The second alleged victim in a shocking teen rape case that took place 21 months ago in Maryville, Mo., has publicly identified herself. Paige Parkhurst, now 15, has revealed herself as the second teen girl who was raped and whose rape was filmed by football players at Maryville High School, against whom all charges have been dropped.
Although it’s incredibly rare for underage sexual assault victims to be named by the media, Paige told Al Jazeera that she and her mother, Robin Bourland, chose to come forward, like her friend Daisy Coleman, because they wanted to encourage other sexual assault victims to speak out.
“It is a very big epidemic in the world, and I just hope that other people can be brave enough to speak up when this happened to them,” Paige told the news channel. “And I’d also like to move forward and begin my life again, and to have known that there’s that piece of security of knowing that I at least tried to my best ability to have something done.”
Paige was only 13 in January 2012, when she and her friend Daisy, then 14, allegedly were raped by two 17-year-old high school students at a house party. Daisy’s mother Melinda had checked in on the girls earlier in the night and found them holed up in Daisy’s bedroom, watching movies during a sleepover. But an hour later the pair snuck out of the Coleman house and were picked up by Matthew Barnett, a football player with whom Daisy had been exchanging texts, who drove them to his house three miles away.
According to the Kansas City Star, which broke the story, once at Barnett’s house, Paige and Daisy were served alcohol and raped in adjacent rooms. The case, which polarized the small city of Maryville, catapulted to the national spotlight when the Star published its story on Saturday.
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Among the alarming details, reporter Dugan Arnett wrote that after the assault an unconscious Daisy was driven home and dumped back on her front yard in freezing temperatures, without a coat or shoes. When Melinda Coleman found her daughter outside more than three hours later her hair was reportedly frozen and her feet were frostbitten.
Paige recalled the trip back to Daisy's house after the party in her interview with Al Jazeera: “They drug [sic] her out of his bedroom window, drug [sic] her to the car, and then they were going to drop us off, but they were freaking out, trying to think of how they were going to drop us off without any of her brothers waking up.”
“They took her and carried her to the back corner of her house and left her there. And they told me to go inside, that all she needed to do was to sober up, and that she would be okay, and they were gonna be there and watch her,” she said. “It was very scary. I was really confused and didn’t understand what was fully going on. I was in shock and really worried about my friend. It was freezing out. I don’t know. There was just a lot of things going through my mind.”
Paige also talked about the backlash against them after details of the sexual assault became public knowledge. "There’s been a lot of bullying to students that didn’t have anything to do with Maryville’s. And not everyone in Maryville is bad, and people have to remember that. So I would like to say all of my supporters not to be threatening them in any kind of physical way. They really have to realize that not everyone is at fault here," she said.
On Monday, in response to news that all charges against the alleged rapists had been dropped, the nebulous hacktivist group Anonymous announced that it was organizing a protest in Maryville in support of Daisy on Oct. 22 beginning at 10 a.m. Central Time.
Courtney Cole, one of the organizers of the event, told IBTimes that she was expecting a turnout of roughly 300 people. Cole said she hoped that a large turnout of people outside of the Nodaway County Courthouse would send a message to the Prosecuting Attorney Robert Rice to “do the right thing.”
She said the goal was to motivate Rice “to reopen the case or for him to turn it over to the Missouri Attorney General's Office so that the victim may have her voice heard in court.”
On Tuesday, the Star reported that two state officials, Lt. Gov. Peter Kinder and House Speaker Tim Jones, have called for new investigations into the sexual assault case.
However, Rice repeated his stance in a statement on Tuesday, saying, “There was insufficient evidence to prove a criminal charge beyond a reasonable doubt. The state’s witnesses refused to cooperate,” and adding, “and invoked their Fifth Amendment privilege to not testify.”
Furthermore, he said the Star’s report “did not include all the facts as to what transpired.”