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Missouri Man Accused of Rape Pleads Guilty to Misdemeanor

Man accused of raping classmate Daisy Coleman pleads guilty to misdemeanor child endangerment.
3:00 | 01/09/14

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Transcript for Missouri Man Accused of Rape Pleads Guilty to Misdemeanor
Hello I'm -- Hernandez in New York with his ABC news details special report. Accused of rape Matthew Barnett -- -- teen who today pled guilty to lesser misdemeanor charges for child endangerment. And -- case looks like it has come to -- and it comes just a few days after his alleged victim fourteen year old daisy Coleman attempted suicide. The small town case in Missouri became national news when the victim. Alleged political connections protected her alleged attacker a special prosecutor was eventually brought in and just moments ago Mathieu Burnett's lawyer told the press. Why his client pled guilty. Matthew Barnett accepts full responsibility for the conduct charge in the information. We -- pleased the court accepted mr. Barnett misdemeanor plea and the agreement of parties. To be clear. The misdemeanor charge which mr. -- Barnett pled guilty. Accurately reflects the conduct for what she should be held accountable. Two highly skilled prosecutors. From two different jurisdictions. Have -- independently concluded that felony charges are not appropriate in this matter. While its latest special prosecutor Jean Peters baker read this statement from the young alleged that this spring and the young victim. I want to thank everyone -- -- he might Heatley during next year's your support has meant so much to. Today I am grateful that the defendant took responsibility. By pleading guilty to charges. I am ready to move. To all of those who supported -- promise that what happened on January 8 at 2012 we'll -- find me forever. What is now to explain this nuanced legal case ABC's chief legal affairs correspondent Dan Abrams Dan this -- almost exactly two years ago take us through the case. What was the accusation here and how did we and with a misdemeanor charge in this alleged rape case. So this is a case that was initially investigated. By a local prosecutor's office. They decided not to pursue. Any charges. In this case and that infuriated. A lot of people and a lot of people were demanding. Justice there were allegations that was based on political cronyism. And relationships that various people had including the prosecutor. At -- -- and so. A special prosecutor was appointed and that's the woman you just heard from. To look at this to basically say let me take a second objective look at the evidence here. And what she said in this press conference today is that and and she's right in this that when you're a prosecutor. -- you don't you don't file charges based on your gut. You don't -- charges based on what to believe -- file charges based on what you can proof. And -- clear that this prosecutor did not believe that she could prove beyond a reasonable doubt. A rape case. This is a case involving at the time seventeen and fourteen year old. In this state that would not be statutory rape that would have to be a case of forcible rape. That is which she says happened she says -- -- plied with alcohol. The next thing she knows she sort of waking up she's been raped eventually sort of thrown on to her doorstep in the freezing cold. And that's that's her account. But you have to be able to prove that it wasn't consensual and that's what -- cases get so difficult and so incredibly sensitive as well. It was I have to say. And inspiring. To hear this young woman statements -- this is a woman who just recently a girl just tried to commit suicide. Just still in the hospital now at the age of sixteen. So I think all of us are hoping. That you know she's going to be able to to move forward she was she and her mother were involved in the decision. To allow a guilty plea on this lesser charge remember the lesser charge here is for basically throwing her on the steps endangering a child by leaving her out in the cold in front of her house. So no matter what you think about this case. You know that conduct in and of itself is totally indefensible. So there's a lot of layers to this case it does seem to put an end to it and I -- the most important thing to think about is. It is this young woman and in the hope that she's going to be able to. Put her life back together. And again you know one of the reasons that her pictures up -- that are these are cases were generally don't show. Pictures we don't name -- alleged victims in cases like this in this particular case we are because she's come forward. Because she and her mother together have decided that they want a justice they want people to know their story and that makes it. So in this case she alleged she was fourteen years old went to a party as he said the the -- Alleged perpetrators in this case ply her with alcohol. She says he raped her and then. Next thing she know she passed out she was taken home and dumped on her front -- That is where the misdemeanor charge of child endangerment stems from but the prosecutors said she did get questions as to why not. A felony Charlie endangerment charge -- to answer that. Yeah I mean look at it again this goes to it this is one of these things where when you're the prosecutor. Who is investigating the case you to think long and hard about what can you prove -- be. You know in this kind of case I think that the that this young woman wanted to end this and as a result sometimes you gotta cut a deal. And and -- my guess is that in this case the deal involved. A misdemeanor and not -- for forcing this young woman. To goes to -- The difficulties. In the tribulations of having to deal with. With a trial. -- at this point. Really say alleged in terms of the rate because that is still an allegation but he has pled guilty to the endangerment charge he's got to pay restitution. Do community service yet to issue an apology. Is this the end of this case at this point now with the state prosecutor and special prosecutor essentially coming to the same conclusion. What's the end of it from a criminal perspective. The question is whether they'll be a civil case not I don't know the answer to. Will the family decide to -- Him. And his family for more serious. You know making the more serious claim against him. What to see that's the case again. Based on the fact that there's a plea here you would think there'd be some sort of settlement. Out of court. There would be some sort of exchange monetary exchange and remember you know people talk about civil cases they often mocked them and say it's about money etc. -- That's the way individuals get justice in this country. It in in the criminal system is the government vs the defend it. And the victim isn't part of that. So the civil system allows the victim to say wait a second. I want my day in court so it is possible that we'll still -- a civil case in connection -- this is well. Right good point ABC's Dan Abrams in New York thank you so much for joining us -- bring us the details and in this case. You can of course get a complete recap right here on abcnews.com. For now tired and is in New York -- this ABC news digital special report.

This transcript has been automatically generated and may not be 100% accurate.

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