Second Maryville Rape Victim, Paige Parkhurst, Comes Forward

Paige Parkhurst, the second victim in the Maryville, Missouri rape case, has come forward to speak with Al-Jazeera about the night she and Daisy Coleman were sexually assaulted.

Paige was 13 at the time and sleeping over at the house of her then-14-year-old friend Daisy. The girls were drinking alcohol together and snuck out of the house to go hang out with some older boys. There, Paige was raped by a 15-year-old boy, whose identity is kept anonymous because his case was handled in juvenile court. Daisy was given more alcohol at the party, which is the last part she remembers, and raped by football player Matthew Barnett, a senior and student athlete. Another boy at the party, Jordan Zech, filmed Daisy’s rape on an iPhone. After the rapes, the boys dropped the two girls, who were both drunk, off at the Coleman house. Paige was able to make it inside the house, but Daisy was left alone on the front lawn overnight in the January freeze. She was found the next morning by her mother after spending several hours outside and immediately taken to a hospital. You can read the full, terrible story as reported this weekend by the Kansas City Star.

Barnett was charged with felony sexual assault and misdemeanor endangerment of the welfare of a child; Zech was charged with a felony for sexual exploitation of a minor for filming 14-year-old Daisy being raped. But months later, the charges against Barnett, who was from a prominent local family and whose grandfather served several terms in the Missouri House of Representatives, were dismissed by Nodaway County prosecutors. Zech also eventually had the sexual exploitation charges dismissed against him. Even more terrible still is the way classmates and local Maryville folks blames the girls’ for their assaults, going so far as to prompt Daisy Coleman’s family to move out of Maryville to escape the harassment.

In this transcript of an interview with Al-Jazeera (watch a segment of it here), now-15-year-old Paige explains what went on that night.

The young men in Matthew Barnett’s house, where the rapes took place, used alcohol to incapacitate Daisy. As Paige described, “they just started handing her drink after drink after drink. And they had separated us as soon as we got there.” (According to a study by the National Institute on Alcohol Abuse and Alcoholism at the National Institute of Health, a “conservative estimate” is that one-half of all sexual assaults against American women involve drinking by the rapist, the victim or both. )  Paige’s assailant, she said, “sexually assaulted me, after me telling him ‘no,’ pushing him away” and Daisy was raped in a different room  by Matthew Barnett. Afterwards, Paige said of Daisy, “[she] was incoherent. She couldn’t walk, couldn’t talk, and just was talking like a baby pretty much.”

Paige’s explanation for the boys taking them home and leaving Daisy out overnight on the front lawn is particularly scary. I understand that teenagers don’t have the best judgment, but this is evil.  The boys were afraid of waking Daisy’s older brothers, a clear sign they knew what they had done was wrong on multiple levels, so they left Daisy on the lawn in 22-degree weather:

“I was intoxicated before we left the house. She [Daisy] was also, but they gave her even more when she got there. They drug [sic] her out of his bedroom window, drug [sic] her to the car, and then they were going to drop us off, but they were freaking out, trying to think of how they were going to drop us off without any of her brothers waking up. And they took her and carried her to the back corner of her house and left her there. And they told me to go inside, that all she needed to do was to sober up, and that she would be okay, and they were gonna be there and watch her.

It was very scary. I was really confused and didn’t understand what was fully going on.”

Paige also addressed the harassment and bullying against her Daisy — typical for those who come forward about sexual assault, especially by the  popular and well-connected. She said:

  “People just said that we were liars, that we weren’t someone to be hanging around, that all we wanted to do was get people in trouble for something that was our mistake.”

Even more disgusting is Paige’s description of how law enforcement tried to get the girls to shut up. Their tactic, it seems, was to try and “get us angry at each other” so they wouldn’t pursue the charges:

“We were cooperating with all of the big felony charges, but they had been really in a way harassing us, and they were constantly putting us down. They weren’t listening to us at all. They were really blaming us for it. …They were telling a lot of people a lot of things that weren’t true. They were telling Daisy that I was throwing her under the bus, and then telling me that Daisy was throwing me under the bus. I mean they were working really hard to try to get us angry at each other. I was very angered. I didn’t see how someone could drop those charges when they had all of the evidence they needed, and at the beginning said that they had a very strong case, but then they dropped the charges, and I felt like they were getting off on something that they shouldn’t have been able to get off of.”

Paige said it is a “miracle” that the Maryville rapes story has gotten national attention and support. I’d say it would be a miracle if the Nodaway County prosecutors pull their heads out of their asses and do what they can to throw Matthew Barnett behind bars.

[National Institute on Alcohol Abuse and Alcoholism]

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