Publish your own content on The Drum

Explore our new sections and topics

Moving toward a sustainable future: The innovation and transformation of the food industry

Kees Kruythoff

chairman and chief executive officer

Sir Martin Sorrell

founder & executive chairman

Anonymous campaign pressure reopens Daisy Coleman case

What do you get when you cross a high-profile rape case, a couple of high school student athletes, and the cyber collective group Anonymous?

Daisy Coleman, aged 14, was taken to the hospital after her mother found her frozen, drunk, and barefoot outside of her house. The girl accused a popular 17 year old of sexually assaulting her after plying her with alcohol after she and another friend snuck out of the house. After an investigation, no charges were brought against the boy, although indications of forced sexual intercourse had been found by medical examiner. State prosecutors had failed to bring charges against the boy, claiming that the girl’s family had been uncooperative. In far too many of these cases where the accused is a popular, male student, the backlash against the accusers was furious. The Coleman family was forced to leave the town after instances of cyber-bullying forced Daisy into attempting to take her own life. Earlier this year, the family’s home burned down and the cause has never been determined.

Anonymous didn't like decision not to bring rape charges

This week Daisy penned an op-ed crediting the cyber collective Anonymous for racking up the pressure on the authorities to re-open the case. #Justice4Daisy began to trend on Twitter and the young woman thanked them for the work done by the group to put pressure on the State’s Attorney to appoint a special prosecutor. Earlier in the week, the State Attorney’s office had claimed it had no power to reopen the case. "Since Anonymous has gotten involved, everything has changed," Ms Coleman wrote. “#justice4Daisy has trended on the Internet, and pressure has come down hard on the authorities who thought they could hide what really happened.”Anonymous posted a cyber-call-to-arms demanding to know why authorities had refused to press charges against the boy, who happened to be the grandson of an influential state politician. “We demand an immediate investigation into the handling by local authorities of Daisy's case. Why was a suspect, who confessed to a crime, released with no charges? How was video and medical evidence not enough to put one of these football players inside a court room? What is the connection of these prosecutors, if any, to Rep. Rex Barnett? Most of all, We are wondering, how do the residents of Maryville sleep at night.”The #Justice4Daisy hashtag alongside #OpMaryville sprung up on Twitter and the small town of 12,000 got inundated with phone calls and emails demanding to know why charges had not been pressed against the boys. By the middle of the week Missouri Lieutenant Governor Peter Kinder called for a grand jury to convene in the Daisy Coleman case.“I am disappointed that the Attorney General would wash his hands of the matter through a brief statement by a spokesman,” Kinder said in a statement. “The appalling facts in the public record shock the conscience and cry out those responsible authorities must take another look. I call on Attorney General Koster and Prosecutor Rice to join me in asking that the Circuit Court convene a grand jury to review all the evidence, hears all witnesses, and issue a decision as to whether charges should ensue.”Despite the recent rise in support for the Coleman family , the accused has continued to maintain that the sex was consensual, while a spokesperson for Koster said that his office had no authority under state law to reopen the investigation on its own.