The huge personal risk two teenage girls took in going public as alleged rape victims may have finally paid off. The Maryville, Missouri teen sex assault case has been reopened. Prosecutor Robert Rice asked a judge to appoint a special prosecutor to investigate the case of two teenage boys accused of sexually assaulting Daisy Coleman and Paige Parkhurst when the girls were 14 and 13 years old, respectively. Two girls showed more courage and determination than a prosecutor and a police force, to say nothing of all the community members who harassed Coleman's family.
Prosecutor Rice still claims that Daisy and Paige wouldn't cooperate with the case and that's why it was dropped.
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. 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.
Argle bargle gargle. The Coleman family disputes this, and Rice's excuse sounds flimsy to my ears. But since the case is sealed, we don't know who is telling the truth. The important thing is that two girls are getting a second chance at justice. I hope the county handles the case better this time and gives it the time and serious consideration it deserved in the first place.
Meanwhile, people in Maryville are feeling defensive. The mother of one of the accused said, "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." Hmm, part of me is thinking, Yeah, really sucks to be threatened, doesn't it? But I can imagine that to a certain degree she's right, that there probably are Maryville residents who didn't harass the Coleman family but who are feeling the burn of public scrutiny anyway.
At any rate, I'm glad Rice isn't handling the case again himself. And I think it's worth mentioning that whether or not it's fair to malign an entire town for a possibly bungled rape case, at least our collective moral compass is telling us that it's not okay to sweep a sexual assault case under the rug just because the accused are star football players. Not that this is necessarily what happened -- hopefully the investigation will clear that up. This is not an active criminal case yet, just the first step ... for the second time.
Do you think the investigation will lead to criminal charges this time?
Image via KCTV5