This is the footballer at the centre of the small town rape scandal that has exploded into the national headlines and attracted hacktivists Anonymous, amid allegations of cover-up, politicking and victim-blaming so extreme that the girl has twice attempted suicide and her family have been driven out of town.
In April, eight months after they left Maryville, Missouri, the scene of the alleged crime, the family’s home – then on the market – was razed in a suspicious fire, the cause of which remains unknown.
Today 19-year-old Matthew Barnett, pictured here, is a student at the University of Central Missouri after all charges against him were dropped.
He was a popular senior at Maryville High School, Missouri – and the scion of a prominent political family – when he was accused of sexually assaulting 14-year-old Daisy Coleman at his home while his friend, Jordan Zech, then 17, filmed it on an iPhone.
A boy of 15 was accused of doing the same in another room with Daisy’s 13-year-old friend.
The Colemans moved from Albany to Maryville in hopes of a fresh start three years ago. Daisy’s physician father, Michael had been killed when the car he was driving hit black ice and plummeted into a ravine. Daisy, then 10, and her brother, Logan, then 9, were in the car but escaped.
As a family they had hoped that the move would help them leave behind something of the grief that followed.