North Carolina Clergy Abuse Lawsuits
Numerous survivors in North Carolina have come forward with allegations of sexual abuse against Catholic priests and clergy members. The most recent incidents of abuse occurred in the 1990s.
The Roman Catholic dioceses in North Carolina have also been accused of covering up abuse allegations.
Survivors have found justice and compensation by filing clergy abuse lawsuits against these dioceses.
1998 | Charlotte Diocese Settles Two Abuse Lawsuits
In the 1990s, two brothers accused the former priest Damion Jacques Lynch of sexual abuse. One of the survivors was 14 years old at the time of the abuse. Lynch was eventually removed from ministry following these accusations.
The Diocese of Charlotte settled two lawsuits with the family of the survivors in Watauga County Superior Court.
2010 | Survivor Sues Diocese & Catholic Order
In 2008, a survivor accused Robert Yurgel, a member of the Capuchin Franciscan religious order, of abuse. The priest was arrested by the Charlotte-Mecklenburg police. According to the survivor, Yurgel abused him from 1997 to 1999 at St. Matthew Church and Our Lady of Consolation in Charlotte. The abuse also took place at St. Michael Church in Gastonia.
In 2009, Yurgel pled guilty to a felony second-degree sexual offense. He served nearly eight years in prison. In 2010, the Capuchin Franciscans and the Diocese of Charlotte settled a civil lawsuit related to Yurgel’s abuse.
2021 | Charlotte Diocese Accused Of Cover-Up
In November 2021, a clergy abuse survivor filed a lawsuit against the Diocese of Charlotte. The plaintiff alleges he was abused by Donald Baker, a priest with the diocese. The plaintiff was seven years old when the alleged abuse began. The abuse continued from 1985 to 1989. The lawsuit accuses the Diocese of Charlotte of knowingly failing to stop the abuse.
In 1994, Baker left the ministry. A diocesan spokesperson confirmed that Baker appeared on a 2019 list of credibly accused Catholic clergy members.
Clergy Abuse Settlements In North Carolina
In recent years, Catholic dioceses across the United States have paid financial settlements to clergy abuse victims. In North Carolina, the Dioceses of Charlotte and Raleigh have reportedly paid millions of dollars to settle claims.
Over the course of seven decades, the Diocese of Raleigh reportedly paid $2,717,750 in settlements. According to an analysis of the diocese’s annual reports, the Diocese of Charlotte paid more than $2 million in settlements in just 15 years. The Diocese of Charlotte paid an additional $1.2 million in “safe environment measures” during this time as well.
Child Sex Abuse Statutes Of Limitations In North Carolina
In November 2019, North Carolina lawmakers signed Senate Bill 199 (S199) into law. S199 is also commonly known as the SAFE Child Act. The SAFE Child Act significantly expanded the rights of child sexual abuse and sexual assault survivors.
To benefit survivors of child sex abuse in the state of North Carolina, the SAFE Child Act includes the following provisions:
- S199 extended the legal deadline for civil lawsuits.
- S199 opened a two-year “look back” window. This window allowed any survivor of child sexual abuse to file a civil claim, regardless of when the abuse took place.
- S199 allows survivors of abuse to file civil claims within two years of a criminal felony conviction of a perpetrator. This provision is useful for survivors whose claim is filed past the legal deadline or after the “look back” window closes.
- S199 extended the legal deadline for certain misdemeanor crimes of abuse.
In North Carolina, a survivor of abuse must follow the appropriate statute of limitations for the specific crime and type of legal action they are pursuing. Criminal charges go by a different statute than civil claims.
Civil Statutes For Child Sex Abuse In North Carolina
In North Carolina, survivors of child sexual abuse may file a civil lawsuit against their abuser any time before they reach 28 years of age. Prior to the passing of the SAFE Child Act, the civil statute of limitations on sexual abuse in North Carolina was three years. Survivors had to file a lawsuit before they reached 21 years of age.
S199 also included another civil statute that affects survivors of childhood sexual abuse. If an abuser is criminally convicted, a survivor may file a civil lawsuit against that abuser within two years of the conviction. This provision of the law may give some survivors, over the age of 28, a second chance at civil action.
You May Have New Legal Rights
Speak With Our Lawyers About North Carolina’s Legal Window
North Carolina’s “Look Back” Window
On January 1, 2020, North Carolina opened a two-year “look back” window for survivors of child sexual abuse. This “look back” window was a provision of S199. During this window, all survivors of child sexual abuse were eligible to file a civil lawsuit, regardless of the age of the case.
North Carolina’s “look back” window closed on December 31, 2021.
Criminal Statutes For Child Sex Abuse In North Carolina
In North Carolina, there is no time limit on any felony criminal charges. Most sexual offenses are felony offenses in North Carolina, including rape and the rape of a minor.
List Of Accused Clergy In North Carolina
This list includes North Carolina priests credibly accused of abuse. Some additional clergy members facing abuse allegations can also be found on the list. However, this list does not include church staff members, volunteers or parishioners accused of sexual abuse. It also does not include members of other religious orders outside of the Catholic Church.
If you were abused by a clergy member in North Carolina, we can help you seek justice. Taking an abuser to court is not an easy decision, but it can have positive repercussions for a survivor and prevent additional victimization. Consult our experienced legal team today and learn more about your rights as a survivor of abuse.
Survivors May Be Eligible For Compensation
Learn About Filing a Lawsuit in North Carolina
There Are 15 Accused Clergy Members From The Diocese Of Raleigh, NC:
If you are unable to find a name in our North Carolina list of accused Catholic priests, consider searching our nationwide database of accused clergy members. The priest you are looking for may be listed in another state or diocese.
However, you may still have legal options available, even if your abuser is not listed in our database. Allegations against the abuser may not have been investigated yet. Speak with our experienced lawyers today to learn more about your legal options.
North Carolina Priest Abuse Victim Resources
There are organizations and programs all across the state of North Carolina that offer resources to victims of sexual abuse or sexual assault. If you are a survivor of abuse, you are not alone.
|County||Facility Name||Phone Number(s)|
|Alamance||CrossRoads Sexual Assault Response & Resources Center, Inc.||Hotline: 336-228-0360
|Alexander||The Shelter Home of Caldwell County (SHCC)||Hotline: 828-758-0888|
|Alleghany||D.A.N.A (Domestic Abuse is NOT Acceptable) Services||Hotline: 336-372-DANA (3262)
|Anson||Anson County Domestic Violence Coalition (ACDVC)||Hotline: 704-690-0362
|Ashe||A Safe Home for Everyone (A.S.H.E.)||Hotline: 336-246-5430
|Avery||OASIS, Inc. (Opposing Abuse with Service, Information, and Shelter)||Hotline: 828-504-0911
|Beaufort||REAL Crisis Intervention||Office: 252-758-4357|
|Bertie||Roanoke Chowan S.A.F.E. (Services for Abused Families with Emergencies)||Office: 252-332-1933|
|Bladen||Families First, Inc.||Hotline: 910-641-0444|
|Brunswick||Rape Crisis Center of Coastal Horizons Center, Inc.||Hotline: 910-392-7460
|Buncombe||Our VOICE, Inc.||Hotline: 828-255-7576
|Burke||Options of Burke County||Hotline: 828-438-9444|
|Cabarrus||Esther House of Stanly County, Inc||Hotline: 828-635-8850|
|Caldwell||The Shelter Home of Caldwell County (SHCC)||Hotline: 828-635-8850|
|Camden||Albemarle Hopeline||Hotline: 252-338-3011
|Carteret||Carteret County Rape Crisis Program||Hotline: 252-725-4040
|Caswell||CrossRoads Sexual Assault Response & Resources Center, Inc.||Hotline: 336-228-0360
|Catawba||Family Guidance Center||Hotline: 828-302-6952
|Chatham||Second Bloom of Chatham and Chatham Family Violence Prevention Services||Hotline: 919-545- STOP (7867)|
|Cherokee||REACH of Cherokee County||Hotline: 828-837-8064
|Chowan||Albemarle Hopeline||Hotline: 252-338-3011
|Clay||REACH of Clay County||Hotline: 1-828-389-0797|
|Cleveland||Cleveland County Abuse Prevention Council, Inc.||Hotline: 704-481-0043
|Cleveland||Phoenix Counseling Center||Hotline: 855-5-CRISIS (27-4747)|
|Columbus||Families First, Inc.||Hotline: 910-641-0444|
|Craven||Promise Place||Hotline: 252-635-7096
|Cumberland||Rape Crisis of Cumberland County||Hotline: 910-485-7273|
|Currituck||Albemarle Hopeline||Hotline: 252-338-3011
|Dare||Outer Banks Hotline||Hotline: 252-473-3366
|Davidson||Family Services of Davidson County, Inc.||Hotline: 336-243-1934
|Davie||Davie Center for Violence Prevention||Hotline: 336-751-HELP (4357)
|Duplin||Rape Crisis Center of Coastal Horizons Center, Inc.||Hotline: 910-392-7460
|Durham||Durham Crisis Response Center||Hotline: 919-403-6562
|Eastern Band of Cherokee||The Ernestine Walkingstick Domestic Violence Shelter||Hotline: 828-359-6830|
|Edgecombe||My Sister’s House||Hotline: 252-459-3094|
|Forsyth||Family Services Inc.||Hotline: 336-722-4457
|Franklin||Safe Space||Hotline: 919-497-5444|
|Gaston||Phoenix Counseling Center||Hotline: 855-5-CRISIS (27-4747)|
|Gates||Roanoke Chowan S.A.F.E. (Services for Abused Families with Emergencies)||Office: 252-332-1933|
|Gates||Albemarle Hopeline||Hotline: 252-338-3011
|Granville||Families Living Violence Free||Office: 919-693-3579|
|Greene||REAL Crisis Intervention||Office: 252-758-4357|
|Guilford||Family Service of the Piedmont||Hotline: 336-273-7273 (Greensboro)
Hotline: 336-889-7273 (High Point)
|Halifax||Hannah’s Place||Hotline: 252-541-2064
|Harnett||SAFE of Harnett County, Inc.||Hotline: 910-893-7233|
|Haywood||REACH of Haywood County||Hotline: 828-456-7898|
|Hertford||Roanoke Chowan S.A.F.E. (Services for Abused Families with Emergencies)||Office: 252-332-1933
|Hoke||Hoke County Domestic Violence and Sexual Assault Center, Inc.||Hotline: 910-875-4494
|Hyde||Hyde County Hotline||Hotline: 1-252-925-2500
|Iredell||Fifth Street MinistriesDiakonos, Inc.||Office: 704-872-4045|
|Jackson||REACH of Macon County||Hotline: 828-586-8969|
|Johnston||Harbor, Inc.||Hotline: 919-631-5478
|Jones||Promise Place||Hotline: 252-635-7096
|Lee||HAVEN in Lee County||Hotline: 919-774-8923|
|Lenoir||REAL Crisis Intervention||Office: 252-758-4357|
|Lincoln||Phoenix Counseling Center||Hotline: 855-5-CRISIS (27-4747)|
|McDowell||New HOPE of McDowell||Hotline: 828-652-6150
|Macon||REACH of Macon County||Hotline: 828-369-5544
|Madison||My Sister’s Place||Hotline: 828-649-2446
|Martin||REAL Crisis Intervention||Office: 252-758-4357|
|Mecklenburg||Safe Alliance, Inc.||Hotline: 980-771-4673
|Mitchell||Mitchell County SafePlace, Inc.||Hotline: 828-765-4044
|Montgomery||Esther House of Stanly County, Inc||Hotline: 704-961-7500|
|Moore||Friend to Friend||Hotline: 910-947-3333|
|Nash||My Sister’s House||Hotline: 252-459-3094|
|New Hanover||Rape Crisis Center of Coastal Horizons Center, Inc.||Hotline: 910-392-7460
|Northampton||Roanoke Chowan S.A.F.E. (Services for Abused Families with Emergencies)||Office: 252-332-1933|
|Onslow||Onslow Women’s Center, Inc.||Hotline: 910-347-4000
|Orange||Orange County Rape Crisis Center||Hotline: 919-967-7273
|Pamlico||Promise Place||Hotline: 252-635-7096
|Pasquotank||Albemarle Hopeline||Hotline: 252-338-3011
|Pender||Rape Crisis Center of Coastal Horizons Center, Inc.||Hotline: 910-392-7460
|Perquimans||Albemarle Hopeline||Hotline: 252-338-3011
|Person||Safe Haven of Person County||Hotline: 336-599-7233
|Pitt||REAL Crisis Intervention||Office: 252-758-4357|
|Polk||Steps to H.O.P.E., Inc.||Hotline: 828-894-2340|
|Randolph||Randolph County Family Crisis Center||Hotline: 336-629-4159 (Asheboro)
Hotline: 336-434-5579 (Archdale)
|Richmond||New Horizons: Life and Family Services||Hotline: 910-997-4840
|Robeson||Rape Crisis Center of Robeson County||Hotline: 910-739-6278|
|Rockingham||Help Inc. Center Against Violence||Hotline: 336-342-3332
|Rowan||Family Crisis Council of Rowan, Inc.||Hotline: 704-636-4718 ext. 1|
|Rutherford||Family Resources of Rutherford County||Office: 828-247-1440|
|Sampson||U Care, Inc.||Hotline: 910-596-0931|
|Scotland||Domestic Violence & Rape Crisis Center of Scotland County||Hotline: 910-276-6268
|Stanly||Esther House of Stanly County, Inc||Hotline: 704-961-7500|
|Stokes||Domestic Violence/Sexual Assault Programs|
Yadkin Valley Economic Development District, Inc. (YVEDDI)
|Surry||Domestic Violence/Sexual Assault Programs|
Yadkin Valley Economic Development District, Inc. (YVEDDI)
|Swain||Swain-Qualla Safe Inc.||Office: 828-488-9038|
|Transylvania||SAFE, Inc. of Transylvania County||Office: 828-885-7233|
|Tyrrell||Tyrrell County Inner Banks Hotline||Hotline: 1-877-429-5526
|Union||Turning Point, Inc.||Hotline: 704-283-7770
|Vance||Infinite Possibilities, Inc.||Hotline: 252-425-2492
|Warren||Infinite Possibilities, Inc.||Hotline: 252-425-2492
|Washington||REAL Crisis Intervention||Office: 252-758-4357|
|Watauga||OASIS, Inc. (Opposing Abuse with Service, Information, and Shelter)||Hotline: 828-262-5035
|Wayne||Wayne Uplift Resource Association, Inc.||Office: 919-735-4262|
|Wilson||Wesley Shelter, Inc.||Hotline: 252-291-2344|
|Yadkin||Domestic Violence/Sexual Assault Programs|
Yadkin Valley Economic Development District, Inc. (YVEDDI)
|Yancey||Family Violence Coalition of Yancey County||Hotline: 828-682-0056
|Source:||North Carolina Coalition Against Sexual Assault|
*The North Carolina counties of Graham and Wilkes do not have sexual violence programs within the counties as of April 7, 2020. Please call or visit centers in the surrounding counties to seek help. You may also call your local law enforcement agency if you are in danger.
North Carolina Priest Abuse FAQs
What Is The Statute Of Limitations On Priest Sexual Abuse?
In North Carolina, a survivor must file a civil lawsuit against an abusive priest or diocese before they reach the age of 28.
How Do I Report Sexual Abuse By A Priest In North Carolina?
If you or a suspected victim is in danger, call 911 immediately.
In North Carolina, suspected child abuse—including child sexual abuse and neglect—can be reported to your county Department of Social Services. Additionally, you can contact your local law enforcement agency to report sexual abuse or assault of any kind.
Once you have reported suspected clergy abuse to North Carolina authorities, consider reporting the abuse to the relevant diocese:
Report Abuse To The Charlotte Diocese
Report Abuse To The Raleigh Diocese
Office of Child and Youth Protection
Phone: 1-866-535-SAFE (7233)
Email: [email protected]
Do I Have To Currently Live In North Carolina To File A North Carolina Priest Abuse Lawsuit?
No. You do not need to live in the state of North Carolina to file a clergy abuse lawsuit there. But, there must be some legal connection between the case and the state of North Carolina. Some examples of legal connections include:
- The abuse occurred in North Carolina.
- The responsible organization is headquartered in North Carolina.
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Meneo Group managing partner: Ron Meneo
Ron Meneo is the managing partner of The Meneo Law Group. With more than 40 years of experience, he represents clients across the country on a variety of complex legal matters, including personal injury due to institutional sexual abuse, unsafe pharmaceutical drugs and other practice areas. He is a recipient of Martindale-Hubbell’s prestigious AV® Preeminent Rating. He has also served as an editor and contributor for several legal journals.
An Act to Protect Children from Sexual Abuse and to Strengthen and Modernize Sexual Assault Laws. S199, (North Carolina 2019).
Catholic Diocese of Raleigh. (2018, October 8). List of Clergy with Actionable Allegations of Sexual Abuse of Minors. Retrieved November 11, 2021.
Catholic Diocese of Raleigh. (N.D.) Report Suspected Abuse. Retrieved November 9, 2021.
Child Sex Abuse/Strengthen Laws. S199, (North Carolina 2019).
Faherty, D. (2019, March 6). Asheville man files report claiming 2 priests sexually assaulted him in the 1990s. WSOC.
FindLaw. (2018, May 15). North Carolina Criminal Statute of Limitations Laws.
Hyland, M. (2019, December 2). Changes to NC justice system involving sexual assault, child abuse in effect; ‘Move Over’ law strengthened. The Associated Press.
Latos, A. (2019, December 9). 5 clergy who worked in Charlotte Diocese on list of allegations of abuse. WSOC.
Martin, K. (2019, November 7). Governor signs NC sexual assault reforms into law. Carolina Public Press.
Morabito, N. (2018, September 27). The Defenders investigate past abuse within the Diocese of Charlotte. WCNC.
North Carolina Coalition Against Sexual Assault. (N.D.) Get Help.
North Carolina Department of Health and Human Services. (N.D.) Local DSS Directory. Retrieved March 24, 2020.
Padilla, M. (2019, November 1). North Carolina Lawmakers Pass Bill to Close Sexual Assault Loopholes. The New York Times.
RAINN. (2020, March). Criminal Statutes of Limitations North Carolina. Retrieved March 24, 2020.
Roman Catholic Diocese of Charlotte. (2019, November 1). Report Abuse.
Waggoner, M. (2019, December 30). N Carolina diocese publishes list of credibly accused clergy. The Associated Press.
(2019, December 30). New hotline for reporting of sexual abuse and misconduct launched. Catholic News Herald.
(2019, December 30). Read list of 14 priests accused of child sex abuse since Charlotte Diocese was established. WSOC.