A district attorney in the small town Maryville, Mo., is calling for a special prosecutor to reopen a controversial rape case involving a 14-year-old-girl and a popular football player. The girl and her mother say they have been the target of harassment and a house they owned burned down, while the football player's mom says she is concerned for his safety. NBC's Kate Snow reports.
The girl at the center of Missouri sex assault controversy said she is “more than excited” at the decision of a prosecutor to reopen the case.
Daisy Coleman spoke out after Nodaway County prosecutor Robert Rice announced Wednesday that he's asking a judge to appoint a special prosecutor to investigate her claims that she was raped by a 17-year-old acquaintance then dumped on the family's front porch in sub-freezing temperatures.
Her mother, Melinda, claims justice was denied when Rice dropped felony charges against a 17-year-old boy in March 2012.
The case has brought international attention to the small northwest Missouri town of Maryville, where Coleman says her family was forced to leave after facing harassment over the allegations.
Rice said Wednesday he's asking for a special prosecutor because of publicity surrounding the case and recent media stories questioning the integrity of the justice system in the county.
Rice insists the investigation collapsed after the Colemans became uncooperative with investigators, according to The Associated Press.
Melinda Coleman says she and her daughter did cooperate and that investigators didn't do enough to push the case forward.
“I was more than excited. I felt like I was going to be able to work with someone who would put forth a real effort,” Daisy Coleman told NBC station KSHB on Wednesday.
“Just to have people listen and look at it with an objective eye is huge for us because we haven’t had that until this point,” her mother added.
The case has drawn comparisons to one in Steubenville, Ohio, where two 17-year-old high school football players were convicted of raping a West Virginia girl after an alcohol-fueled party in 2012. The case was furiously debated online and led to allegations of a cover-up to protect the city's celebrated football team.
Officials in Maryville say they've had to increase police patrols because of threats made against residents and the city in general.
The Associated Press contributed to this report.