On January 7, 2012, two young girls had a sleepover. Daisy Coleman, 14, and her 13 year old friend spent the evening talking and watching television, while sipping alcohol from a stash in Daisy's closet. Text messages were exchanged between Daisy and Matthew Barnett, 17, who was a defensive end for the Maryville Spoofhounds, and the grandson of Rex Barnett, long time member of Missouri's house of representatives.
At some point during the texting, it was suggested that the two, along with their friends, get together. After Daisy's mother checked on the girls around midnight, she went to bed. Like teenagers sometimes do, the girls snuck out to meet the boys, who took them back to Barnett's house. There, Daisy was given glass after glass of alcohol, and that's the last thing she remembers. However, physical evidence and the memories of Daisy's 13-year old friend show that both girls had been raped.
An hour after their arrival, Barnett and friends returned the girls to the Coleman house. The 13 year old girl was told to go inside, while the boys waited with Daisy, to "sober her up." While she went inside and went to sleep, Barnett and friends left drunken and violated Daisy laying in her front yard, in below freezing weather. She was discovered the next morning, by her mother, who found her scratching on the front door.
The boys were rounded up for questioning, with Barnett originally being charged with sexual assault and endangering the welfare of a child. Another boy, Jordan Zech, a top wrestler and all-state linebacker, was charged with sexual exploitation of a minor, as he filmed the encounter between Daisy and Barnett. Barnett claims the encounter was consensual, even though he was admittedly aware that the girl had been drinking and she was unable to consent.
As seems to be the case where small town football teams are concerned, the town rallied against the victim, supporting the rapist. Another not so shocking occurrence: charges against the boys were dismissed due to "lack of evidence," even as police held statements from all players, giving a direct path to what happened.
And, like they do when justice isn't served, Anonymous steps in. Much like the did in the Steubenville rape case, the hacker group has waged a war on the town of Maryville, demanding the Matthew Barnett and friends be held responsible for the crimes they have committed.
In an inspirational conversation with Daisy Coleman, she told this writer, "I've literally lived by the quote 'In this fearsome pilgrimage, unearth a crusaders heart' since [the incident]." It's wonderful to know, with all that has happened to this young girl, she has kept her ability to think positively. She is willing to fight for herself and she has maintained her sense of humor. On her Facebook page she says, "You all truly want to make me happy? Well I really enjoy potato salad so there's that.."
A peaceful protest will be held on October 22 at 10 am, at the Nodaway County Courthouse in Maryville, Missouri, with hopes of having the case reopened and justice served for Daisy.