Anonymous has turned its many watchful eyes on another small town scandal, this one in Maryville, Mo.
“There’s a multitude of anons and angry people alike planning a course of action as we speak for Maryville,” said Deric Lostutter, aka RealKYAnonymous, who played an instrumental role in Anonymous’ crusade in the Steubenville rape case. “We are watching. Always.”
Lostutter also sent The Huffington Post a one-page statement that had been posted online Monday.
“We demand an immediate investigation into the handling by local authorities of Daisy’s case,” the statement reads, referring to Daisy Coleman, who was drunk when high school football player Matthew Barnett, then 17, allegedly sexually assaulted her last year at a house party. Coleman was 14 at the time.
If the Maryville authorities won’t “do their jobs,” the hacktivist’s statement says, “we will have to stand for them.”
Anonymous’ plans formed rapidly after local paper The Kansas City Star published a 4,000-word report on how Barnett and a friend had sex with two underage girls. The report –– the result of seven months of investigating –– shot to the top of Reddit on Sunday, where readers across the country weighed in on the injustice of what reportedly occurred.
The day after the report was published, Lostutter, who is currently being investigated by the U.S. Department of Justice and other agencies for his alleged role in hacking the Steubenville football team’s website, posted a call to action on his Facebook page.
Things were ratcheted up Monday afternoon, when YourAnonNews — one of the most influential Anonymous crusaders on Twitter –– began publicizing the issue to 1.1 million followers.
The initial events of the saga began in early January, when Barnett told police he had sex with Coleman, whom witnesses described as incoherent, local station KCUR writes. Although Barnett insisted the sex was consensual, Coleman’s blood-alcohol level was measured at 0.13 seven hours after she had reportedly had her last drink, the Star reported.
Coleman was then abandoned in the front yard of her home, where she passed out for three hours in sub-freezing temperatures. After Coleman’s mother found her and called 911, the girl was brought to St. Francis Hospital, where doctors discovered vaginal tears, The Kansas City Star reported.
Barnett was initially charged with felony sexual assault, but that charge was later dropped by Nodaway County Prosecutor Robert Rice, who cited a “lack of proof,” according to the Maryville Daily Forum. The only other charge against Barnett –– a misdemeanor charge of child endangerment –– was dropped over the summer, KCUR reported.
Coleman was subsequently bullied at school, and her mother lost her job, prompting the family to move to a new town 40 miles away for a fresh start. Still, Coleman is reportedly scarred by what happened: She has attempted suicide and spent three months at a home for troubled teens, according to The Star.
Lostutter said that Anonymous is planning protests and a “media storm” to publicize the issue. The campaign is already beginning to light up on Twitter under the hashtags #OpMaryville and #Justice4Daisy.
Last year, Anonymous –– with Lostutter’s help –– published a small trove of photos, videos and messages that illustrated some of the events surrounding the rape of a 16-year-old girl by two high school football players in Steubenville, Ohio. Many of those images were widely distributed during news coverage of the trial, which ended in the conviction of the athletes.