KANSAS CITY, Missouri (Reuters) - A Missouri judge appointed a special prosecutor on Monday to take over the investigation of an alleged rape in the town of Maryville, a case that attracted national attention after it was publicized by the computer hacking group Anonymous.
Jean Peters Baker, prosecutor in Missouri’s second-most populous county in the Kansas City area, was named to investigate the case, which involved a former high school football player accused of sexually assaulting a 14-year-old girl at a party in 2012, and a second teen accused of recording the incident on a cellphone.
Nodaway County Prosecutor Bob Rice had filed sexual assault charges against the two boys, who were both 17 at the time, but later dropped them, citing a lack of cooperation from the girl, her mother and other witnesses.
The girl, Daisy Coleman, and her mother Melinda Coleman have denied being uncooperative with prosecutors and in several interviews have pressed for the case to be reopened.
Rice said on October 16 he would ask for a special prosecutor to conduct an independent review to determine if charges should be refiled after four witnesses said in a television interview they were willing to testify in the case.
Associate Circuit Court Judge Glen Dietrich appointed Baker as the special prosecutor, according to a clerk with the Nodaway County Circuit Court where Maryville is located.
Maryville is about 90 miles north of Kansas City in the northwest corner of Missouri.
A months-long investigation of the case published on October 13 in the Kansas City Star focused attention on Maryville. The case has been compared to the 2012 rape of a 16-year-old girl by high school football players in Steubenville, Ohio.
Reporting by Kevin Murphy; Editing by Greg McCune and Andre Grenon