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It has been held error to refuse to permit the accused to prove, on the cross-examination of the prosecutrix, specific acts of intercourse with other men, where such admissions evidence a state of morals which would place the prosecutrix in the category of what is known as a common prostitute.
The victim, Elsie Wells, testified that defendant, W.G. Graham, raped her and that defendant’s friend helped hold her down. The friend corroborated the rape, but denied holding the victim down. Defendant testified that when he refused to have sex with the victim, she scratched and hit him; thus, he hit her back, but he insisted that there was no intercourse. Defendant was convicted of forcible rape. Defendant appealed, and argued that the trial court erred in refusing to permit evidence of the victim's prior sexual relationships with other men.
Did the trial court err in refusing to permit evidence of the victim’s prior sexual relationships with other men?
The court reversed defendant's conviction for forcible rape and remanded the case for a new trial. According to the court, Evidence regarding the victim's bad reputation for chastity and her sexual relationships with other men was admissible to explain why the victim got into an altercation with defendant.