Maryville teen sex assault case to be reopened - WFSB 3 Connecticut

Maryville teen sex assault case to be reopened

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MARYVILLE, MO (KCTV/AP) -

Nodaway County Prosecutor Robert Rice asked a judge to appoint a special prosecutor to looking into the alleged sexual assault case that put Maryville, MO, in the national spotlight.

Rice defended his previous actions but said, because the victim appeared on CNN saying she would testify, the time is right to appoint a special prosecutor to re-examine the case.

"Until that time, the witnesses never told me that they were willing to cooperate and testify after they invoked their 5th Amendment right in a deposition under oath," he said. "They understood that when they at that time invoked their 5th Amendment right, that by doing so was going to force the dismissal of the case, they understood that."

The case is sealed so KCTV5 can't independently check the records, but the prosecutor says he did everything by the book.

"It's important to me that the public confidence in our criminal justice system be upheld," Rice said.

Following his 5 p.m. press conference, Greg McDaniel, the city manager for Maryville, said officials with the city support Rice's decision to seek a special prosecutor to review evidence in the case. McDaniel said that, although the case fell under county jurisdiction, the city has received a great deal of negative attention about the charges being dropped.

"Every day that goes by without further judicial action or explanation is detrimental to the lives and livelihood of the citizens of Maryville," McDaniel read from a pre-prepared statement. "This was an unfortunate incident that cast a shadow over our community."

The city and the prosecutor all said that they hope an independent review of the facts will allow high emotions by people throughout the country to subside as well as healing for all people involved.

After the prosecutor spoke, the mother of one of the accused teens stepped up to the podium, calling for an end to the harassment of people from Maryville. She said the backlash that Maryville residents are getting from all the attention has got to stop.

"It's not fair to those people that have no relationship to the case but, because they're from a small town, they're being threatened and that needs to stop," she said before abruptly walking away.

Earlier in the day, state Sen. Kurt Schaefer suggested Missouri Attorney General Chris Koster could open an investigation into the alleged sexual assault in northwest Missouri.

Schaefer said that an independent review of the evidence is needed after the Nodaway County prosecutor dropped charges against teenagers accused in a sexual assault of two younger girls.

One boy was accused of sexually assaulting 14-year-old Daisy Coleman, a freshman at Maryville High School at the time, during a January 2012 party, and another was accused of recording it on his phone.

According to police records, she snuck out of her house with a 13-year-old friend and went to hang out with the older boys from school. Daisy says she was handed alcohol and that's the last thing she remembers. Her mother said she found her lying on the family's front lawn the next morning in below-freezing temperatures.

Prosecutors say the accusers refused to cooperate; Coleman's family disagreed.

The attorney for the accused 17-year-old released a statement on his behalf. In it, it he says there were inconsistencies in Daisy's testimony and that her mother admitted her daughter does not always tell the truth, which is why the misdemeanor charge of child endangerment was dismissed.

Click here to read the entire statement from the attorney.

Schaefer is a Republican running for attorney general. Koster is a Democrat who plans to run for governor in 2016.

Koster's office has said it cannot intervene unless a local prosecutor or court asks him to do so.

Schaefer cited a Missouri law allowing subpoenas for witnesses or information to be provided to the attorney general regarding sexual offenses. That law only applies when the venue of the crime is in question.

The website for Nodaway County has been taken down because of security concerns.

The online activist group Anonymous on Monday released a statement criticizing the decision not to prosecute the two 17-year-old boys.

Nodaway County Clerk Beth Walker says the county's site was taken down Monday for safety.

The web hosting company, Midwest Data Center in Rock Port, said in a statement there were concerns the server would be overused and a risk the website would be defaced.

The Associated Press does not generally name victims of sexual assault, but is naming Daisy because she and her mother have been granting public interviews about the case. The AP is not naming the boys because there is no longer an active criminal case against them.

Copyright 2013 KCTV (Meredith Corp.) and The Associated Press. All rights reserved.

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