Maryville Teen Daisy Coleman's Mother, Brother Reveal Her Reaction to Accused Rapist's Misdemeanor Plea

Daisy Coleman's mother and brother said the Maryville teen remains hospitalized.

ByABC News
January 10, 2014, 3:36 PM

Jan. 10, 2014— -- The mother and brother of Daisy Coleman said the Maryville, Mo., teen is still struggling and remains hospitalized after events that began when an older high school student accused of raping her.

"She's sad," Melinda Coleman told ABC News' "20/20" in an exclusive interview. "She said the hardest thing about all of it is that for the past two years she hasn't been able to be a teenager. She hasn't been able to be normal."

Melinda and Daisy's brother Charlie Coleman, 20, spoke with "20/20" one day after Matthew Barnett, 19, pleaded guilty to a misdemeanor count of child endangerment. The decision came almost two years to the day after Daisy Coleman claimed Barnett, then a 17-year-old high school senior, raped her and left the drunk and incoherent freshman, then 14 years old, on her family's front lawn in freezing temperatures.

While the family said they were disappointed with the outcome of the case, they are glad that Barnett was at least charged with a crime.

"Before, it was absolutely nothing. Everybody thought it was just one big giant lie," Charlie Coleman said. "But then, there's also an injustice in it not being able to be the way we wanted. I guess I'm a little disappointed but not discouraged."

"I keep fighting all the time," Melinda Coleman said. "I didn't know if there would ever be anyone else who would listen or do anything or have any kind of justice at all. I think at least the fact that there's something is better than nothing."

No sexual assault charges were filed by the special Jackson County prosecutor Jean Peters Baker, who was appointed last October to re-examine the case, citing lack of sufficient evidence.

Charlie Coleman said his sister, who is currently in the hospital following a suicide attempt, is "under a lot of stress."

"For the longest time, she was getting better…It seemed like she was getting a little bit happier," he said. "But apparently, she's under a lot of stress, worrying about my mom and worrying about everybody else and school work...and then just one bad thing."

Since the incident, Daisy Coleman has left school and has tried to commit suicide "a couple of times," her brother said. In one instance, Charlie said he found her lying unconscious on the bathroom floor with an empty pill bottle.

"I got her to the hospital... I threw her over my shoulder and sprinted out the door, and she ended up being alright," Charlie Coleman said. "That was probably one of the most scariest moments of my life."

On Jan. 8, 2012, Daisy Coleman said she snuck out of her house with her then-13-year-old friend and was picked up by Barnett and a group of older boys. Daisy, who had consumed alcohol, accused Barnett, the grandson of a former state representative, of raping her and dropping her off on her front yard.

Her brother said he was home the night they found Daisy outside the family home.

"The dogs started barking, which woke mom up and my youngest brother. And they went to the door, and she was coming toward the porch," Charlie Coleman recalled that night. "And then I was woken up to, 'Charlie...There's something wrong,' and that's when I got out of bed and came upstairs. And that's probably when my life changed."