In January of 2012, a 17-year-old male allegedly raped a 12-year-old-girl; he then abandoned her, intoxicated, incoherent, and unable to walk, outside of her house. The temperatures were in the low 20s when Daisy Coleman pounded on the door for help.
What ensued was a seven-month investigation that made national headlines and culminated in Matthew Barnett’s official apology to the Coleman family on Thursday. He pleaded guilty to a lesser charge than the one with which he had initially been charged.
Daisy Coleman is currently in a hospital, recovering from a suicide attempt on Sunday. This is her third suicide attempt since January 2012.
Barnett, now 19, faces two years of probation during which he must avoid all contact with the Coleman family, perform 100 hours of community service, and avoid alcohol and be subject to drug tests. In addition to apologizing to the Colemans, he must pay $1,800 to family; the funds will be used to provide mental health counseling for Daisy.
Should he fail to meet the conditions of his probation, he faces 120 days in jail.
Back in January of 2012, Daisy Coleman and a 13-year old friend snuck out of the Coleman’s house together to meet up with Barnett, then a senior in high school, and one of his friends. Barnett had sex with Coleman, while his friend had sex with Coleman’s 13-year-old friend.
The events were recorded on an iPhone; the file has since been deleted. Police have been unable to recover the file.
In 2012, Barnett and his 17-year old friend were charged as adults with felonies and misdemeanors. Several months later, Nodaway County Prosecuting Attorney Robert Rice dropped the charges. He cited lack of evidence and the Coleman’s apparent refusal to cooperate.
Republican Rice’s actions prompted a new wave of outcry, based on the claims of preferential treatment: Barnett is the grandson of a prominent Republican.
In response these outcries, Jackson County Prosecutor Jean Peters Baker was appointed as a special prosecutor.
Baker, who considered a felony charge, ultimately decided against it. “In this case, there was insufficient evidence to go forward on sexual assault (charge),” Baker said.
Daisy has said that the boys gave them alcohol, and that she doesn’t remember much of what happened afterwards. Both boys have said the sex was consensual.
According to court documents from December, Coleman admitted to investigators that Barnett could have thought the encounter was indeed consensual. “He was drinking too, so yeah, he could have,” Coleman said.
In a statement issued on her behalf, Daisy Coleman expressed gratitude and a positive outlook on the future. “I am ready to move forward. To all those who supported me, I promise that what happened on January 8, 2012, will not define me forever.”
Sources: The Blaze, KCTV News
Photo Source: The Blaze