Anonymous, everyone's favorite hacktavist collective, has set its digital sights on the rural Missouri town of Maryville, the site of a convoluted and horrible rape case involving two teenage girls and a three high school athletes.
In January fourteen-year-old Daisy Coleman and a thirteen-year-old friend met up with a handful of high school seniors. Two of the boys had sex with the girls, while a third videotaped. Coleman's mother found her the next morning slumped on the front lawn with a with a blood-alcohol level of 0.13.
The girl spent the freezing night outside in just a T-shirt and sweatpants after seventeen-year-old football player Matthew Barnett and his friends deposited her there following a party. Both Coleman and her friend were later examined in a hospital, revealing physical evidence of recent sexual activity. Barnett and the two other boys eventually confessed to their roles in the incident, and the three star athletes soon found themselves facing various felony and misdemeanor charges.
Those charges, however, were short-lived.
First reported after a seven-month investigation by the Kansas City Star, this seemingly airtight case inexplicably fell apart in a matter of months, and all charges were ultimately dropped.
The story has been tearing a viral path through social media since Sunday, and the addition of Barrett's ties to a prominent Missouri political family have caught the attention of national and international media.
Having involved itself in other high-profile rape cases, it's little surprise that Anonymous took notice of Maryville. The group launched #OpMaryville on Monday with the release of a statement and a corresponding video.
Here's an except of the statement (which you can read in full on the next page):
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?
We have heard Daisy's story far too often. We heard it from Steubenville, Halifax and Uttar Pradesh. In some cases, it was too late. Both Amanda Todd and Rehtaeh Parsons, girls not much older than Daisy, took their own lives after the adults, the police and the school system, failed to protect them. If Maryville won't defend these young girls, if the police are too cowardly or corrupt to do their jobs, if justice system has abandoned them, then we will have to stand for them. Mayor Jim Fall, your hands are dirty. Maryville, expect us.
Here's the video, which in traditional Anonymous style is both emotionally forceful and enormously creepy.
Anonymous conducted a similar operation in Ohio against Steubenville High School in 2012. The group dug up and posted tweets, videos and Instagram photos of Steubenville athletes joking about raping an intoxicated sixteen-year-old high school student.
At this point there is no indication that the case will be reinvestigated.
As detailed in the Star's story, Nodaway County prosecutor Robert Rice has held firm that the case against the three athletes isn't as solid as it seems from the outside. He is quoted in the story saying:
"They were doing what they wanted to do, and there weren't any consequences. And it's reprehensible. But is it criminal? No."
Continue for the full text of Anonymous's statement on #OpMaryville
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