A judge has designated a special prosecutor to investigate an alleged sex crime in northwest Missouri.

Jackson County prosecutor Jean Peters Baker has been selected to handle the case in which a 14-year-old girl says she and a 13-year-old friend were raped in 2012 by then-members of the Maryville High School Football team. Felony charges against the alleged attackers were later dropped.

The case has gained national and international attention since an article detailing developments to date appeared in the Kansas City Star earlier this month. Nodaway County Prosecutor Robert Rice was criticized by some who said the charges were dropped due to political pressure. One of the accused boys is the grandson of a once-prominent politician.

Amid that scrutiny, the Rice asked last week that a special prosecutor be named to look into the case. He also denies that his decision to drop the charges was politically motivated.