CHILD SEX ABUSE/STRENGTHEN LAWS.

View NCGA Bill Details2019-2020 Session
Senate Bill 199 (Public) Filed Wednesday, March 6, 2019
AN ACT TO PROTECT CHILDREN FROM SEXUAL ABUSE BY INCREASING PROSECUTORIAL OPTIONS FOR DELAYED REPORTS OF CHILD ABUSE, TO EXPAND THE DUTY TO REPORT CHILD ABUSE, TO PROTECT CHILDREN FROM ONLINE PREDATORS, TO EXTEND THE STATUTE OF LIMITATIONS FOR A CIVIL ACTION FOR CHILD SEXUAL ABUSE SO THAT A PLAINTIFF HAS UNTIL AGE THIRTY-EIGHT TO COMMENCE AN ACTION, AND TO REQUIRE TRAINING ON CHILD SEX ABUSE AND SEX TRAFFICKING FOR SCHOOL PERSONNEL.
Intro. by Britt, Harrington, Chaudhuri.

Status: Ch. SL 2019-245 (Nov 7 2019)

SOG comments (4):

Identical bill

Identical to H 596, filed 4/3/19.

Long title change

Senate committee substitute changed the long title.  Original title was AN ACT TO PROTECT CHILDREN FROM SEX ABUSE BY IMPROVING PROSECUTORIAL OPTIONS FOR DELAYED REPORTS OF CHILD ABUSE, TO EXPAND THE MANDATORY DUTY OF REPORTING CHILD ABUSE, AND TO PROTECT CHILDREN FROM ONLINE PREDATORS.

Long title change

House committee substitute to the 5th edition changed the long title.  Previous title was AN ACT TO PROTECT CHILDREN FROM SEXUAL ABUSE BY IMPROVING PROSECUTORIAL OPTIONS FOR DELAYED REPORTS OF CHILD ABUSE, TO EXPAND THE DUTY TO REPORT CHILD ABUSE, AND TO PROTECT CHILDREN FROM ONLINE PREDATORS.

Long title change

Conference report changed the long title. Previous title was AN ACT TO PROTECT CHILDREN FROM SEXUAL ABUSE BY INCREASING PROSECUTORIAL OPTIONS FOR DELAYED REPORTS OF CHILD ABUSE, TO EXPAND THE DUTY TO REPORT CHILD ABUSE, TO PROTECT CHILDREN FROM ONLINE PREDATORS, TO EXTEND THE STATUTE OF LIMITATIONS FOR A CIVIL ACTION FOR CHILD SEXUAL ABUSE SO THAT A PLAINTIFF HAS UNTIL AGE THIRTY-EIGHT TO COMMENCE AN ACTION, AND TO REQUIRE TRAINING ON CHILD SEX ABUSE AND SEX TRAFFICKING FOR SCHOOL PERSONNEL.

Bill History:

S 199/S.L. 2019-245

Bill Summaries:

  • Summary date: Nov 8 2019 - More information

    AN ACT TO PROTECT CHILDREN FROM SEXUAL ABUSE AND TO STRENGTHEN AND MODERNIZE SEXUAL ASSAULT LAWS. SL 2019-245. Enacted November 8, 2019. Parts I, II, III, V, VI, VII, and VIII of this act become effective December 1, 2019, and apply to offenses committed on or after that date. Part IV of this act becomes effective December 1, 2019, and applies to civil actions commenced on or after that date. The remainder of this act is effective November 8, 2019.


  • Summary date: Oct 30 2019 - More information

    Conference report makes the following changes to the 7th edition.

    Amends the act's long title.

    No longer titles the act as "The Sexual Assault Fast Reporting and Enforcement (Safe child) Act of 2019."

    Part I.

    Amends proposed GS 14-318.6 to no longer exempt a juvenile's parent or guardian from the requirement for any person aged 18 or older who knows or should have reasonably known that a juvenile has been or is the victim of a violent offense, sexual offense, or misdemeanor child abuse to immediately report the case to the appropriate local law enforcement agency.

    Part IV.

    Amends GS 1-17(d) to allow a plaintiff to file a civil action against a defendant for claims related to sexual abuse suffered while the plaintiff was under age 18 until the plaintiff attains age 28 (was, age 38). Adds that a plaintiff may file a civil action within two years of the date of a criminal conviction for a related felony sexual offense against a defendant for claims related to sexual abuse suffered while the plaintiff was under age 18. Makes conforming changes to GS 1-52. 

    Makes all of Part IV effective December 1, 2019, instead of when the act becomes law.

    Adds the following provisions.

    Part V. 

    Amends GS 14-27.20 to add to against the will of the other person to the terms applicable to Article 7B (Rape and Other Sex Offenses) of GS Chapter 14. Defines the term as either (1) without consent of the other person or (2) after consent is revoked by the other person, in a manner that would cause a reasonable person to believe consent is revoked. Applies to offenses committed on or after December 1, 2019.

    Part VI.

    Amends GS 7B-101 by making clarifying changes to the definition of the term caretaker.

    Expands GS 14-401.11, which prohibits the distribution of certain food or eatable substances injurious to a person, making it unlawful for any person to knowingly distribute, sell, give away, or otherwise cause to be placed in a position of human accessibility or ingestion of any beverage or other drinkable substances which the person knows contains certain substances, materials, controlled substances, poisonous chemicals or compounds, or any foreign material as specified. Makes violations punishable as a Class H or I felony depending on the contents of the food or beverage distributed and the degree the actual or possible discomfort caused, as specified. Makes clarifying, technical, and conforming changes.

    Amends the definition of mentally incapacitated set out in GS 14-27.20, to now define the term as a victim who due to any act is rendered substantially incapable (was, a victim who due to any act committed upon the victim, or a poisonous or controlled substance provided to the victim without the knowledge or consent of the victim, is rendered substantially incapable) of either appraising the nature of his or her conduct or resisting the act of vaginal intercourse or a sexual act.

    Part VII.

    Amends GS 14-208.12A by adding that the victim of the underlying offense may appear and be heard in a proceeding regarding a request for termination of the sex offender registration requirement. Specifies notification requirements when the victim has elected to receive notices of such proceedings. Requires the judge to inquire as to whether the victim is present and wishes to be heard and requires the court to grant the victim an opportunity to be reasonably heard if the victim is present and wishes to be heard. Allows the right to be reasonably heard to be through an oral statement, written statement, or audio or video statement. 

    Part VIII.

    Amends GS 14-208.16, concerning residential restrictions for sex offender registrants, by providing that for the purposes of the statute, the term school includes any construction project designated for use as a public school if the governing body has notified the sheriff or sheriffs with jurisdiction within 1,000 feet of the construction project of the construction of the public school. 

    Part IX.

    Makes new Parts V, VI, VII, and VIII effective December 1, 2019. Makes Part IV (extending civil statute of limitations and requiring training) effective December 1, 2019, instead of when the act becomes law.


  • Summary date: Jul 30 2019 - More information

    House amendments to the 6th edition make the following changes.

    Amendment #1 eliminates the appropriation set forth for the Department of Public Instruction to assist entities in the implementation of the new child abuse and sex trafficking training program requirement.

    Amendment #3 changes the duty established by new GS 14-318.6 regarding reporting certain crimes against juveniles, excepting the juvenile's parent or guardian from the reporting requirement. 


  • Summary date: Jul 23 2019 - More information

    House committee substitute to the 5th edition makes the following changes.

    Adds new Part V.

    Amends GS 1-17 to authorize plaintiffs to file civil actions against a defendant for sexual abuse suffered while the plaintiff was under 18 years of age, until the plaintiff reaches 38 years of age. Makes conforming changes to GS 1-52, applicable to civil actions commenced on or after the date the act becomes law. Effective from January 1, 2020, to December 31, 2021, this act revives any civil action for child sexual abuse otherwise time-barred under GS 1-52 as it existed immediately before the enactment of this act. Makes conforming changes to GS 1-56. 

    Enacts GS 115C-375.20 to require each employing entity to adopt and implement a child sexual abuse and sex trafficking training program for school personnel who work directly with students in grades K through 12 that provides education and awareness related to child sexual abuse and sex trafficking, as specified. Defines school personnel as teachers, instructional support personnel, principals, and assistant principals. Provides that school personnel can include, in the discretion of the employing entity, other school employees who work directly with students in grades K through 12. Allows the training to be provided by local nongovernmental organizations with expertise in the area, local law enforcement officers, or other court officers. Requires all school personnel who work with K through 12 students to receive two hours of training consistent with the statute's requirements in even-numbered years beginning in 2020. Provides immunity for all entities required to adopt a child sexual abuse and sex trafficking program and its members, employees, designees, agents, or volunteers with regard to the provision of, participation in, or implementation of the training program, unless the conduct amounts to gross negligence, wanton conduct, or intentional wrongdoing. Specifies that the statute does not impose a specific duty of care on an entity required to adopt the training program. Enacts GS 115C-47(64), GS 115C-218.75(g), GS 115C-238.66(14), and GS 116-239.8(b)(17) to require local boards of education, charter schools, regional schools, and laboratory schools to adopt and implement a child sex abuse and sex trafficking training program in accordance with new GS 115C-375.20. Requires the entities to adopt and implement the training program by January 1, 2020, with training required for school personnel beginning with the 2020-21 school year. Appropriates $50,000 from the General Fund to the Department of Public Instruction for the 2019-20 fiscal year to assist the entities in implementing the training requirement. 

    Makes conforming organizational changes.


  • Summary date: Jun 27 2019 - More information

    House committee substitute makes the following changes to the 4th edition. 

    Part II.

    Amends new GS 14-318.6 as follows. Eliminates the defined term crime of abuse. Instead, defines serious bodily injury, serious physical injury, sexually violent offense, and violent offense. Adds to the defined term juvenile, specifying that the age of the juvenile at the time of the abuse of offense governs for purposes of the statute. Now requires any person 18 years or older who knows or should have reasonably known that a juvenile has been or is the victim of a violent offense, sexual offense, or misdemeanor child abuse, to immediately report the case to the appropriate law enforcement agency in the county where the juvenile resides or is found (previously, required a person or institution who suspects a juvenile has been the victim of a felony or a crime of abuse to immediately report as provided). Amends the information required of the report to include, if known, the name, address, and age of the person who committed the offense, the location of the offense, and the nature and extent of any injury or condition resulting from the offense or abuse (was, abuse). Modifies the penalty provisions to now make it a Class 1 misdemeanor for any person 18 years or older who knows or should have reasonably known that a juvenile was the victim of a violent offense, a sexual offense, or misdemeanor child abuse and knowingly or willfully fails to make the required report or prevent another from making the required report (mirroring the modified duty provisions). Grants civil and criminal immunity to anyone who makes a report in good faith, cooperates with law enforcement, or testifies resulting from a law enforcement report or investigation. 

    Adds a new duty for any law enforcement officer who finds, as a result of a report, evidence that a juvenile may be abused, neglected, or dependent, to make an oral report as soon as practicable and make a subsequent written report to the director of the department of social services within 48 hours after discovery of the evidence. Requires the director to make a prompt and thorough assessment to determine whether protective services should be provided or the complaint filed as a petition.

    Clarifies that the statute does not affect statutory privileges, as specified. 

    Part III.

    Amends GS 15-4 to identify five misdemeanor crimes which must be charged within 10 years of the commission of the crime (under current law, the statute of limitations for misdemeanor is two years; previously, amended to extend the statute of limitations to 10 years for crimes of abuse). The identified misdemeanors include: failure to report abuse, neglect, dependency, or death due to maltreatment; sexual battery; indecent liberties between children; misdemeanor child abuse; and failure to report crimes against juveniles.

    Part IV.

    Modifies the proposed changes to GS 14-202.5, making it a Class H felony for a high-risk sex offender to pose falsely as a person under 16 years old online with the intent to commit an unlawful sex act with a person the offender believes is under 16 years old (previously, did not include mens rea). Modifies the qualifications for a high-risk sex offender, now including that the registered sex offender is a recidivist, with one offense against a person under 18 years old (previously, required recidivist status to be based on an offense against a person under 18 years old). 

    Eliminates the proposed changes to GS 14-208.7, which required sex offender registration forms for high risk sex offenders to include IP addresses under the registrant's control or custody. Makes conforming deletions to proposed GS 14-208.11(a)(11) and GS 14-208.9(g). 

    Makes organizational and technical changes. Amends the act's long title.


  • Summary date: May 2 2019 - More information

    Senate committee substitute makes the following changes to the 3rd edition. 

    Eliminates the provisions of Part V of the act (amending GS 15A-622 concerning when a grand jury can be convened) and the provisions of Part VI of the act (amending GS 15A-623 regarding records of grand jury investigations and subpoena procedures). Makes conforming organizational changes. Makes conforming changes to the act's long title.


  • Summary date: Apr 10 2019 - More information

    Senate amendment #1 makes the following changes to the 2nd edition. 

    Part VI.

    Amends GS 15A-623 to specify that the records gathered in the course of the grand jury investigation and the record of the examination of witnesses must be made available to the examining prosecutor (was, only the record of examination of a witness). Adds that those records become part of the file of the prosecutor's office, as file and prosecutor's office are defined under GS 15A-903(a)(1). Makes conforming and clarifying changes and makes language gender-neutral.


  • Summary date: Apr 4 2019 - More information

    Senate committee substitute makes the following changes to the 1st edition.

    Part II.

    Modifies proposed GS 14-318.6 as follows. Adds and defines the term crime of abuse as any of the specified five misdemeanors and the attempt, solicitation, or conspiracy to commit those listed offenses that are committed against a victim who has not reached age 18. Requires a person or institution suspecting that a juvenile has been the victim of a felony or a crime of abuse (was, the victim of a crime) to immediately report the case to the appropriate local law enforcement agency in the county where the child resides or is found. Defines crime of abuse. Adds to the penalty provisions regarding failure to report or preventing another person to report under the statute, qualifying that the provision applies to any person or institution who knew or should have known that a juvenile was the victim of a felony or a crime of abuse; maintains Class 1 misdemeanor punishment. Adds that the identity of a person making a report under the statute must be protected and only revealed as provided in GS 132-1.4(c)(4) (which makes  the contents of 911 and other emergency telephone calls received by or on behalf of public law enforcement agencies public record, except for such contents that reveal the natural voice, name, address, telephone number, or other information that may identify the caller, victim, or witness).

    Part III.

    Amends GS 15-1 by removing the proposed definition of crime of abuse and instead refers to the definition added to GS 14-318.6 (which includes a less extensive list of misdemeanor offenses than proposed under this statute).

    Part IV.

    Modifies the provisions of GS 14-202.5 to now make it unlawful for a high-risk sex offender to (1) communicate with a person that the offender believes is under 16 years old, (2) contact a person that the offender believes is under age 16, (3) pose falsely as under age 16, (4) use a website to gather information about a person that the offender believes is under age 16, or (5) use a commercial social networking website in violation of a policy posted in a manner reasonably likely to come to the attention of users prohibiting convicted sex offenders from using the site. Amends the definition of high-risk sex offender by making clarifying changes and by deleting a person who was convicted of a violation of nine enumerated offenses.

    Amends the liability provision to provide that a commercial social networking site that complies with GS 14-208.15A or makes other reasonable efforts to prevent a high-risk sex offender from using its website to endanger children (was, to violate the specified prohibition) will not be held civilly liable for damages arising out of the sex offender's communications on the site's system or network.

    Amends GS 14-208.9 by adding that if a high-risk sex offender that is required to register an IP address obtains or is assigned a new IP address, the offender must report in person within three business days to the sheriff and provide notice of the new address. Requires the sheriff to immediately forward the information to the Department of Public Safety. Effective December 1, 2019.

    Part V.

    Amends GS 15A-622 by allowing an investigative grand jury to be convened if the petition alleges the commission of, attempt to commit or solicitation to commit, or a conspiracy to commit a violation of Article 13A of GS Chapter 14 (Gang Suppression Act), a felony sex offense against a person under age 18, or a crime of abuse as it is defined in GS 14-318.6 (previous edition only added crime of abuse as the term was defined in GS 15-1). 

    Part VI.

    Amends GS 15A-623 by clarifying that the court may direct a witness to produce the designated items before the items are to be offered to the investigative grand jury (was, before trial or before the items are to be offered in evidence). 

    Eliminates Part VII of the previous edition, which amended GS 1-17, GS 1-52, and GS 1-56, to allow a plaintiff to file a civil action against a defendant for sexual abuse suffered while the plaintiff was under 18 until the plaintiff attains the age of 50. 

    Makes conforming organizational changes. 


  • Bill S 199
    Summary date: Mar 6 2019 - More information

    Part I.

    Titles the act as The Sexual Assault Fast Reporting and Enforcement (Safe Child) Act of 2019.

    Part II.

    Requires a person or institution suspecting that a juvenile has been the victim of a crime to immediately report the case to the appropriate local law enforcement agency in the county where the child resides or is found. Specifies information that must be included in the report and requires the person making the report to provide their contact information. Makes it a Class 1 misdemeanor to knowingly or wantonly fail to report the case or to prevent another person from making the report. Applies to offenses committed on or after December 1, 2019.

    Part III.

    Amends GS 15-1, which sets out the statute of limitations for misdemeanors as follows. Requires that crimes of abuse be charged within 10 years of the commission of the crime. Crimes of abuse is defined to mean any of the specified 16 misdemeanors when the victim is under the age of 18. Applies to offenses committed on or after December 1, 2019.

    Part IV.

    Amends GS 14-202.5 to make it unlawful for a high-risk sex offender to intentionally or knowingly access a website with terms of use prohibiting sex offenders from the site, or to intentionally or knowingly use a commercial social networking website to: access a personal webpage or profile for a person the offender knows or should have known is under 16, to contact a person the offender knows or should have known is under 16, falsely pose as being under 16, or join or view online groups that the offender knows or should have known include at least one person under 16 (previously prohibited sex offender from accessing a commercial social networking website where the offender knows that the site allows minors to become members or to create or maintain personal webpages on the social networking website).

    For the purposes of this statute, high-risk sex offender is defined as: any person registered in accordance with Article 27A (Sex Offender and Public Protection Registration Programs) of GS Chapter 14 who meets any of the following: (1) was convicted of an aggravated offense against a person under 18 years of age; (2) is a recidivist based on a prior conviction for an offense against a person under 18 years of age; (3) was convicted of an offense against a minor; (4) was convicted of a sexually violent offense against a person under 18 years of age; (5) is a sexually violent predator based on a conviction of a sexually violent offense committed against a minor;  (6) was convicted of a violation of GS 14-27.23 (Statutory rape of a child by an adult), GS 14-27.25(a) (vaginal intercourse with another person who is 15 years of age or younger and the defendant is at least 12 years old and at least six years older than the person); GS 14-27.28 (Statutory sexual offense with a child by an adult); GS 14-27.30(a) (engages in a sexual act with another person who is 15 years of age or younger and the defendant is at least 12 years old and at least six years older than the person); GS 14-27.31 (Sexual activity by a substitute parent or custodian), if the victim was under 18 years of age; GS 14-27.32 (Sexual activity with a student), if the victim was under 18 years of age; GS 14-43.11 (Human trafficking), if the victim was under 18 years of age; GS 14-202.3 (Solicitation of child by computer or certain other electronic devices to commit an unlawful sex act), if the victim was under 18 years of age; or GS 14-190.16 (First degree sexual exploitation of a minor), if the victim was under 18 years of age.

    Amends the definition of commercial social networking website to include applications, portals, or other means of accessing the internet (in addition to websites) that meet the specified requirements. Amends those requirements to (1) no longer include facilitating the social introduction between two or more persons for the purposes of friendship, meeting other people, or exchanging information; (2) remove reference to linking to other personal websites on the commercial social networking website of the user’s friends or associates that may be accessed by other users or visitors to the site; (3) include providing users or visitors (was, visitors to the commercial social networking site)  a mechanism to communication with others and remove specific references to communicating through e-mail. Amends the exclusions from the definition of commercial social networking website to now only exclude a commercial social networking website that does not include a website that (1) has as its primary purpose the facilitation of commercial transactions, the dissemination of news, the discussion of political or social issues, or professional networking or (2) is owned or operated by a local, State, or federal governmental entity.

    Increases punishment for violation of the statute from a Class I to Class G felony. Adds a severability clause.

    Makes conforming changes to GS 14-202.5A concerning the liability of commercial social networking sites.

    Amends GS 14-208.7 to require the registration form used by sheriffs to include specified information from high-risk sex offenders. Amends GS 14-208.11(a) to make it a Class F felony to fail to provide the registering sheriff with that information.

    Effective December 1, 2019.

    Part V.

    Amends GS 15A-622 to allow an investigative grand jury to be convened for a crime of abuse. Makes a clarifying change. Applies to offenses committed on or after December 1, 2019.

    Part VI.

    Amends GS 15A-623 by adding that a district attorney may issue a subpoena duces tecum to compel a witness or other entity to produce any books, papers, documents, data, or other objects the subpoena designates that relate to the investigation, and requires service by the investigative grand jury officer appointed by the court. Allows the court to direct the witness to produce the designated items in court before trial or before the items are to be offered in evidence. Treats the information as confidential and prohibits disclosure except in connection with a criminal case related to the subpoenaed materials. Sets out the procedure under which the court may quash or modify the subpoena. Allows the judge to proceed in accordance with GS Chapter 5A (Contempt) when a person disobeys a subpoena without adequate excuse. Applies to offenses committed on or after December 1, 2019.

    Part VII.

    Amends GS 1-17, to allow a plaintiff to file a civil action against a defendant for sexual abuse suffered while the plaintiff was under 18 until the plaintiff attains the age of 50. Makes conforming changes to GS 1-52 and GS 1-56. Effective from January 1, 2020, until December 31, 2020, this revives any civil action for child sexual abuse otherwise time-barred under GS 1-52 as it existed immediately before the enactment of this section.

    Part VIII.

    Includes a severability clause. Provides that prosecutions for offenses committed before the effective date of the act are not abated or affected by this act, and the statutes that would be applicable but for this act remain applicable to those prosecutions.


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