The Commercial-News, Danville, IL

Local News

October 18, 2013

Teen sex assault case to be reopened

(Continued)

Eric Zahnd, the prosecutor in nearby Platte County, said the job could go to another county prosecutor, a lawyer in private practice or a lawyer from the state attorney general’s office. A special prosecutor can ask for additional investigations and meet with the witnesses before deciding whether to proceed, said Zahnd, who has requested and been appointed a special prosecutor in the past.

On Wednesday, Rice said he was asking for a special prosecutor only because of recent media stories that questioned the integrity of the county’s justice system. He said he stood by his earlier statements about the case, which generated new attention and an outpouring of responses on social media following an investigation by the Kansas City Star. The family also spoke out earlier this summer to Kansas City radio station KCUR.

The incident happened in January 2012, after Coleman’s daughter, Daisy, and a 13-year-old friend left the Colemans’ house in the middle of the night to meet some boys.

Daisy said the boys gave her alcohol and she doesn’t remember much of what happened next. Another 17-year-old allegedly videotaped the incident involving Daisy on a cellphone. The 13-year-old girl also said she was forced to have sex with a 15-year-old. The boys said the sex was consensual.

The 15-year-old was charged in the juvenile system. Charges against the 17-year-old accused of recording the incident were also dropped in March 2012.

Melinda Coleman did not return phone calls seeking comment after Rice announced he would ask for a special prosecutor. But in an interview with The Associated Press earlier Wednesday, Coleman insisted she would help investigators in any way she could, even if the case never made it to trial.

“I think just having it looked at fairly and having other people know how much we were bullied goes a long way. Even if that’s all that ever comes out of it,” she said. “That may be enough to move on and have some peace and some security.”

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