The Tennessee Supreme Court has overturned an antiquated rule classifying statutory rape victims as accomplices. Yesterday the court issued a unanimous opinion to eliminate the requirement that testimony of the victim be corroborated by other independent evidence. The ruling upholds the statutory rape conviction of DeWayne Collier of Shelby County. He was convicted of having sex with a 14-year-old Arkansas girl. The high court had expressed interest in issues raised by Collier's case, including whether the victim of a sexual offense can be a criminal accomplice.
The rule came about through an 1895 case in which a man was tried on charges that he had sex with his underage niece. A court ruled that, since they were related, both the man and the girl could be convicted of incest.