Anonymous Takes On The Maryville Rape Case

Anonymous has joined the fray in the Maryville, Missouri, rape case, where 14-year-old Daisy Coleman alleged she was raped by a 17-year-old football player but charges were filed then dropped. They've launched #OpMaryville to bring attention to the case, and things look to be shaping up like the Steubenville story of last year.

In a statement, some Anonymous person wrote:

We demand an immediate investigation into the handling by local authorities of Daisy’s case. Why was a suspect, who confessed to a crime, released with no charges? How was video and medical evidence not enough to put one of these football players inside a court room?

Is this a good thing? The usual tensions of vigilante justice are at play, but I'm having hard time cheering on OpMaryville, after reporting on the Steubenville case where Anonymous descended on a small Ohio town to take on a remarkably similar rape case. In Steubenville, this resulted in massive amounts of fake information and harassing of random people. Basically Anonymous started with the idea that there was a massive conspiracy to cover up the rape (there wasn't; the students were charged before Anonymous got on the scene) then pulled together half-baked 'evidence,' anonymous slander, and hacked emails to back it up. The prosecutor ended up claiming the attention from Anonymous did more harm to her case than good.

Anonymous certainly helped bring attention to Steubenville, which may have influenced the decision to convene a new grand jury which just indicted a Steubenville high school IT guy for allegedly helping football players cover up that case. But it's hard to see how a bunch of anonymous bros swooping in from the internet and avenging random rape victims is sustainable way to fight rape culture. Maybe they'll be more careful this time, but given the early chatter, I doubt it.

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