HomeCatholic Church Sex AbuseClergy Abuse in North Carolina

Clergy Abuse in North Carolina

The North Carolina Dioceses of Charlotte and Raleigh released lists of priests facing credible allegations of sexual abuse. Between the two dioceses, the lists named more than 40 abusive priests in North Carolina. Lawmakers reacted to the news of widespread abuse in the state by passing legislation to extend the legal rights of abuse victims.

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Sexual Assault Laws in North Carolina

North Carolina is one of many states across the country facing sexual abuse scandals in major organizations such as the Catholic Church and the Boy Scouts of America. As further experiences of systemic abuse come to light, many state lawmakers have taken legislative action to benefit victims. In North Carolina, lawmakers passed a bill with measures to protect and broaden the legal rights of survivors of sexual abuse.

North Carolina SAFE Child Act

On November 7, 2019, North Carolina Governor Roy Cooper signed Senate Bill 199 (S199) into law. S199 is sometimes referred to as the SAFE Child Act. This bill significantly expanded the rights of survivors of child sexual abuse and sexual assault.

To benefit survivors of child sex abuse in the state of North Carolina, S199 includes the following provisions:

  • S199 extends the legal deadline for civil lawsuits.
  • S199 opens a 2-year “look back” window for a survivor of child sexual abuse to file a civil claim, regardless of when the abuse happened.
  • S199 allows a survivor of abuse to file a civil claim 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.
  • S199 extends the legal deadline for certain misdemeanor crimes of abuse.
  • S199 expands the duty to report child abuse.
  • S199 increases the legal protections that guard children against online predators.
  • S199 requires school personnel to undergo child sexual abuse and sex trafficking prevention training.

To benefit survivors of sexual assault in the state of North Carolina, S199 includes the following provisions:

  • S199 makes it illegal to continue intercourse or a sexual act after the other person has revoked consent.
  • S199 makes it illegal to drug someone’s beverage.
  • S199 amends the definition of “mentally incapacitated” to ensure sexual assault laws apply to victims who were incapacitated through their own actions. This most commonly applies to victims incapacitated by recreational drug and alcohol use.

The majority of the provisions in S199 went into effect December 1, 2019.

North Carolina Clergy Abuse Lawsuits

Before S199 was passed, many survivors of clergy abuse were unable to file civil lawsuits against their abusers in the state of North Carolina. These survivors experienced abuse decades ago and their cases were legally expired. Several provisions in S199, including a 2-year “look back” window, allow survivors of abuse to file civil claims for abuse that occurred many years ago. Traditionally, these “look back” windows result in a significant rise in child sexual abuse lawsuits.

What Is the Statute of Limitations on Priest Sexual Abuse in North Carolina?

Victims of abuse must follow the state statutes of limitations when taking legal action against their abusers.

A statute of limitations (SOL) is a legal deadline. SOLs are determined at the state level and vary based on the crime.

To learn more about legal deadlines, visit our statute of limitations page >

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.

Criminal Charges

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.

Civil Claims

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 only three years. Similarly, survivors of child sex abuse had to file 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 suit 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.

What Is the Difference Between a Criminal Case and Civil Lawsuit?

If the abuser (defendant) is found guilty in a criminal case, he or she may face probation or time in prison. The victim (plaintiff) would only receive money if the court requires the defendant to pay restitution to the plaintiff.

If the abuser (defendant) is found liable in a civil case, he or she must pay a monetary award to the victim (plaintiff). The amount of the award is determined by the jury. The award covers any damages caused by the abuse.

North Carolina Legal “Look Back” Window

As part of S199, all survivors of child sexual abuse have a two-year window to file a civil claim regardless of the age of the case. This provision applies to survivors whose case will be time-barred by the new civil statute of limitations. This legal “look back” window opened on January 1, 2020. It will close on December 31, 2021.

Dioceses of North Carolina Settlements

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 Catholic Diocese of Charlotte paid an additional $1.2 million in “safe environment measures” during this time as well.

List of Priests Accused of Abuse in North Carolina

This list includes North Carolina priests credibly accused of abuse. Some additional Catholic religious members facing abuse allegations can also be found on the list. However, this list of clergy members does not include church staff members, volunteers, or parishioners accused of sexual abuse. It also does not include members of other religious orders.

If you do not see the name of the clergy member you are looking for on our list of abusive priests in North Carolina, you can also search for the name using our nationwide database of accused priests. However, you do not need to find the name of the priest on our list to file a lawsuit. Our list will change as new allegations surface.

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. Legal action can result in financial compensation for survivors, and potentially prevent further abuse from happening, by publicly exposing abusive priests. Consult our experienced legal team today and learn more about your rights as a survivor of abuse.

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.

North Carolina Coalition Against Sexual Assault

The North Carolina Coalition Against Sexual Assault (NCCASA) is an “inclusive, statewide alliance working to end sexual violence.” The organization works through three main avenues to achieve its goals: education, advocacy and legislation.

NCCASA also works with rape crisis centers all across the state. These centers offer important resources and referrals to victims of sexual assault. To get help in your area, use the resource table below to find the center closest to you.

CountyFacility NamePhone Number(s)
AlamanceCrossRoads Sexual Assault Response & Resources Center, Inc.Hotline: 336-228-0360
Office: 336-228-0813
AlexanderThe Shelter Home of Caldwell County (SHCC)Hotline: 828-758-0888
AlleghanyD.A.N.A (Domestic Abuse is NOT Acceptable) ServicesHotline: 336-372-DANA (3262)
Office: 336-372-3462
AnsonAnson County Domestic Violence Coalition (ACDVC)Hotline: 704-690-0362
Office: 704-694-4499
AsheA Safe Home for Everyone (A.S.H.E.)Hotline: 336-246-5430
Office: 336-982-8851
AveryOASIS, Inc. (Opposing Abuse with Service, Information, and Shelter)Hotline: 828-504-0911
Office: 828-785-5249
BeaufortREAL Crisis InterventionOffice: 252-758-4357
BertieRoanoke Chowan S.A.F.E. (Services for Abused Families with Emergencies)Office: 252-332-1933
BladenFamilies First, Inc.Hotline: 910-641-0444
BrunswickRape Crisis Center of Coastal Horizons Center, Inc.Hotline: 910-392-7460
Office: 910-754-7949
BuncombeOur VOICE, Inc.Hotline: 828-255-7576
Office: 828-252-0562
BurkeOptions of Burke CountyHotline: 828-438-9444
CabarrusEsther House of Stanly County, IncHotline: 828-635-8850
CaldwellThe Shelter Home of Caldwell County (SHCC)Hotline: 828-635-8850
CamdenAlbemarle HopelineHotline: 252-338-3011
Office: 252-338-5338
CarteretCarteret County Rape Crisis ProgramHotline: 252-725-4040
Office: 252-504-3668
CaswellCrossRoads Sexual Assault Response & Resources Center, Inc.Hotline: 336-228-0360
Office: 336-694-4250
CatawbaFamily Guidance CenterHotline: 828-302-6952
Office: 828-322-1400
ChathamSecond Bloom of Chatham and Chatham Family Violence Prevention ServicesHotline: 919-545- STOP (7867)
CherokeeREACH of Cherokee CountyHotline: 828-837-8064
Office: 828-837-9631
ChowanAlbemarle HopelineHotline: 252-338-3011
Office: 252-482-9918
ClayREACH of Clay CountyHotline: 1-828-389-0797
ClevelandCleveland County Abuse Prevention Council, Inc.Hotline: 704-481-0043
Office: 704-487-9325
ClevelandPhoenix Counseling CenterHotline: 855-5-CRISIS (27-4747)
ColumbusFamilies First, Inc.Hotline: 910-641-0444
CravenPromise PlaceHotline: 252-635-7096
Office: 252-636-3381
CumberlandRape Crisis of Cumberland CountyHotline: 910-485-7273
CurrituckAlbemarle HopelineHotline: 252-338-3011
Office: 252-453-8116
DareOuter Banks HotlineHotline: 252-473-3366
Office: 252-473-5121
DavidsonFamily Services of Davidson County, Inc.Hotline: 336-243-1934
Office: 336-249-0237
DavieDavie Center for Violence PreventionHotline: 336-751-HELP (4357)
Office: 336-751-3450
DuplinRape Crisis Center of Coastal Horizons Center, Inc.Hotline: 910-392-7460
Office: 910-392-7185
DurhamDurham Crisis Response CenterHotline: 919-403-6562
Office: 919-403-9425
Eastern Band of CherokeeThe Ernestine Walkingstick Domestic Violence ShelterHotline: 828-359-6830
EdgecombeMy Sister’s HouseHotline: 252-459-3094
ForsythFamily Services Inc.Hotline: 336-722-4457
Office: 336-722-8173
FranklinSafe SpaceHotline: 919-497-5444
GastonPhoenix Counseling CenterHotline: 855-5-CRISIS (27-4747)
GatesRoanoke Chowan S.A.F.E. (Services for Abused Families with Emergencies)Office: 252-332-1933
GatesAlbemarle HopelineHotline: 252-338-3011
Office: 252-338-5338
GranvilleFamilies Living Violence FreeOffice: 919-693-3579
GreeneREAL Crisis InterventionOffice: 252-758-4357
GuilfordFamily Service of the PiedmontHotline: 336-273-7273 (Greensboro)
Hotline: 336-889-7273 (High Point)

Office: 336-387-6161
HalifaxHannah’s PlaceHotline: 252-541-2064
Office: 252-541-2037
HarnettSAFE of Harnett County, Inc.Hotline: 910-893-7233
HaywoodREACH of Haywood CountyHotline: 828-456-7898
HendersonSafelightHotline: 828-693-3840
HertfordRoanoke Chowan S.A.F.E. (Services for Abused Families with Emergencies)Office: 252-332-1933
HokeHoke County Domestic Violence and Sexual Assault Center, Inc.Hotline: 910-875-4494
Office: 910-878-0118
HydeHyde County HotlineHotline: 1-252-925-2500
Office: 252-925-2502
IredellFifth Street MinistriesDiakonos, Inc.Office: 704-872-4045
JacksonREACH of Macon CountyHotline: 828-586-8969
JohnstonHarbor, Inc.Hotline: 919-631-5478
Office: 919-938-3566
JonesPromise PlaceHotline: 252-635-7096
Office: 252-448-1069
LeeHAVEN in Lee CountyHotline: 919-774-8923
LenoirREAL Crisis InterventionOffice: 252-758-4357
LincolnPhoenix Counseling Center
Hotline: 855-5-CRISIS (27-4747)
McDowellNew HOPE of McDowellHotline: 828-652-6150
Office: 828-652-8538
MaconREACH of Macon County
Hotline: 828-369-5544
MadisonMy Sister’s PlaceHotline: 828-649-2446
Office: 828-649-2582
MartinREAL Crisis InterventionOffice: 252-758-4357
MecklenburgSafe Alliance, Inc.Hotline: 980-771-4673
Office: 704-332-9034
MitchellMitchell County SafePlace, Inc.Hotline: 828-765-4044
Office: 828-765-4015
MontgomeryEsther House of Stanly County, IncHotline: 704-961-7500
MooreFriend to FriendHotline: 910-947-3333
NashMy Sister’s HouseHotline: 252-459-3094
New HanoverRape Crisis Center of Coastal Horizons Center, Inc.Hotline: 910-392-7460
Office: 910-392-7185
NorthamptonRoanoke Chowan S.A.F.E. (Services for Abused Families with Emergencies)Office: 252-332-1933
OnslowOnslow Women’s Center, Inc.Hotline: 910-347-4000
Office: 910-238-2941
OrangeOrange County Rape Crisis CenterHotline: 919-967-7273
Office: 919-968-4647
PamlicoPromise PlaceHotline: 252-635-7096
Office: 252-745-9439
PasquotankAlbemarle HopelineHotline: 252-338-3011
Office: 252-338-5338
PenderRape Crisis Center of Coastal Horizons Center, Inc.Hotline: 910-392-7460
Office: 910-803-2111
PerquimansAlbemarle HopelineHotline: 252-338-3011
Office: 252-338-5338
PersonSafe Haven of Person CountyHotline: 336-599-7233
Office: 336-330-0331
PittREAL Crisis InterventionOffice: 252-758-4357
PolkSteps to H.O.P.E., Inc.Hotline: 828-894-2340
RandolphRandolph County Family Crisis CenterHotline: 336-629-4159 (Asheboro)
Hotline: 336-434-5579 (Archdale)

Office: 336-610-1750
RichmondNew Horizons: Life and Family ServicesHotline: 910-997-4840
Office: 910-997-4448
RobesonRape Crisis Center of Robeson CountyHotline: 910-739-6278
RockinghamHelp Inc. Center Against ViolenceHotline: 336-342-3332
Office: 336-342-3331
RowanFamily Crisis Council of Rowan, Inc.Hotline: 704-636-4718 ext. 1
RutherfordFamily Resources of Rutherford CountyOffice: 828-247-1440
SampsonU Care, Inc.Hotline: 910-596-0931
ScotlandDomestic Violence & Rape Crisis Center of Scotland CountyHotline: 910-276-6268
Office: 910-276-5505
StanlyEsther House of Stanly County, IncHotline: 704-961-7500
StokesDomestic Violence/Sexual Assault ProgramsYadkin Valley Economic Development District, Inc. (YVEDDI)Hotline: 336-593-9323
Office: 336-593-7011
SurryDomestic Violence/Sexual Assault ProgramsYadkin Valley Economic Development District, Inc. (YVEDDI)Hotline: 336-356-2014
Office: 336-443-4030
SwainSwain-Qualla Safe Inc.Office: 828-488-9038
TransylvaniaSAFE, Inc. of Transylvania CountyOffice: 828-885-7233
TyrrellTyrrell County Inner Banks HotlineHotline: 1-877-429-5526
Office: 252-796-5526
UnionTurning Point, Inc.Hotline: 704-283-7770
Office: 704-283-9150
VanceInfinite Possibilities, Inc.Hotline: 252-425-2492
Office: 252-431-1926
WakeInteractHotline: 919-828-3005
Office: 919-828-7501
WarrenInfinite Possibilities, Inc.Hotline: 252-425-2492
Office: 252-431-1926
WashingtonREAL Crisis InterventionOffice: 252-758-4357
WataugaOASIS, Inc. (Opposing Abuse with Service, Information, and Shelter)Hotline: 828-262-5035
Office: 828-264-1532
WayneWayne Uplift Resource Association, Inc.Office: 919-736-1313
WilsonWesley Shelter, Inc.Hotline: 252-291-2344
YadkinDomestic Violence/Sexual Assault ProgramsYadkin Valley Economic Development District, Inc. (YVEDDI)Hotline: 336-679-2072
Office: 336-849-4070
YanceyFamily Violence Coalition of Yancey CountyHotline: 828-682-0056
Office: 828-678-3436
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 Clergy Abuse FAQs

How Do I Report Sexual Abuse by a Priest in North Carolina?

If you are in immediate danger, call the police.

To report any sexual abuse:

Contact your local law enforcement agency to report sexual abuse.

To report sexual abuse of a minor:

You can report child abuse, child sexual abuse or neglect to your local law enforcement or to your county Department of Social Services.

To report sexual abuse to the Charlotte Diocese:

The Diocese of Charlotte contracted the third-party reporting organization — Red Flag Reporting — to launch a reporting hotline for victims of abuse. You can reach the hotline at 1-888-630-5929 or you can file an online allegation here.

To report sexual abuse to the Raleigh Diocese:

If you were abused by a clergy member or church personnel in the Raleigh Diocese, you can report your claim to the Office of Child and Youth Protection. You can make the report by calling 1-866-535-SAFE (7233) or by emailing [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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