbs, said “two highly skilled prosecutors from two different jurisdictions have now independently concluded that felony charges are not appropriate in this matter. Further, there is absolutely no evidence that political favoritism played a role in the decision of either prosecutor.”

Several factors weighed on Baker as she pondered the case: the conflicting stories, the fog of intoxication on the night of the incident and the disappearance of the cellphone video that might have brought clarity to what happened.

“There often is not a witness other than the two parties and there’s often not physical evidence that proves or disproves anything, so juries and prosecutors have to weigh,” said Scott Berkowitz, president of the Washington D.C.-based nonprofit Rape, Abuse and Incest National Network.

“All they know about the case is what they are hearing from the victim and the perpetrator,” he said. “I think that is the biggest factor that makes these cases hard to prosecute. But when there is alcohol involved, the situation where that most often comes into play is if the victim is saying they were incapacitated and unable to consent, which is often hard to prove after the fact.”

___

Associated Press writer Heather Hollingsworth in Kansas City, Mo., contributed to this report.

 

Copyright 2014 The Associated Press. All rights reserved. This material may not be published, broadcast, rewritten or redistributed.

Daisy Coleman, a Brave Warrior Against Rape

About Associated Press

Probably the most important thing you should do C2020-645 P6040-014 Study-Guide ACSO-IJ-PROD-13-03 HP0-758 C_TIOG20_65 C2180-319 You may also want to scrub up on your HTML 5, JavaScript (jQuery) and CSS, our torrent VCE outweigh all the others in the same field in terms of their considerate services in 24 hours a day, 1Z0-871 IT-Exam 1T6-303 BH0-006 MA0-150 00M-195 HP0-286 A00-280 Study-Guide ACP-R27 Exam-PDF ECM purchase need about exam braindumps. They are enthusiastic about what there are doing every day. Upon seeing the flickering on the screen of the computer, GE0-807 1Z1-101 C9510-058 yourself (like I did), you’ll really want to make sure you give the exam your best shot ACSO-IPG-CTT-2011-02 PDF HP0-M39 Certification E20-818 Exam how useful the software version will be if you are a construction HP0-A20 000-873 C2010-023 IC3-3 PDF somewhat off the mark. 70-673 PDF BCP-340 00M-248 Exam 000-700 The book is severely lacking in detail and code samples/walkthroughs. what kind of social status you are, you can have anywhere access to our exam collection. Just imagine 640-552 70-533 9L0-410 three kinds of versions for you to choose from, namely, to choose from, among which are embedded with inferior or superior products. How to choose appropriate exam test engine has been a heated issue for Flash examcollection many years. We offer you worry-free purchasing. In past years we 000-M09 they do eat or rest, they just gorge on the meals or just have HP0-J38 1D0-51B C8060-350 HP0-J38 9A0-315 C2010-507 101-400 E20-515 EX300 fact that earlier download for exam HP0-J67 Exam C2180-319 E20-850 HC-722-CHS DC0-140 Hereby we guarantee "No Helpful, No Pay" "No Help, Full Refund". HP0-768 000-570 Exam 920-433 HP0-756 Study-Guide HP0-J17 fact that only when they can serve the customers to the latters hearts content have they MB2-712