Catherine Daisy Coleman (March 30, 1997 – August 4, 2020) was an American sexual abuse victim advocate. Her experience of sexual assault at the age of 14 was featured in the 2016 documentary film Audrie & Daisy for which she received a Cinema Eye Honor. Coleman cofounded the nonprofit organization SafeBAE which was aimed at preventing sexual assault in schools. She died by suicide at age 23.
Coleman was born to Melinda and Michael Coleman. She had 3 brothers. Her father was a physician. He died in a traffic accident in 2009.
2012 sexual assault and investigation
In January 2012, Matthew Barnett, 17, was arrested for the rape and sexual assault of Coleman, a 14-year-old girl. A 15-year-old boy was accused of doing the same to the girl’s 13-year-old friend, and a third boy admitted to recording Barnett's alleged assault on a cellphone. A significant controversy arose in 2013 when the county prosecutor dropped felony and misdemeanor charges against Barnett, grandson of influential former state representative Rex Barnett, and the Nodaway County prosecutor dropped the felony sexual exploitation charge against the third boy.
Outrage in online communities including Anonymous soon followed when the story surrounding this case was revisited in October 2013. Michael Schaffer, reporting on the incident for The New Republic, described Maryville, Missouri as a "lawless hellhole". In 2014, a special prosecutor was put in charge to reinvestigate the case. Barnett pleaded guilty to misdemeanor second-degree endangerment of the welfare of a child for leaving her outside her house, and was sentenced by Missouri Circuit Judge Glen Dietrich to four months in jail that were suspended in favor of two years probation. Barnett was sentenced in juvenile court for the assault.
Career and activism
Coleman and her older brother Charlie advocated nationwide for sexual assault survivors. The HuffPost named Coleman as one of the "13 most Fearless Teens of 2013". Coleman's story was featured in the 2016 Netflix documentary Audrie & Daisy. Coleman and Audrie Pott were a recipients of a 2016 Cinema Eye Honor as "unforgettable" memorable nonfiction film subjects. She attended Missouri Valley College. She co-founded SafeBAE (Before Anyone Else), a nonprofit organization aimed at ending sexual assaults in schools. In June 2018, Coleman relocated to Colorado Springs, Colorado and was working as a tattoo artist. She worked on a second film project titled Saving Daisy focusing on her recovery process, post-traumatic stress disorder, and the use of CBD and EMDR therapy.
After the sexual assault, Coleman attempted suicide on multiple occasions. Coleman became the target of daily bullying prompting the family to move from Maryville to Albany, Missouri. Their homes had suspicious fire damage in Nodaway and Gentry County. In June 2018, her younger brother, Tristan died in a car accident at the age of 19. She died by suicide on August 4, 2020.