Civility was the order of the evening in Maryville, Mo., Tuesday evening at an organized event in support of alleged rape victim, Daisy Coleman. Some in the town had feared an invasion of outsiders protesting the handling of the case.
Highway troopers and police seemed to be on every corner of downtown Maryville, but they had little to do.
Social media had aroused international attention after the case of Daisy Coleman was resurrected by investigative reporters. Coleman said she and a friend were sexually assaulted nearly two years ago by two 17-year-old classmates. She and her mother went public to say the county prosecutor was wrong in dropping charges.
Hacktivists from the collective Anonymous barraged some in the town with messages and threats. A Facebook page dubbed "Justice for Daisy" drew several thousand promises to attend the protest. About 350 people showed up.
The protest was downgraded to a rally after a special prosecutor was named this week to re-examine the evidence. Event organizer Courtney Cole said the goal was to make sure justice was served.
"I was a victim, and I feel very passionately that if you're going to speak, speak loudly so no one can silence you,” said Blue Springs, Mo. resident Courtney Calderone, carrying daisies in honor of the girl at the center of the case.
Gary Aley said he's lived most of his life in Maryville. He said he doesn’t think Daisy Coleman got justice under the initial investigation.
"Politics got into this too much,” said Aley. “There was a lot of strings pulled, I think, on the deal."
One of the boys originally accused is grandson of a former state representative.
Several people in the crowd who said they lived in Maryville declined any comment.