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Activists and Hacktivists Take Action to Reopen Teen Sex Assault Case in Missouri | The Nation

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Greg Mitchell

Greg Mitchell

Media, politics and culture.

Activists and Hacktivists Take Action to Reopen Teen Sex Assault Case in Missouri


Protesters affiliated with Anonymous protest outside a state courthouse in Steubenville, Ohio, earlier this year. (AP/Michael McElwain)

A case likened to the infamous episode in Steubenville—but in many ways worse (all charges were dropped)—sparked national publicity, then widespread qeb activism and hackery, after a full account was published by the Kansas City Star on Sunday. The tactics of the protesters are sure to inspire debate.

As promised, Anonymous is already at work. Hacktivists took down the county website last night and #OpMaryville was announced via statement at PasteBin. After others called for action to re-open the case, via Reddit and elsewhere, the Facebook account of the accused perp was IDed, then taken down, as were those of friends. The Los Angeles Times this morning provided an update.

A local rally to re-open the case is planned for October 22. Anonymous has released a video. They claim the girl, Daisy Coleman, backs their efforts. (Her family has allowed her name, and photos, to be published, hoping it will help reopen the case.)

I don’t know if it’s accurate, but after a Maryville restaurant was IDed as either owned by the alleged perp’s family or the place of employment of him or the second boy (take your pick), people started posting nasty or darkly humorous “reviews” of the eatery at Yelp.

Prosecutors in recent days claim the Coleman family refused to cooperate fully and this allegedly torpedoed their case. For more updates.

Read the full Kansas City Star account and earlier local radio piece. But in a nutshell it is truly disturbing, while fitting a pattern in many ways. A young girl, after drinking some alcohol, gets mixed up with an older (football) player, trusts him as she is given much more to drink, and then gets sexually assaulted (or, in his view, has consensual sex). In this case, she gets dumped on her doorstep in the middle of the night for two hours, passed out, in twenty-two-degree temperatures. An iPhone that likely captured some of this on video is passed around, and the kid who shot it also faces charges.

Townfolk side with the football player, who is related to a top GOP state rep. The girl’s mom, a veterinarian, gets fired from her job. All charges are dropped, unlike in Steubenville, even though authorities believe they had a strong case. The boy is well-connected, the girl is not. (Oh, and on the same night, a friend of the victim, a girl, 13, had sex with a boy, 15, who ended up in juvenile court.) The family moves out of town; then their house in Maryville, which they still own, burns down for some reason. The girl, who had been a cheerleader and beauty queen and got mainly A’s in school, allegedly tries to commit suicide twice.

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I’ll update as day goes on. And we’ll also judge responses to the social media/hacker tactics.

Jessica Valenti dissects the Steubenville case and rape culture.

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