Nodaway County prosecutor Robert Rice is taking himself out of a controversial rape case that has generated international publicity and international pressure for him to do something. He’s asking a judge to appoint a special prosecutor. Attorney General Chris Koster says his office is standing by to help, if desired, now that Rice has removed himself.
Rice had filed misdemeanor charges against a high school student two years ago but later dropped them, claiming the family of one of the victims had refused to cooperate—a statement the family says is misleading. The charge had been filed against the grandson of a former state representative. Rice denies any suggestions that he dropped the charge because of political influence.
Rice says he decided to take the step after seeing four of the state’s witnesses say on CNN they’d cooperate with him.
The mother of the main victim in the case has told the Kansas City Star she told Rice she would not give a deposition under oath after the felony charges had been dropped because she didn’t want her daughter to relive the incident by testifying in a case in which only a misdemeanor charge was involved. The Star says she changed her mind the next day, went back to Rice’s office and refused to sign a form re-stating what she had told him a day earlier. She’s told the Star she told Rice she did want to cooperate in supporting the remaining misdemeanor charge.