TODAY   |  October 17, 2013

Controversial Maryville rape case reopened

A district attorney in the small town Maryville, Mo., is calling for a special prosecutor to reopen a controversial rape case involving a 14-year-old-girl and a popular football player. The girl and her mother say they have been the target of harassment and a house they owned burned down, while the football player’s mom says she is concerned for his safety. NBC’s Kate Snow reports.

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>> kate snow . good morning.

>> this is a case that caught the town of marysville . a 14-year-old accused a pop lor football people of rain. an investigation began, within months, charges were dropped. the alleged victim and her family say they moved out of town. normally, they would not identify the victim of a sexual assault . but in this case the victim and her mother came to tell us their story.

>> i felt very weak, worn down, like i didn't mean anything.

>> reporter: lindsay and daisy coleman speaking out after they learned their case would be reopened t. case that started years ago when melinda found daisy passed out on the front lawn wearing only a tee-shirt and sweat pants.

>> i asked her if she was hurting and she started to cry. so i called at that point i called 911 and we took her to the hospital.

>> it was about when we bought the to the hospital that i started putting two and two together and that i really started remembering some of the things that happened the night before.

>> daisy says she and a 13-year-old friend sneaked out of her house and went to the 17-year-old house of a member of the marysville football team . a typical party took a turn for the worse. excessive alcohol and he told police it was consensual. she says absolutely not. police filed charges of sexual assault .

>> something would be done and it wouldn't happen again.

>> then the charges were dropped t. prosecutor cited a lack of evidence. coleman says she believes the political family of the accused helped make the charges disappear n. calling for the special prosecutor on wednesday, the district attorney said he dropped the case because the colemans refused to speak on the record.

>> if they were wanting to put out the light, to come back to me.

>> reporter: the colemans insist they did cooperate. what exactly happened is unclear t. court file on the investigation is sealed for now. what is clear is that life got even harder for daisy after her accusations went public. in marysville , many attacked daisy online. feeling overwhelmed the family moved 40 miles away . eight months later the house they still owned in marysville burned down t. fire's cause is undrmd.

>> i was almost relieve when they said it was electrical. i hate to think they're vindictive. a part of me is still afraid.

>> the story sparked a national outcry t. accused man is now in college, his mother worries about her son's safety.

>> he has to be walked to class and having be escorted because of their safety. that needs to stop.

>> born et's lawyer had no comment that a special pros security may reopen the case. in past statements, he's said his client has cooperated fully with investigators. daisy coleman 's mother says she is glad to hear they may get another chance at justice.

>> thank you very much. let's turn to lisa, a legal analyst. good morning to you.

>> good morning.

>> there are conflicting accounts of why the charges are dismissed in this case. is this a situation where a special prosecutor might be helpful?

>> absolutely. this case cries out for a review of all of the fact, exactly what happened a year ago on both side. the prosecutor has to determine not that a crime occurred but beyond a reasonable doubt .

>> the prosecutor said the mother and the daughter refused to testify citeing their own fifth amendment right to not to incriminate theirself. if that is true, did he have any other choice?

>> if that were true, it would be hard for victims, what crime could they by a cuesed of, making a false police report , perjuring itself, that comes to mind. we don't know what happened there.

>> on the other hand in missouri, you cannot give consent to a sexual act if you are incapacitated and under the influence, that's the allegation here t. young man has acknowledged the sexual encounter t. young woman apparently was drunk. in some ways this is an open and shut case if those are the facts.

>> exactly. that was the question. was she incapacitated at the time, so far under the influence of alcohol that she couldn't decide for herself whether to consent or number he admits the sexual encounter did occur.

>> lisa, this is a case where the attention is suddenly on this small town , a lot of pressure is brought to bear. in some ways that can be good. in some ways that can't be bad.

>> we should be concerned if this girl and her mother and her family were driven out of the town by the harassment that occurred after she went public with this. if that's the case, i think the special prosecutors should look into harassment, criminal threats, those type of charges.

>> thank you so much.

>> thank you.