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Mo. man accused of rape in high-profile case charged with misdemeanor


County prosecutor Robert Rice, left, and Sheriff Darren White, back, hold a news conference outside the Nodaway County Court House in Maryville, Mo., Wednesday, Oct. 16, 2013. Rice announced that he's asking for a special prosecutor to look at the case of a 14-year-old girl who says she was plied with alcohol and raped by a 17-year-old acquaintance. (AP Photo/Orlin Wagner) (The Associated Press)

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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