Nightly News   |  October 19, 2013

Teen’s rape story spurs online outrage

Daisy Coleman says she was 14-year-old when a popular football player in her town raped her. That was two years and still her alleged assailant has not faced a judge. NBC’s Katy Tur reports on how an online uproar gave this case a second look.

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This content comes from Closed Captioning that was broadcast along with this program.

>>> we are back th a disturbingase that's come back to haunt a small town in missouri where a teenager and her family a speaking out about an alleged rape by a former memr of the high scho football tea their appeal for justice went viral forcing the loc prosecutor to re-examinehe evidence. katy tur has our report.

>> reporter: 90 minutes rth of kans city, maryville , missouri , population 12,000 could be any smallid western town. he one person's life can become everyone's business.

>> it really did feel like it was me against the world. it was a hard battle.

>>eporter: daisy coleman's battle began almostwo years ago when the then 14-year-old and her 13-year-old friend snuck out to party with a popular football pler.

>> they had me drink from a cup. oh, maybe she can take all is, you ow. like a competition. that's basically all i remember.

>>eporter: her mom said she found the daisy the next morning passed out and freezing on the front lawn in a t-shirt and sweat pants. she hadeen there for three hours.

>> if i hadn't woken up, she had frostbite her feet. she probably would have died.

>> reporter: melinda immediately notid marks on daisy 's body anteak her to the hospital where doctors did a rape kit . her blood alcohol level was 0.13.

>> it felt like a drm, like it was surreal. i was hoping it didn't happen and that i would wake up a second.

>> reporter: the boy she went to meet, 17-year-old matthew barnett told police the sex was consensual. daisy said it was rape. police quickly filed sexl asult and child eangerment charges but th weeks the charges were dropped. prosecutor robert rice cited not enough evidence and the colemans' refusal to cooperate. melinda bieves it was a favor since barnett 's grandfather was a lice oicer and potician. this week t kansas city star published the seven-month investigation into daisy 's story. after outcronli, rice defended himself but called for a special investigator to again review the facts.

>> i stand by myhoice based on thevidce that i hadnd what transpired during the instigion. and everything that happened after a ward.

>> rorter: the past two years haven't been easy for the colemans. daisy wa bullied onlinend a school andttempted suicide twice. melinda was fired. last august they moved to a town 45 minutes away. this spring the home they oed in maryville mysteriously burned down, the cause unclear. will you get justice?

>> i don't know ife'll g everything that i feel we need or we want. but just the start is really good.

>> reporter: do you think he should go to jail?

>> i think he should.

>> reporter: matthew barnett is now in college in missouri . in a statement his lawyer cited inconsistencies in daisy 's statement and doubt about the felony charge iluding whether e was incapacitated writing since a legal conviction was not possible it appears someould like to try the case in the court of public opinion. the barnett family since received numerous teatsnd would quesyouespe their privacy. meanwhile for theirst time in two years, daisy sd she finally feels some relief.

>> i might still have the whole town of maryville again me. but at least i have half of the world wit me.

>> reporter: katy tur, nbc news, albany, missouri .