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.
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.
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.
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.
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.
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.
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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.
Survivors May Be Eligible For Compensation
Learn About Filing a Claim in North Carolina
There Are 16 Accused Clergy Members From The Diocese Of Raleigh, NC:
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.
|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 ProgramsYadkin Valley Economic Development District, Inc. (YVEDDI)||Hotline: 336-593-9323
|Surry||Domestic Violence/Sexual Assault ProgramsYadkin Valley Economic Development District, Inc. (YVEDDI)||Hotline: 336-356-2014
|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: 919-736-1313|
|Wilson||Wesley Shelter, Inc.||Hotline: 252-291-2344|
|Yadkin||Domestic Violence/Sexual Assault ProgramsYadkin Valley Economic Development District, Inc. (YVEDDI)||Hotline: 336-679-2072
|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 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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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.
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Catholic Diocese of Raleigh. (Updated 2020, March 30). List of Clergy with Actionable Allegations of Sexual Abuse of Minors.
Catholic Diocese of Raleigh. (N.D.) Report Suspected Abuse.
Child Sex Abuse/Strengthen Laws. S199, (North Carolina 2019).
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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.