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Daisy Coleman’s Accused Rapist Matthew Barnett Faces Child Endangerment Charge, No Sexual Assault Charge

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UPDATE, 3:30: Matthew Barnett plead guilty to the child endangerment charge this afternoon as part of a plea deal. He was sentenced to two years of probation and a four-month suspended jail term. [AP]

Matthew Barnett, the teenaged boy from Maryville, Missouri, who initially saw charges against him dropped in the alleged sexual assault of Daisy Coleman, was charged today with a single count of misdemeanor child endangerment.

And … that’s it.

You read that right: No sexual assault charge whatsoever.

The Kansas City Star first reported on the story back in October: two years ago, Matthew, then 17, picked up Daisy Coleman, then 14, and her friend Paige Pankhust, then 13, from a sleepover and drove them to a house with a bunch of friends. The boys gave the girls vodka in something called a “bitch cup,” which got them so wasted that Daisy was unable to stand. Then Daisy was allegedly raped by Matthew — a star football player on whom she had a crush — while Paige was raped by another boy (a 15-year-old whose case was handled in juvenile court). One of the rapes was recorded on a third boy’s cell phone.

Afterwards, the boys took the girls back home. Daisy was still apparently too drunk to walk. The boys allegedly told Paige they would stay with Daisy until she sobered up, so Paige went inside. Instead of staying with Daisy as promised, the boys drove off. Daisy was left overnight, on her front lawn, in 22 degree weather. Her mom found her the next morning in the freezing cold, barefoot, wearing only a T-shirt and sweats, scratching at the door. Once Daisy’s mom brought her indoors and put in her a hot bath, she could see her daughter had injuries around her vaginal area.

The Colemans reported it to the police immediately. Matthew Barnett was arrested and charged with felony sexual assault and child endangerment.  Those charges were dropped only a short time later. The prosecutor claimed that the Coleman family — who have repeatedly spoken out publicly about the rape — were being uncooperative. The fact that Matthew’s grandfather is former Republican Missouri Representative Rex Barnett may have had something to do with it.

The new charge announced today was handed down by a special prosecutor, Jean Peters Baker, appointed after the miscarriage of justice against the Coleman family gained worldwide attention. The court records state, according to the The Kansas City-Star:

The defendant acted with criminal negligence in a manner that created a substantial risk to the life, body and health of D.C. [Daisy Coleman], a child less than 17 years old, by providing D.C. with alcohol until she was substantially intoxicated and impaired, and then leaving D.C. outside of her home in the below-freezing temperatures when D.C. was incapable of protecting or caring for herself.”

Why isn’t there another sexual assault charge? What explanation could Prosecutor Bake possibly give? It says very clearly in the Kansas City Star’s initial article that when Daisy was taken to the hospital the next morning, “doctors observed small vaginal tears indicative of recent sexual penetration.” She also had to be physically carried to the car to go home because she couldn’t walk. Matthew Barnett has maintained that the sex with Daisy Coleman was consensual. Given the facts about how drunk this 14-year-old child was, that can’t be true.

Earlier this week, Daisy Coleman was hospitalized in Kansas City from a suicide attempt after being harassed on social media by other kids. Today’s announcement is a sickening twist that will only add to her and her family’s suffering. Hasn’t this poor girl been through enough?

[Kansas-City Star]
[Newser]
[Kansas-City Star]

Email me at Jessica@TheFrisky.com. Follow me on Twitter.

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