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MCADSV reacts to Maryville case

The Missouri Coalition Against Domestic and Sexual Violence is disappointed in today’s announcement that no sexual assault charges will be pursued against Matthew Barnett in the Maryville case of Daisy Coleman. We know justice is often difficult for victims to achieve, but accountability for offenders is imperative.

This organization continues to be concerned for and supportive of the Coleman family, all of whom have faced a very lengthy, difficult ordeal. Daisy Coleman has shown remarkable personal courage and strength, and we hope other survivors of sexual violence are encouraged to come forward in pursuit of justice in their own cases.

We appreciate the statements made today by Jean Peters Baker and have long valued her work and support for victims over the years, but again, we are saddened by the lack of a more serious charge being filed to acknowledge the assault of a 14-year-old girl.

Moving forward, due in part to MCADSV’s legislative advocacy work last year, Missouri’s rape laws have been significantly strengthened to include recognizing when a victim is unable to consent. Now, Missouri’s laws are clear that an intoxicated person is incapable of providing consent for sexual activity, and we hope this will provide for stronger prosecutorial efforts in future similar circumstances. For more information about this change, which went into effect in August 2013, see: New Missouri Law: 2013

There is simply no legal proceeding or judicial outcome that can restore all that the Coleman family has lost during the last two years. We continue to hope for their healing, as well as for all victims of violence, and will continue to work for greater support of victims and more accountability for offenders.

Barnett was charged with misdemeanor child endangerment related to the events of January 2012, and subsequently pleaded guilty. He was sentenced to probation, community service and payment of restitution to the victim.