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Maryville prosecutor asks judge to appoint special prosecutor in sexual assault case

Nodaway County Prosecutor Robert Rice sees victims on CNN and makes special prosecution request.
Posted By Evan Bleier   |   Oct. 17, 2013 at 2:56 PM   |   Comments

(UPI) -- After dropping felony charges against two 17-year-old boys in the Maryville, Mo., sexual assault case, Nodaway County Prosecutor Robert Rice announced Wednesday that he has asked a judge to appoint a special prosecutor to investigate the Jan. 2012 incident.

Rice stands by his decision to drop the charges, but elected to request the special prosecutor after seeing one of the alleged victims, 14-year-old Daisy Coleman, and her mother appear on CNN and state that they would testify in the case.

According to Rice, Daisy and her mother, Melinda Coleman, had previously invoked their Fifth Amendment rights not to testify and he therefore did not have enough evidence to proceed with the case.

During a news conference Wednesday, Rice claimed that the Colemans were made aware that their failure to testify would force the case to be dismissed.

"I got a deposition. I just can't show it to you because it's a closed record," Rice told the media. "I'm standing in front of you today honestly wishing I could hand you the documents I've just discussed."

The Colemans have publicly disputed Rice’s assertion.

"I've spent my entire life trying to work as hard as I can to do the right thing all the time, and then someone can throw out a couple of baseless rumors that makes everybody think that I'm a crook," Rice said. "I'm telling you what, that makes me mad. It's not true. It never was true.”

Maryville city manager Greg McDaniel said that city officials support Rice's decision to seek a special prosecutor.

"Every day that goes by without further judicial action or explanation is detrimental to the lives and livelihood of the citizens of Maryville," McDaniel said in a prepared statement. "This was an unfortunate incident that cast a shadow over our community."

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