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Man accused of rape avoids felony

on January 10, 2014 10:20 AM

MARYVILLE, Mo. (AP) — A Missouri man accused of sexually assaulting a 14-year-old schoolmate when he was 17 has pleaded guilty to a misdemeanor child endangerment charge as part of a deal with prosecutors.

Matt Barnett entered the plea Thursday during a court hearing in his hometown of Maryville. He was sentenced to two years of probation and a four-month suspended jail term.

The girl says Barnett raped her at a house party in January 2012. Barnett says the sex was consensual. The local prosecutor dropped the case because he said the girl’s family stopped cooperating.

A special prosecutor was tasked with re-examining it after it received widespread attention last fall.

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