Topic: Child Sex Abuse

Your North Carolina Injury is Not the End of the World (Probably)–or At Least You Won’t Feel This Unhappy Forever

May 26, 2013, by Michael A. DeMayo

You’re deeply depressed by your recent North Carolina injury. Whether some idiot in a truck bashed your car by blowing through a stop sign, or a doctor misread your chart and gave you a medication that made you literally sick to your stomach, you are in pain. You are angry; you are confused; and you are deeply dismayed by your situation and the prospects for your future.

Obviously, what’s done is done. You can’t go back in time and undo the North Carolina truck accident or reverse the doctor’s negligent decisions. And you may indeed have a long road to hoe. You might never regain function of your leg. You might need to be in a wheelchair for the rest of your life. You might never be able to work as you once did. The brain damage caused by the accident may permanently limit your ability to be productive to two to three hours a day.

When you sit there and contemplate these scenarios–particularly the worst case scenarios–you can easily spiral into depression and apathy. This is really unfortunate. When you are depressed and/or apathetic, you may fail to take important kinds of action–such as contacting a reputable North Carolina mass tort law firm ASAP–because you feel too hopeless to persevere.

This is a shame, because science shows that our emotional immune systems are remarkably resilient.

Even IF a worst case scenarios plays out for you–e.g. you’re permanently hobbled by the accident or no longer able to work in a career that you love–these setbacks will not doom you to a lifetime of depression and unhappiness. Or at least they don’t necessarily mark you with that destiny.

That may sound very counterintuitive. But if you look at the research, those statements bare out.

Lottery winners notoriously experience euphoria for the first weeks or months after they win. But they ultimately wind up just as happy–and just as sad!–as they were before the pay day.

Likewise, people injured so severely that they are left as quadriplegics suffer extreme depression in the first few weeks and months. But they ultimately rebound to feel just as happy as they did before the devastating event.

This isn’t to say that you don’t have problems — that you shouldn’t feel depressed or anything. Rather, you should appreciate that your current emotional state is probably temporary.

Even more importantly, you need to avoid getting trapped by your emotions into “doing nothing” and/or into making impulsive and not-strategic actions that can have negative long-term implications for your finances and healthcare options.

To that end, consider connecting with the DeMayo Law team now at (877) 529-1222 for a free consultation, so that we can put you on a more strategic path with respect to your case.

North Carolina Class Action News: Legal Fight Over High Sugar, High Caffeine Energy Drinks — A Portent of A Larger Battle To Come?

May 23, 2013, by Michael A. DeMayo

Are we witnessing the beginnings of a major mass tort battle in North Carolina (and well beyond?)

Perhaps so. And big beverage companies may be on the receiving end.

Last year, for instance, a woman in Australia allegedly died from over consuming Coca-Cola. According to the Chicago Sun Times, a Maryland teenager died after drinking two large Monster Energy drinks in a single 24-hour period. These drinks contain a lot of caffeine and also a lot of sugar. While testifying before Chicago City Council, Edward Burke discussed a federal report “that showed the number of annual hospital visits tied to highly caffeinated energy drinks doubled between 2007 and 2011 — to 21,000.”

According to the President of Chicago Medical Society, Dr. Howard Axe, “super caffeinated energy drinks,” such as Red Bull, Monster Energy, and Rockstar, pose serious health risks, “including possible fatalities to adults and children, particularly those with preexisting conditions.”

The legal brouhaha in Chicago is focused on the adverse health effects of over consuming caffeine. Another, potentially more fraught and momentous debate has to do with the adverse effects of the overconsumption of liquid sucrose. As most famously articulated by pediatric obesity specialist, Dr. Robert Lustig, calories from liquid sucrose may have especially adverse effect on the liver because of the way the fructose component of sucrose gets metabolized by that organ. Lustig builds the case — at least in the doses that modern North Carolinians consume sugar — that “calorie is not a calorie.” The consumption of sugary liquid beverages, like Coca-Cola, Pepsi, and even many fruit juices, may be doing tremendous harm to our population and precipitating problems like metabolic disease, obesity, diabetes, and even heart disease.

So far, obviously, we have yet to see a major class action or mass tort lawsuit against beverage companies. But some health advocates are suggesting that we may be witnessing at least the beginnings of such machinations — they compare our current era to the era a few years before Big Tobacco was held to legal account for advertising and selling dangerous products.

If you have recently been harmed by a product or service, you are probably far less interested in the legal battle over energy drinks than you are with your own wellbeing, financially, medically, and otherwise.

 The team here at the law offices of Michael A. DeMayo proudly represents victims and their families in serious North Carolina personal injury matters. Please get in touch with us today by calling (877) 529-1222, so we can provide you a free consultation and help you get educated and informed about your options.

Class Action Lawsuits “Brewing” For Budweiser

May 13, 2013, by Michael A. DeMayo

Anheuser-Busch, the maker of Budweiser Beer, is facing a pretty serious class action lawsuit that alleges that the brewer watered down its products prior to bottling.

Thus far, plaintiffs in Texas, Pennsylvania, Missouri, New Jersey, Colorado, Ohio, and California have all filed suit against the beer manufacturer based on whistleblowing testimony from former high placed employees in the business–at 13 separate breweries.

Will a North Carolina class action against Budweiser be next?

Anheuser-Busch has fought back vigorously against the bad press–the company recently took out full page ads in The New York Times, The L.A. Times, and eight other major newspapers touting the fact that the company provided 71 million cans of drinking water to the American Red Cross and other disaster organizations. The cheeky headline read “they must have tested one of these.”

But a lead attorney in the case, Josh Boxer, shrugged off the newspaper ad blitz as a “classic non-denial…(the) alcohol readings, taken six times a second as the finished product is bottled, will confirm the allegations made by the growing number of former employees who keep coming forward to tell us the truth.”

In court, Anheuser-Busch will need to produce data on its internal and alcohol testing procedures. Ten different products are tangled up in the legal matter, including well-known brands like Budweiser, Michelob, and Bud Ice as well as more “exotic” brands, like Hurricane High Gravity Lager and Bud Light Lime.

Do you have a potential Charlotte class action lawsuit?

The team here at the Law Offices of Michael A. DeMayo can help you understand and defend your rights to get compensation. Depending on your circumstances, you may want to file a personal injury suit or a mass tort action. Our team can help you strategize and determine the most effective, accurate course forward. Call us now for a free consultation, and get clarity on what you need to do.

The End of the Beginning of Your Quest for Justice After a North Carolina Injury

May 10, 2013, by Michael A. DeMayo

In the hours and days since your North Carolina injury–or your family member’s injury- you have been in a mad scramble to get medical care and make sense of your options.

What steps should you be taking (or not taking) to manage the medical crisis, collect evidence, and deal with the urgent logistics in your life? Who is going to take care of the kids while you’re hurt? Who’s going to handle the big work project that you had to drop to deal with the catastrophe? How will you pay the mortgage now that you’ve spent thousands of dollars out of pocket on ambulance and hospital services?

After you wrangle these urgent details, you then need to scramble to recalibrate everything in your life. You will also need to find a way to deal with the tremendous challenges of finding appropriate representation:

  • Do you have a case or not?
  • If so, what should you do first?
  • Whom can you trust?
  • How can you evaluate different law firms against one another?
  • How can you work effectively with a law firm to make sure that you get clear answers and good communication throughout the process?

All of these urgent questions might be on your mind. And they all need to be addressed.

The several lining–if there is one–is that, once you do get all of these things taken care of, assuming you have done everything effectively, you should enjoy renewed peace of mind.

The great gift that a solid North Carolina mass tort law firm can provide is the gift of clarity.

Even though your life may feel like it’s in a million pieces right now–if you know exactly what’s going to happen next and what to expect; and if you have trusted people working on your behalf–much of the stress and agitation will lift.

Obviously, even a superb law firm is not going to magically make your injury go away or eliminate the anger and frustration you feel about what happened. But you should feel a sense of relief and security that you are moving in the right direction.

And when people feel like their lives are moving in a positive direction, they often see passed their immediate limitations and handle the process with more grace and patience.

Connect with the DeMayo Law team right now for strategic, insightful assistance with your Charlotte personal injury matter.

Former Penn State University Assistant Coach Jerry Sandusky Hit with First Child Sex Abuse Lawsuit

November 30, 2011, by Michael A. DeMayo

Periodically, our North Carolina personal injury blog covers cases that that have made national headlines. This sex abuse lawsuit is the first one in filed in the wake of allegations contending that Jerry Sandusky, an ex-Penn State University football coach, molested and sexually assaulted a number of boys over the years. The university and The Second Mile camp, which is the charity that Sandusky founded, are also named as defendants.

The plaintiff, now a 29-year-old man, claims that Sandusky sexually abused him more than 100 times during the 90’s. John Doe A is not one of the eight boys cited in a grand jury report involving Sandusky. The alleged victim says he was 10 when he met the former assistant coach and that Sandusky threatened to hurt him and his family if he told anyone about the molestation. In his child sex abuse complaint, John Doe A contends that “institutional failure” and “institutional concealment” let Sandusky continue to “thrive and prosper.”

Meantime, Sandusky, who is charged with 40 criminal counts related to the alleged sex abuse of young boys, continues to claim that he is innocent. Although he admitted to NBC reporter Bob Costas that he “horsed around” in showers with some of the kids, he maintains that he did not molest or sexually assault any of them.

Meantime, Penn State has taken a beating because of the accusations against Sandusky, who continued to use the University’s facilities even after he was no longer assistant football coach. Tim Curley, who is Penn State Athletic Director, and Gary Schultz, who is VP of finance and business, are each charged with one count of failure to report the abuse and one count of felony perjury.

Also unscathed in the sandal are famous Penn State head football coach Joe Paterno and Penn State President Graham Spanier, who have both lost their jobs. The University and its football program are blamed for failing to appropriately deal with the sex abuse allegations against Sandusky when they first came up years ago.

In what could lead to more civil lawsuits—and unrelated to the ones against Sandusky—Bernie Fine, the associate head coach at Syracuse University, is also accused of sexual abuse. The US Secret Service has been brought into the probe against him.

Three men are claiming that Fine molested them when they were youths. Two of those that came forward used to be Syracuse ball boys. Fine says he is innocent. The US Attorney in the Northern District of New York is heading the investigation.

North Carolina Child Sex Abuse
Our Charlotte, North Carolina personal injury lawyers represent children and adults that were the victims of sexual abuse. You may be able to recover compensation from your abuser and anyone that allowed that could/should have stopped the abuse from happening.

First lawsuit filed against Sandusky in Penn State child sex scandal, CNN, November 30, 2011

Agents search Fine’s former office, Fox Sports, November 30, 2011

Paterno fired over Penn St. child abuse scandal, CBS News, November 9, 2011

More Blog Posts:
Cabarrus County Sex Abuse Allegations Leads to Former Teacher’s Arrest, North Carolina Injury Lawyer Blog, November 15, 2011

North Carolina Sex Abuse Lawsuit Filed Against Bishop Eddie Long, North Carolina Injury Lawyer Blog, September 27, 2010

Charlotte Catholic Diocese Settles North Carolina Clergy Sex Abuse Lawsuit for $1 Million, North Carolina Injury Lawyer Blog, May 7, 2010


Cabarrus County Sex Abuse Allegations Leads to Former Teacher’s Arrest

November 15, 2011, by Michael A. DeMayo

Christopher Nathan White has been charged with one count of statutory sex offense and two counts of unlawful sexual activity. White, 36, used to teach at Concord High School in Cabarrus County.

The alleged Cabarrus County, North Carolina sex abuse is said to have occurred six years ago and involved two students, then 15 and 17. While White was teaching at the high school when these incidents would have occurred, police are not saying whether they occurred on school grounds.

Sexual Abuse Allegations
Depending on the specifics of the case, the students and their families may have grounds for filing a North Carolina sexual abuse lawsuit against not just White but also the school over the assault crimes. Schools are responsible for making sure that the people that they hire will not hurt their students or take advantage of their authority in any other way. They also can be held liable for North Carolina personal injury for any injuries that happen to students while under their watch—especially if the injuries could/should have been prevented.

Unfortunately, child sex abuse by teachers on students is not as rare as we’d like to think and they can happen to kids of all ages.

According to

• Before age 18, one out of six boys and one out of for girls will be the victim of sex abuse
• Sex abuse affects occurs in all socioeconomic groups
• 90% of the time assailants are someone trusted by the family

Kids are easy targets for adults that have authority over them, whether in a supervisory or a guardian position. Meantime, adults in such roles are able to gain easy access to their targets, who may not understand what is happening to them or are scared to protest or report that they’ve been victimized.

Penn State Sex Abuse Scandal
Recently making national headlines are the sex abuse allegations surrounding ex-Penn State defensive coordinator Jerry Sandusky who has been charged with sexually assaulting several boys. Although he retired in 1999, Sandusky continued to use the university’s facilities to work with The Second Mile, an organization that helps at-risk kids. A number of the boys that belonged to this group became his alleged victims. Sandusky, who was arraigned on 40 criminal counts, claims he is innocent.

Meantime, legendary Penn State football coach Joe Paterno has been fired. People want to know why he did not act to stop or prevent the abuses. Perjury charges have also been filed against Penn State athletic director Tim Curley and finance and business vice president Gary Schultz. The two men allegedly neglected to tell police about the abuse allegations. It wouldn’t be a surprise if the victims and their families decided to sue Penn State, Sandusky, and those that either allowed the abuse to happen, failed to report the allegations, or covered up the incidents.

To find out if you have grounds for a Charlotte, North Carolina sex abuse case, you should speak with an experienced personal injury lawyer right away. Even if the abuse happened years ago, you still may be able to pursue damages.

Ex-Penn St. coach Sandusky arrested, Fox Sports, November 7, 2011

Paterno fired over Penn St. child abuse scandal, CBS News, November 9, 2011

Ex-Concord High teacher charged with sexual offenses, Charlotte Observer, November 15, 2011

More Blog Posts:
North Carolina Sex Abuse Lawsuit Filed Against Bishop Eddie Long, North Carolina Injury Lawyer Blog, September 27, 2010

Charlotte Catholic Diocese Settles North Carolina Clergy Sex Abuse Lawsuit for $1 Million, North Carolina Injury Lawyer Blog, May 7, 2010

North Carolina Child Sex Abuse Lawsuit Names Two Priests as the Perpetrators, North Carolina Injury Lawyer Blog, June 3, 2009

North Carolina Nursing Home Shooting Rampage: Man Found Guilty of Second-Degree Murder

September 12, 2011, by Michael A. DeMayo

Robert Stewart, the man convicted of eight counts of second-degree murder in the 2009 mass shooting at a North Carolina nursing home, has been spared the death penalty. Instead, he will spend life in prison without parole.

Stewart admitted to shooting 11 people at the Pinelake Health and Rehabilitation Center. Eight of the people he shot at the Carthage nursing home died:

• Tessie Garner, 75
• Jesse Musser, 88
• Lillian Dunn, 89
• Bessie Hedrick, 78
• Margaret Johnson, 89
• John Goldston, 78
• Nurse Jerry Avant, 39
• Louise DeKler, 98

Already, the estates of DeKler, Goldston, Johnson, and Dunn have filed a North Carolina wrongful death claim alleging nursing home negligence and premises liability. Stewart’s wife Wanda is believed to have warned administrators that her husband was going to come after her.

On the day of the shooting, March 29, 2009, Wanda was working in a locked area of the facility. The rest of the nursing home, however, remained easily accessible to anyone. The victims’ loved ones say that the facility never warned them that Stewart might go to the Carthage nursing home and cause anyone harm. (Wanda has also been named a defendant for allegedly failing to warn the residents that her husband posed a danger.)

While prosecutors tried to get Robert convicted of first-degree murder—contending that he was aware of his actions and motives when he went looking for his wife, his defense lawyers claimed that at the time of the shooting he had been under the influence of a combination of prescription drugs that put him in a zombie-like state. They also contended that he was depressed because his wife had left him and he believed he was dying from cancer.

Following the jury’s conviction of second-degree murder, the judge sentenced Robert to 189-236 months behind bars for each murder count (that is 126 to 157 years in prison) sans parole. He also was sentenced to 16-22 years for other assault convictions. The defense plans to appeal.

North Carolina Nursing Home Negligence
In addition to protecting residents from North Carolina nursing home abuse and neglect, it is up to staff to make sure that patients and their guests are kept physically safe. This means ensuring that there is adequate supervision, security, and safeguards to prevent sexual assault, physical assault, and other violent crimes.

Nursing homes should be properly secured to prevent unwanted persons from entering or leaving the premise without notice. Security guards, locks on doors and windows, surveillance cameras, and controlled entry and access are just some of the safety measures that can be implemented. If there is an imminent danger that suddenly arises, then adequate warnings, heightened security, and closer supervision can be implemented to provide adequate protections.

Robert Stewart guilty of 2nd-degree murder, sentenced to life in prison,, September 4, 2011

NC man gets life in prison for Carthage nursing home killings, NBC17, September 3, 2011

Related Web Resources:
North Carolina Department of Health and Human Services

Nursing Home Compare,

More Blog Posts:
Alleged Shooter That Caused Eight Carthage, North Carolina Nursing Home Deaths to Go on Trial, North Carolina Injury Lawyer Blog, July 11, 2011

Over 18,000 Reports of North Carolina Elder Abuse and Neglect Made in 2010, North Carolina Injury Lawyer Blog, May 9, 2011

Caretaker Accused of North Carolina Elder Abuse in Beating of 91-Year-Old Woman, North Carolina Injury Lawyer Blog, January 27, 2011

Charlotte-Mecklenburg School Board and High School Band Director Sued by Ex-High School Student For North Carolina Personal Injury

May 23, 2011, by Michael A. DeMayo

An ex-South Mecklenburg High School student is suing the Charlotte-Mecklenburg school board and school band director Richard Priode for infliction of emotional distress, negligence, and North Carolina personal injury. The plaintiff, referred to in the Charlotte-Mecklenburg injury complaint as “Jane Doe,” says she had a 13-month sexual relationship with Priode when she was a student and a band member there. The 46-year-old pleaded guilty to felony indecent liberties with a student almost two years ago.

In her Charlotte, North Carolina personal injury lawsuit, Jane Doe contends that the school board should have known about Priode’s history of “inappropriate behavior” involving students at schools where he had previously taught. The plaintiff says that Priode started directing sexual innuendoes at her in 2007 and that she was 16 when he convinced her to participate in a sex act. She says their sexual relationship took place at the school, as well as on a school band excursion in 2008. Jane Doe also says that when an instructor for the color guards did report Priode’s sexual remarks and innuendoes to the principal, that teacher was later fired.

Jane Doe got in touch with police in 2009 and Priode was arrested following an investigation. The plaintiff is accusing the board of negligence for not detecting her relationship with the band teacher and for not looking into the color guard teacher’s allegations. She says that because of the North Carolina sexual abuse, she has suffered mental suffering and emotional distress and has had to undergo psychiatric and psychological are.

North Carolina Child Sexual Abuse
Schools can be held liable for Charlotte, North Carolina personal injury if a teacher, another staff member, or someone else sexually abuses a student while on the premise or during school activity. Sex abuse can cause serious mental and emotional injuries for victims. Like other personal injuries, there is no reason why you shouldn’t be entitled to damages from all liable parties.

Teen sexual assault victim files suit against band teacher and CMS, WBTV, May 17, 2011

Woman’s lawsuit faults CMS’ background check, Charlotte Observer, May 18, 2011

Read the Complaint

Related Web Resource:

Board of Education, Charlotte-Mecklenburg Schools

More Blog Posts:
North Carolina Sex Abuse Lawsuit Filed Against Bishop Eddie Long, North Carolina Injury Lawyer Blog, September 27, 2010

Charlotte Catholic Diocese Settles North Carolina Clergy Sex Abuse Lawsuit for $1 Million, North Carolina Injury Lawyer Blog, May 7, 2010

North Carolina Child Sex Abuse Lawsuit Names Two Priests as the Perpetrators, North Carolina Injury Lawyer Blog, June 3, 2009


North Carolina Personal Injury Lawsuit: Parents of Child Sex Abuse Victim Sue the Diocese of Charlotte

April 27, 2011, by Michael A. DeMayo

A North Carolina personal injury lawsuit has been filed against the Diocese of Charlotte by the parents of a girl who was allegedly molested by a music minister at St. Eugene Catholic Church in Asheville. Rev. John Schneider, who is the church’s former pastor, and Paul Berrell, the man accused of abusing the victim, are also defendants.

Police say that the girl was coerced into sex with Paul Berrell, who was giving her voice and piano lessons. The victim was 13 when Berrell was arrested in 2009. The 31-year-old music minister would go on to plead guilty to the charge of producing child pornography. He has been sentenced to 28 years in prison.

In their North Carolina injury lawsuit, the teenager’s parents say that she suffered permanent damage to her emotional and sexual development, severe mental anguish, and loss of faith in authority figures. They blame the church for teaching her that people like Berrell were “holy people” who had “special access to God,” and they contend that Berrell “singled out and groomed” their daughter so he could have “intercourse” and “other sex actions” with her.

The plaintiffs say that Schneider went to Berrell’s apartment after the latter was arrested and tried to delete the pornographic images from a computer. They also contend that even when the Diocese of Charlotte has been given credible information that a certain employee or priest was a “sexual abuser,” the church would still protect that person.

North Carolina Child Sexual Abuse
If your child was sexually abused or you were sexually abused as a child, you may be able to hold your abuser liable for Charlotte, North Carolina personal injury. Sexual abuse can cause serious psychological and emotional damage, impairing a victim for life. Even if your abuser isn’t charged in criminal court, you may still be able to file a civil lawsuit.

Asheville lawsuit targets Catholic church conduct, Ashville Citizen-Times, April 24, 2011

Paul Lawrence Berrell Pleads Guilty to Federal Charge of Production of Child Pornography, FBI, March 11, 2010

Music Minister Accused Of Sex Crime With Minor, WYFF4, May 19, 2009

Related Web Resources:
Diocese of Charlotte

Child Sex Abuse, American Academy of Child & Adolescent Psychiatry

More Blog Posts:
North Carolina Sex Abuse Lawsuit Filed Against Bishop Eddie Long, North Carolina Injury Lawyer Blog, September 27, 2010

Charlotte Catholic Diocese Settles North Carolina Clergy Sex Abuse Lawsuit for $1 Million, North Carolina Injury Lawyer Blog, May 7, 2010

North Carolina Child Sex Abuse Lawsuit Names Two Priests as the Perpetrators, North Carolina Injury Lawyer Blog, June 3, 2009


North Carolina Sex Abuse Lawsuit Filed Against Bishop Eddie Long

September 27, 2010, by Michael A. DeMayo

A North Carolina sexual abuse lawsuit has been filed against Bishop Eddie Long, the senior pastor of the New Birth Missionary Baptist Church in Georgia. The complaint was filed in Huntsville where the Long runs New Birth Charlotte, a satellite church. He is an outspoken critic of gay marriages. The plaintiff, 22-year-old Spencer LeGrande, is the fourth person to sue Long.

According to LeGrande (a New Birth Charlotte church member), Long gave him a sleeping aid, fondled him, and coerced him into having sex during a trip to Africa in 2005 when he was 17. LeGrande also claims that Long persuaded him that having a sexual relationship was part of having a healthy spiritual life.

Three other males are also suing Long. Two of the men, now 21 and 20, say that Long seduced them with money, cars, clothes, jewelry, international travel, and access to celebrities when they were 18- and 17- year old members of the Baptist church.

Long has denied all allegations.

Child Sex Abuse by Religious Leaders
The sexual abuse of young people by priests, pastors, and other religious leaders has caused injuries and trauma to its victims. Sexual abuse of any kind committed by anyone is a crime. The victim may be entitled to North Carolina personal injury compensation from the assailant and/or from those that helped cover up the abuse.

While the topic of sexual abuse by religious leaders was a taboo that was concealed by church officials for years, in the last decade, hundreds of victims have begun stepping forward to accuse their assailants and seek damages.

In a clergy sex abuse complaint that has made national headlines, a deaf man is suing Pope Benedict, who used to be called Cardinal Joseph Ratzinger, for failing to take action against Father Lawrence C. Murphy, the former headmaster of St. John’s School for the Deaf. Murphy allegedly molested 200 boys, including the victim. Many of the alleged sex abuse incidents with Murphy reportedly took place in the victims’ beds in the school dormitories.

North Carolina Man Suing Bishop Eddie Long, Digtriad, September 25, 2010

Questions Have Long Surrounded Accused Minister, NPR, September 27, 2010

Bishop Eddie Long Hit With Lawsuit, Two Men Claim He Coerced Them Into Sex, September 22, 2010

Pope Named in Lawsuit by Clergy Sex Abuse Victim, Politics Daily, September 23, 2010

Related Web Resources:
New Birth Charlotte

New Birth Missionary Baptist Church

Charlotte Catholic Diocese Settles North Carolina Clergy Sex Abuse Lawsuit for $1 Million

May 7, 2010, by Michael A. DeMayo

The insurance company for the Roman Catholic Diocese of Charlotte has agreed to pay $1 million settle North Carolina sexual abuse allegations that former altar boy Robby Price was sexually abused by Rev, Robert Yurgel in 1999 at St. Matthew Catholic Church. The diocese will also pay Price, now 25, another $47,500 for counseling medication for the next five years.

According to one of his North Carolina sex abuse attorneys, it wasn’t until 2007 that Price was able to tell his parents about that the priest had molested him.

Yurgel was arrested in 2008. After pleading guilty to a second-degree sex offense, he was sentenced in February 2009 to almost eight years in prison.

Despite agreeing to settle, the Charlotte diocese is not admitting to or denying liability. Diocese officials say the weren’t aware of any misconduct allegations against Yurgel until his arrest.

Price says that the priest started molesting him when he was 14. At Yurgel’s sentencing last year, Price told the priest that he continues to experience nightmares and flashbacks over what happened.

Sex Abuse Lawsuits
A criminal conviction against one’s abuser can force the perpetrator to pay for his/her crime behind bars. However, that will not make the pain, suffering, and trauma go away for the victim. The injuries inflicted by any type of sexual abuse can take longer than a lifetime to heal. Physical injuries, emotional issues, sexual issues, depression, eating disorders, relationship problems, suicidal tendencies, and other harmful consequences can result from being sexually abused. The injuries can be further compounded if the abuser is someone that the victim knows and/or is someone who had authority over them in some way.

Charlotte Catholic diocese to pay $1 million to molestation victim, HeraldOnline, May 7, 2010

Priest sex abuse suit settled for $1 million, Charlotte Observer, May 7, 2010

Related Web Resources:

Roman Catholic Diocese of Charlotte

Vatican’s Handling of Clergy Sex Abuse Gets Failing Grade in Survey, Politics Daily, May 4, 2010

Survivors Network of Those Abused by Priests

North Carolina Child Sex Abuse Lawsuit Names Two Priests as the Perpetrators

June 3, 2009, by Michael A. DeMayo

In Buncombe County Superior Court, a man has filed a North Carolina child sex abuse lawsuit seeking damages for the physical and emotional abuse he says he allegedly suffered as a teenager at the hands of two priests at the Basilica of St. Lawrence in Asheville. One of the priests that he names as his perpetrator, pastor Father Justine Paul Pechulis, died in 1983. The other priest he says molested him is retired Father John McCole.

The defendants named in the North Carolina clergy sexual abuse lawsuit are the Diocese of Charlotte and the Archdiocese of Philadelphia. The plaintiff, Steven Souder, claims that church officials took part in a conspiracy to protect pedophile priests, including McCole and Pechulis.

Souder, who used to be an altar boy, says that the two priests forced him to take part in group oral sex while on a trip to Asheville during the 1970’s. He accuses McCole of taking advantage of him and sexually abusing him several times. McCole denies the alleged abuse incidents ever happened. Souder’s complaint also claims that when he reported the abuse to a higher ranking clergy member, he was told that what was happening to him wasn’t inappropriate.

The plaintiff, who suffers from mental illness, says he repressed the memories of the abuse for years until 2007 when the archdiocese sent him a letter talking about clergy sex abuse.

North Carolina law doesn’t count the time when a person’s memories of sexual abuse were repressed toward the statute of limitations for filing sexual abuse lawsuits. The statute of limitations only begins running after the memories have been recovered.

Clergy Sex Abuse
In the last seven years, hundreds of people have come forward claiming that priests sexually abused them. Even as the clergy sex abuse scandal rocked the United States, victims in other countries also stepped forward to make similar allegations against the priests in the areas where they lived. The leaders of the Catholic Church have been accused of covering up the abuse incidents for decades, which has allowed pedophile priests to strike at new victims over and over again.

Sexual abuse of any kind causes serious personal injury to victims and their families and can be grounds for a North Carolina personal injury lawsuit.

70s altar boy alleges abuse & that Krol abetted cover-up, Philadelphia Daily News, June 2, 2009

Sex abuse lawsuit names deceased Asheville priest, Citizen-Times, June 2, 2009

Related Web Resources:
Spotlight Abuse in the Catholic Church, The Boston Globe

Basilica of St. Lawrence

North Carolina Pediatrician Accused of Child Sex Abuse Agrees to Stop Practicing Medicine Forever

March 23, 2009, by Michael A. DeMayo

A prominent North Carolina pediatrician accused of child sexual abuse has signed a consent order signaling his agreement to stop practicing medicine in this state or anywhere else. The North Carolina medical board approved the consent order against Dr. Mel Levine on Friday. Levine, who had voluntarily suspended his license last April, is a defendant in a number of child sex abuse lawsuits. He continues to maintain his innocence.

Levine, 69, is accused of sexually molesting young boys while examining them. While the North Carolina Medical Board had been ready to provide key testimony claiming that Levine had performed genital exams on five patients without the presence of a chaperone or a parent and that these exams were not medically indicated or properly documented, Levine’s attorney says his client had also been ready to give testimony that the exams were medically indicated and within the bounds of standard medical practice.

Complaints about Levine go back more than 20 years. One child sex abuse lawsuit, filed against the doctor last year, accuses him of molesting at least seven boys. The plaintiff, who says Levine sexually abused him beginning when he was an 8-year-old boy during the 80’s, says the doctor engaged in masturbation, genital fondling, and other acts of sexual assault with him during unnecessary physical exams.

Child Sexual Abuse by Physicians
Physicians are supposed to provide patients with a certain level of medical care. Failure to provide that care or abuse of that care by physically or sexually assaulting a patient could be grounds for a North Carolina medical malpractice claim or a child sexual abuse lawsuit.

Pediatrician Agrees to Stop Practicing After Abuse Charges, New York TImes, March 20, 2009

Physician accused of sex abuse of children,, April 1, 2008

Related Web Resources:
Eight Common Myths about Child Sexual Abuse, The Leadership Council

Sexual Abuse by Medical Professionals,

UNC Pediatrician Sued For Sex Abuse Asks North Carolina Medical Board to Suspend His Medical License

April 8, 2008, by Michael A. DeMayo

Dr. Mel Levine, a doctor and adjunct professor of pediatrics at the University of North Carolina at Chapel Hill’s School of Medicine has asked the North Carolina Medical Board to put his medical license to practice medicine in the state in inactive status.

Dr. Levine is currently the defendant in personal injury lawsuits filed against him by several victims that are accusing him of sexual abusing them when they were young boys and patients at Children’s Hospital Boston in Massachusetts.

Dr. Levine says he is innocent of the allegations and his attorney says that the request to suspend his license is not an acknowledgement of wrongdoing. Levine has also volunteered to stop seeing patients at UNC until the sex abuse allegations are resolved.

Dr. Levine is the author of “A Mind at a Time” and other books about learning disabilities. Prior to transferring to UNC, he was the chief of ambulatory pediatrics at Children’s Hospital Boston.

The lawsuit accuses Dr. Levine of sexually abusing a boy from the time he was 8, in 1980, until 1985. He is also accused of sexually abusing six other boys, 5 to 13 years old, from 1967 to 1984. Some of these boys, now men, have also filed lawsuits against Dr. Levine.

A sex abuse lawyer for five of the men says that his clients waited to file their lawsuits because they were ashamed of the abuse or had suppressed the memories for years.

If you or your child was the victim of child sexual abuse by a teacher, doctor, coach, counselor, doctor, camp counselor, therapist, day care worker, a priest, or anyone else, you may be able to sue the perpetrator in civil court for personal injury damages.

A victim of sexual abuse may sustain physical as well as emotional injuries that can take its toll on the life of the victim and their loved ones. One of our North Carolina and South Carolina sexual abuse lawyers would be happy to speak with you to discuss your legal options.

Suit Accuses Pediatrician of Abuse, The New York Times, April 8, 2008

Doctor stops seeing patients after lawsuit, The Daily Tar Heel, April 8, 2008

Related Web Resources:

Biography of Dr. Mel Levine

UNC School of Medicine


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