Teens detail paid sex

 January 15, 1998 | Chattanooga Times Free Press (TN)

 | Page: B1 | Section: B1
592 Words

Two teen-agers testified against former television weatherman Daryl Wayne McCollister at a preliminary hearing in Hamilton County General Sessions Court on Wednesday. McCollister was arrested in December on three counts of statutory rape based on the statements of three boys ages 14, 15 and 16. On Wednesday, a lanky 16-year-old boy wearing a checkered shirt, jeans and tennis shoes, stood before the judge's bench and told his story before a crowded courtroom: he had sex with McCollister several times in return for money and even told two of his friends how they could make money from McCollister. The meteorologist allegedly arranged to meet the boys in a Rossville Boulevard parking lot. He would take them back to his home, and then drive by his bank to pay the boys. Allegedly, the more things the teen-agers would do, the more McCollister would pay them. For allowing McCollister to perform oral sex, the teens could allegedly make $40 to $50. For allowing McCollister to videotape himself having sex with the boys, McCollister would allegedly pay $100. Both teen-agers identified a photograph of the tripod and video camera allegedly used to videotape sex in McCollister's home. The camera was found by police at the Newschannel 9 Science Theater at Northgate, where McCollister served as director. The 16-year-old also testified this was not the first time he'd had sex with a man. "I'd done it twice with another man," in return for a new fishing pole and tackle box, he said. "That guy told me guys make money with other guys for this," he said. The teen-ager also told how he was in and out of group homes. He once ran away from one group home and hitchhiked to McCollister's house at 110B Yother Lane, he said. When questioned by McCollister's attorney, Don Poole, the teen-ager said he went there to make money. Next, a 15-year-old boy gave the court a similar account. "Are these homosexual things you've described?" asked Poole. "Yes, sir." "Are you gay?" "No, sir," said the boy. "But you participated in them for money?" "Yes, sir." The 15-year-old, who was 14 at the time of the alleged offenses, also testified to being abused sexually when he was younger as well as various trips to Juvenile Court for theft, assault and truancy. Chattanooga police Detective Mike Mathis testified that in January 1997 police became aware of possible problems with McCollister when a car he rented was tied to an alleged pickup attempt of an East Lake youth. After hearing the proof, Judge Bob Moon found there was probable cause to send the cases to the Hamilton County grand jury. Based on the proof, Moon said that McCollister's alleged victims were "easy prey" and that McCollister seemed to target "the poor, uneducated kids living part-time in juvenile facilities and part-time in dysfunctional families." Although Poole will not disclose McCollister's exact defense strategy, he told The Times that, "under the law promiscuity is no longer a defense, but it is illegal to be a prostitute." Poole said he feels it's arguable under the law whether it was statutory rape. According to District Attorney Bill Cox, the law defines statutory rape as sexual penetration of another who is between the ages of 13 and 18, where the accused is at least four years older. McCollister faces a possible one to six years if convicted. He remains out on bond pending action by the grand jury. According to Newschannel 9 news director Steve Hunsicker, McCollister resigned from his job in December. Ben Roy has been hired as the new director of the Science Theater and shows have resumed in the Northgate theater.

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