Second Girl in Dropped Sex Assault Case Wants 'Justice'

Request for a special prosecutor in Maryville, Mo., sex assault case.

October 17, 2013, 3:36 PM

Oct. 18, 2013 — -- A second girl who says she wants "justice to be done" is speaking publicly about a Missouri prosecutor's decision to drop sex assault charges against teenage boys who admitted having sex with her and another girl when the girls were 14 and 13.

Paige Parkhurst was 13 when she and Daisy Coleman, who was 14, snuck out of the Coleman house during a sleep over to meet a group of boys about 1 a.m. in January 2012. The girls claim the boys cajoled them into chugging alcohol, then had sex with them and dumped them outside in frigid weather.

Coleman claims that Matthew Barnett, who was 17, had sex with her. Barnett's lawyer says it was consensual sex, but Daisy claims she does not remember anything after drinking the alcohol.

Coleman's mother has gone public with her anger that charges against Barnett and other boys were dropped. The prosecutor claims the charges were dropped in July 2012 because Daisy Coleman and the second girl took the Fifth Amendment when questioned and the case could not be prosecuted.

That second girl is now identified as Paige Parkhurst. The identities of alleged sex assault victims are generally not published, but both girls and their families have gone public with their identities and their accusations.

Parkhurst has conducted several interviews now and has discussed the case on her Facebook page. One of her Facebook posts asks the media why it took more than a year to report her allegations.

"My thoughts on the media picking up to what happened to me and my friend are why didn't you do something when this all happened," she wrote. "Why didn't you feel this way when we were being bullied harassed and made to feel like sh**. But now that our families are finally healing is when you want to spark this back up. I want justice to be done and I've wanted that for the past year and a half now."

In a separate post, Parkhurst wrote, "I demand justice to be done."

The teen's mother, Robin Bourland, told ABC News that it has been a painful time. "You try to protect your kids as best you can. We just can't believe something like this could have happened," she said.

The case has aroused passions on both sides of the case. Barnett's lawyer, Bob Sundell, said that Barnett's family has received death threats.

Barnett, who was a senior at the time of the incident, is now enrolled at the University of Central Missouri and Assistant Director of University Relations Jeff Murphy told ABC News that the university was receiving many tweets about Barnett's presence at the school.

"Our priority is to provide a safe environment for all students," said Murphy. "We certainly met with him [Barnett] and his family. It's certainly a concern for us and we're certainly going to do everything we can for him."

Nodaway County prosecutor Robert Rice had insisted that he could not prosecute the case, but on Wednesday he asked for a special prosecutor be appointed to determine whether the case should be reopened. Rice said he made the request because recent media stories had questioned the integrity of Nodaway County's justice system.

Rice asked for the special prosecutor after Lt. Gov. Peter Kinder called the case "appalling" and Missouri House Speaker Tim Jones called on the state's attorney general to intervene.

The case has triggered a bitter dispute between the county law enforcement and the girls' families.

Barnett was initially charged with sexual assault of an incapacitated person and later charged with the misdemeanor count of child endangerment for allegedly dumping Daisy outside during the frigid night.

The charges against the boy involved with Parkhurst were sealed because it involved a minor.

Rice and Barnett's lawyer have said authorities could not prosecute because they claim the girls and Coleman's family took the Fifth Amendment and that Daisy changed her story.

"He's lying and I don't know why he's lying, but it's a lie. It's not true," Daisy's mother, Melinda Coleman, told ABC News this week. "I have the initial police report, the girls did the full interview. They did the rape kit and they did do the exam."

Sheriff Darren White and Barnett's lawyer said the boy readily admitted to having sex with Daisy Coleman.

"They admitted that they had sex, but in their mind, they didn't necessarily think they did anything wrong," White told ABC News.

"In the state of Missouri, it is not illegal for a 17-year-old to have sex with a 14-year-old, but it is illegal for someone to have sex with someone who was incapacitated. And that's where the crime occurred," he said.

The prosecution of the sexual assault charge collapsed when the girls were asked about what occurred that night and they invoked the Fifth Amendment, Rice and Sundell said. Melinda Coleman insists the girls did not take the Fifth.

Barnett was then charged with endangering a child for allegedly dumping her outside her house. That charge was also subsequently, the sheriff said, because Daisy Coleman kept changing her story.

Melinda Coleman told ABC News she found her daughter outside the house about 5 a.m. in 22 degree lightly dressed and with her hair frozen. But Sundell said his client denies dumping the girl's outside.

Immediately after the boys were charged, the Coleman family said they began to receive backlash from the community.

Fearing for her children's safety, Coleman said she moved her family out of town and shortly after that her house burned down. The cause of the fire is under investigation.

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