The suspect in a case of alleged sexual assault that has garnered international attention has pleaded guilty to a misdemeanor count of child endangerment.
The Kansas City Star reports 19-year-old Matthew Barnett of Maryville was sentenced to 120 days in jail but the execution of that sentence was suspended and he was put on two years of probation. He was also ordered to verbally apologize to his then-14-year-old victim, Daisy Coleman.
Coleman alleged that Barnett sexually assaulted her at a house party in January 2012. Barnett’s plea means he admits to leaving her barefoot and unconscious on the front lawn of her home in freezing temperatures the morning after the party, but it does not address allegations of sexual assault.
The prosecutor appointed in the case, Jackson County Prosecuting Attorney Jean Peters Baker, said there was not enough evidence to prosecute a sexual assault charge. She was appointed after a Star article generated interest in the case that Coleman’s mother said was dropped by the Nodaway County Prosecutor, Robert Rice, due to political favoritism. Rice said the case was dropped due to lack of cooperation by Coleman and her mother.
Peters-Baker says Coleman and her mother were “very cooperative.”
Daisy Coleman was hospitalized earlier this week after ingesting several pills. Her family says she took those pills in response to online harassment related to the case.