In January 18, 2012, Matthew Barnett, a Missouri high school senior dumped his 14-year old victim, Daisy Coleman, on her parents front yard in 30-degree weather after he got her drunk and recorded himself having sex with her. Police arrested Barnett and charged him with sexual assault and endangering the welfare of a minor and he admitted to his actions.
After police searched his home, they found a pair of Coleman’s underwear and a bottle of liquor. Nodaway County Sheriff Darren White said that “Within four hours, we had obtained a search warrant for the house and executed that. We had all of the suspects in custody and had audio/video confessions.” Although Barnett said that sex was consensual, Missouri state law defines that if the victim is incapacitated by alcohol, it is ruled non-consensual.
Two weeks after the incident, Barnett’s charges were dropped. Some think it has something to do with the fact that Barnett’s grandfather is a Republican state representative, Rex Barnett. However, Rex has denied that his influence had anything to do with the accused getting off, despite his close political ties to the prosecutor, Robert Rice.
The teens “were doing what they wanted to do, and there weren’t any consequences,” said Rice. “And it’s reprehensible. But is it criminal? No.” It’s outrageous to think that recording oneself having sex with a drunk 14-year old girl and leaving out in below-freezing temperature would be consider uncriminal, even though it’s potentially life-threatening.
Outraged at the incident, hacker group Anonymous recently announced to the town of Maryville, MO, where the alleged crime took place, that if the incident isn’t rectified, then Anonymous “will have to stand for them.”
“Why was a suspect, who confessed to a crime, released with no charges?’ pleaded the letter. “What is the connection of these prosecutors, if any, to Rep. Rex Barnett?”
In the sexual assault case that took place in Steubenville, Ohio, where two teenage boys on the local high school’s football team were accused of raping of 16-year old girl, Anonymous also set the town in its crosshairs, claiming a coverup.