Suspect In Maryville Rape Case Pleads Guilty to Misdemeanor Charge

Days after accuser attempted suicide

  • Share
  • Read Later
David Eulitt / Kansas City Star / MCT / Getty Images

Daisy Coleman was a cheerleader at Maryville High School in Maryville, Missouri. Matthew Barnett was on the football team.

The teenager at the center of a controversial rape case that shook a small Missouri town and drew national headlines pleaded guilty to a single count of misdemeanor child endangerment Thursday.

The charge against Matthew Barnett, 19, came two years after then-14-year-old Daisy Coleman accused the high-profile high school football player in Maryville, Mo., of raping her. Coleman and her family faced intense backlash from people in the community, and a local prosecutor initially dropped felony sexual assault charges, before national outrage over whether a high school athlete was getting special treatment prompted the local prosecutor to ask an outside prosecutor to reexamine the case.

That led to the misdemeanor charge Thursday, the Kansas City Star reports. Prosecutors say Barnett, who was then 17, endangered a semi-conscious Coleman when he allegedly left her barefoot in the frozen yard of her home hours before the sun rose.

Barnett pled guilty to the charge Thursday afternoon as part of a deal with prosecutors, according to the Kansas City Star. He was sentenced to two years of probation and a four-month suspended jail term.

Coleman, now 16, attempted suicide earlier this week.

[Kansas City Star]