Oct 14 4:14 PM

Anonymous launches #OpMaryville after dropped rape case

The Stream (Al Jazeera)

UPDATE: Anonymous has announced it will begin a "Twitter storm" for the hashtag #OpMaryville at 3pm ET on Tuesday. The group's goals are to pressure the attorney general to investigate the dropped rape charges and promote a peaceful protest at a Maryville courthouse on October 22. 

The hacktivist group Anonymous threatened to take action against the town of Maryville, Mo., after charges against a football player for the alleged rape of a 14-year-old girl were dropped.

The loosely defined, Internet-based collective is best known for taking digital action against everyone from corporations and governments to school bullies. Anonymous played a key role in bringing national attention to the Steubenville High School rape case in Ohio last year — in which a 16-year-old girl was raped by members of the high school's football team while she was unconscious by leaking deleted tweets and videos shared through social media which implicated the teenage perpetrators and helped the case to move forward.

On Monday, using the hashtags #Justice4Daisy and #OpMaryville, the group pledged to bring attention to the cases of two Maryville girls who say they were raped during an evening spent at a schoolmate's house in 2012. The family of one of the girls, Daisy Coleman, pressed charges against Matthew Barnett, a 17-year-old football player at Daisy's school. According to a police report, Barnett confessed to the encounter but said it was consensual and denied using any force. Another girl, 13, was raped by a 15-year-old whose case was handled in a juvenile court. A Maryville sheriff said the evidence gathered against the boys was "absolutely" enough to warrant prosecution. However, the charges were later dropped by the prosecutor for "lack of evidence." 

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