A Missouri woman says her family was run out of a small town and their home burned down mysteriously after her teen daughter accused a high school football player from a prominent local family of rape, according to a local report.
Melinda Coleman moved to Maryville from Albany, Mo., three years ago looking for a fresh start after her doctor husband was killed in a car wreck in 2006.
But the new life she was building with her four children in the rural, tight-knit town turned into a nightmare after her daughter Daisy, a 14-year-old freshman at Maryville High, accused a popular football player of raping her while she was drunk, the Kansas City Star reported in a bombshell story written with the family’s cooperation.
Daisy told police the 17-year-old boy, Matthew Barnett, gave her alcohol and forced her to have sex at a party at his house after she blacked out early on the morning of Jan. 8, 2012.
The teen and his pals then left Daisy passed out on her doorstep in just a t-shirt and sweatpants in 22-degree weather.
When Melinda found her hours later, her daughter’s hair was frozen, and her purse, shoes and cell phone were scattered across the lawn, the newspaper reported.
Doctors at St. Francis Hospital later found evidence she’d been sexually penetrated. Hours after she was found, Daisy’s blood-alcohol level was 0.13.
Barnett was arrested and charged sexual assault and endangering the welfare of a child.
Barnett, who the Star said was the grandson of a former Missouri state representative, admitted to the sex, but insisted it was consensual, the newspaper reported.
The charges against both were later dropped after a prosecutor said the evidence wasn’t strong enough.
Melinda Coleman said that was just the beginning of the nightmare, as her children were harassed at school and online.
Her son, Charlie, was booed before his final wrestling match, he and his brothers were warned they’d be beat up, and Melinda and her daughter were slammed on Twitter and Facebook for being “crazy b—s.”
Some said Daisy had been “asking for it” on the night she was raped, according to the family
At a dance competition, Melinda spotted a girl with a shirt on that said, “Matt 1, Daisy 0.”
“There were several days, I just wanted to go knock a kid’s teeth out,” Charlie Coleman, now a student at Baker University, told The Star.
The family eventually moved back to Albany in August 2012 after Melinda was fired from her job as a vet.
In April, their Maryville home, which was empty and for sale, burned down.
Maryville fire officials never determined the cause of the blaze.
In Albany, Daisy struggled with depression and attempted suicide twice, including one instance in which her brother found her on the bathroom floor after she had taken a whole bottle of depression medication.
Now 16, she is in therapy and is working to move past the trauma.
In Maryville, meanwhile, many residents were eager to forget the case.
“We did our job,” Sheriff Darren White told The Star. “We did it well. It’s unfortunate that they are unhappy. I guess they’re just going to have to get over it.”