Daisy Coleman’s Alleged Rapist Gets Two Years Of Probation, No Sexual Assault Charges

Matthew Barnett of Maryville, Mo., is guilty of endangering the welfare of a child, a misdemeanor.

Nodaway County

David Eulitt/Kansas City Star / MCT

 

Matthew Barnett (left) and the home where he allegedly raped Daisy Coleman (right) in 2012.

Updated — 3:15 p.m. ET


Matthew Barnett, 19, pled guilty Thursday to endangering the welfare of a child, two years after allegedly raping Missouri teenager Daisy Coleman.

His sentence is two years of probation, 100 hours of community service, and a “substantial amount of restitution” to Coleman, Jackson County Prosecutor Jean Peters Baker said during a press conference.

Barnett was accused of assaulting Coleman in January 2012, when he was 17 and she was 14. According to Coleman, she and a friend went to Barnett’s house in Maryville, Mo., late one night where a small group of his friends were gathered. Barnett allegedly gave her a tall shot glass — the “bitch cup,” his friends called it — filled with clear alcohol, raped her when she was passed out, then left her on her front yard in freezing temperatures.

Baker said there was “insufficient evidence” to pursue any sexual assault charges in the case, despite the presence of a rape kit. Barnett’s single charge stems from leaving Coleman in the cold.

As part of his plea agreement, Barnett apologized to Coleman via Baker, who said she believed the apology was “genuine” and “heartfelt.”

Baker also read a statement from Coleman: “Today I am grateful … I am ready to move forward. To all of those who supported me, I promise what happened on January 8 of 2012 will not define me forever.”

In October, Baker reopened the case after a widely read Kansas City Star story exposed the Coleman family’s struggles following the alleged rape. In March 2012, assault charges against Barnett had been dropped by prosecutor Robert Rice, who said the Coleman family was uncooperative. (The family has repeatedly denied these claims.)

After the Star story, a “Justice for Daisy” movement formed, culminating in a fairly large protest in the small Missouri town. Coleman’s rape became a national story, but the widespread attention — and continued bullying of Coleman and doubting of her story — took a toll. Her mother said earlier this week that Coleman had attempted suicide for the third time.

On Thursday, Justice For Daisy organizer Courtney Cole said she respected Baker’s decision and her work prosecuting a two-year-old case.

“I’m thankful that the evidence was able to be reevaluated, and acknowledgement that a crime was committed,” she said.

Already, Twitter accounts claiming to be affiliated with Anonymous are voicing outrage and promising “wrath.”

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