After a firestorm of national attention and pressure from local lawmakers, Missouri Prosecutor Robert Rice has asked a judge to appoint a special prosecutor to investigate the alleged rapes of Daisy Coleman and Paige Parkhurst. Rice, who originally made the decision to drop the charges about the two 17-year-old boy accused of the assault, "defended his previous actions but said, because the victim appeared on CNN saying she would testify, the time is right to appoint a special prosecutor to re-examine the case," KCTV news reports.
This is a move that people who don't believe justice was done in Coleman and Parkhurst's cases are looking for. The incident happened in 2012, but the story garnered national attention this week after an in-depth report in the Kansas City Star. The two girls claim they were raped by two older football players after drinking at one of the boy's house, and that the town's officials had let them off the hook, possibly because one of them comes from a well-connected Missouri family. Rice and Sheriff Darren White said the girls didn't want to cooperate; the girls and their families say they were cooperating until the charges were dropped.
Parkhurst said in an interview this week, "They weren’t listening to us at all. They were really blaming us for it. They dropped all of the felony charges and then didn’t tell us about it. "
Until now, the one thing holding back a re-examination of the case was Rice. Since he wa the local county prosecutor, Missouri Attorney General Chris Koster had deferred to him, even as Lieutenant Governor Peter Kinder called on Koster to launch a grand-jury investigation. But any action to push the case forward depended on Rice stepping away from the case. "It's important to me that the public confidence in our criminal justice system be upheld," Rice said in his statement.
The special prosecutor will now review the evidence, which includes rape kit results and witness testimonies that were sealed when charges against the boys were dropped. That prosecutor will then have the option of bringing new charges if they are deemed warranted.