3-Judge Panel to Review Validity of North Carolina’s SAFE Child Act

Two of Lanier Law Group, P.A.’s cases filed pursuant to the Sexual Assault Fast reporting and Enforcement Act (SAFE Child Act) have been transferred to Wake County, where a three-judge panel will review them to determine whether the SAFE Child Act is constitutional.

The cases in question are Matthew Bajerski v. Charles Ray Walters, Jr. and Charles Ray “Trey” Walters, III, 20 CVS 10537 (Wake County) and Michael Taylor v. The Piney Grove Volunteer Fire and Rescue Department, Inc. 20 CVS 1390 (Forsyth County).

The defendants of both cases filed Motions to Dismiss, claiming they have a “vested” constitutional right to freedom from civil liability because the statute of limitations or repose period has expired. Thus, they allege the North Carolina SAFE Child Act is unconstitutional. On the other hand, plaintiffs assert that the constitution does not grant perpetrators of child sexual assault—or the institutions that have enabled them—a “vested” freedom. The three-judge panel will consider both parties’ briefs, then hear oral arguments likely in early October.

Per North Carolina General Statute § 1-267.1, challenges to the constitutional validity of any act of the General Assembly must be transferred to a three-judge panel for review. This panel will then determine whether the legislature violated the constitution through the statute in question. The panel ruling will, therefore, be crucial to the plaintiffs’ cases, as well as to numerous cases throughout the state.

We at Lanier Law Group, P.A. are proud to announce that we have assembled a team of attorneys from advocacy groups and the North Carolina Department of Justice. Together, we will fight to protect the rights of sexual assault survivors by proving that the SAFE Child Act is constitutional. We know full well that if this act is not upheld, the survivors will be the ones to suffer. Further, we stand firm in our belief that institutions must be held accountable for failing to protect children from sexual assault.

Contact Lanier Law Group, P.A. online or call one of our qualified attorneys at (855) 757-4204.