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Sheriff Addresses Criticism of Handling of 2012 Sex Assault Allegation

As story gains national attention, sheriff says alleged victim's family not helpful in investigation.
(MARYVILLE, Mo.) A northwest Missouri town is in the national spotlight more than a year after the investigation of an alleged sexual assault of two teenage girls.

There are accusations of a cover up, small-town politics and brushing it all under the rug.  It has stirred up the community.

"My concern is what is it going to take for them to do something here?" asks Melinda Coleman, the mother of the victim, in a story on CNN. "Is one of these girls going to have to die?"

Coleman's daughter Daisy says she and a friend, when they were 14 and 13 years old, were sexually assaulted by two teens with another boy recording it on video.

Charges originally filed against the three were later dropped.

"Everybody in this case tried to do everything they could to find justice for these young girls," said Nodaway County Sheriff Darren White.

A Kansas City Star article took an in-depth look at the actions of the sheriff and county prosecutor in the case, partially because the boys accused in the investigation were connected to prominent Maryville families.

White denies any type of special treatment in the case.

"That would be a horrific lie," he said. "Anyone with any common sense at all knows that that's not the case."

In fact, Sheriff White places much of the blame on the Coleman family.

"The family decided they didn't want to cooperate," White said. "They no longer wanted to participate. They absolutely refused to aid in their case in anyway."

However, the internet is abuzz, and the story has gained national, and even international attention. Websites are championing Daisy's cause for justice.

"The social media is swamped with people that are ignorant to the facts," White said. "Social media allows any anonymous person to post anything that they choose to post without any supporting evidence or documentation."

White says things might have ended differently had victim's family cooperated with the investigation.

"I can hold my head up and say the Nodaway County Sheriff's office did their job," White said. "I would also say I'm in support of the prosecuting attorney in that he did his job. It's very sad to think that our society has sunk to the level that the hype and the drama are far more newsworthy than the truth."

A peaceful protest in support of Daisy Coleman is planned for Oct. 22, at the Nodaway County Courthouse.
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