After nearly a week of outcry over a rape case in Maryville, Mo., prosecutors have announced a plan to reopen the investigation—spurred on by a television appearance made by one of the victims.
A CNN appearance by Daisy Coleman and her mother, in which they discussed the circumstances surrounding Daisy's rape and the dropping of charges against her alleged attacker, seems to have given county prosecutor Robert Rice a change of heart. He defended his former position at a press conference Wednesday night, claiming that initially Coleman had pled the 5th, stalling the investigation (a claim Coleman and her mother dispute). Until the CNN appearance, he said, "the witnesses never told me that they were willing to cooperate and testify after they invoked their 5th Amendment right in a deposition under oath."
In January 2012, Coleman and another girl, who were 14 and 13 years old at the time, were allegedly raped by two older boys, one of whom was a football player and member of a prominent family. Although an investigation was opened, charges were quickly dropped. Prosecutors claimed that the status in the community of the accused was not relevant, but that the victims had not cooperated with the investigation. But Coleman argues that she was never even asked to testify before charges were dropped, let alone given cause to invoke her 5th Amendment rights.
But now it's time to finally move the case out of the court of public opinion and into the Maryville courthouse. "It's important to me," said Rice, "that the public confidence in our criminal justice system be upheld."
[image via AP]