The legislation would extend the statute of limitations for misdemeanor child abuse from its current two years to 10 years. It would allow victims of child abuse to pursue a civil lawsuit against the abuser until age 50, rather than the current limit of age 21.
In addition, the bill would ban high-risk sex offenders from contacting minors on social media.
It would enable prosecutors to convene investigative grand juries to examine child abuse claims, utilizing tools such as questioning witnesses under oath, compelling sworn testimony from witnesses, and subpoenaing records. Currently, investigative grand juries can only be convened in drug trafficking and human trafficking cases.
It would also require "any person or organization to report all reasonably suspected child abuse," expanding current mandatory reporting rules, which only cover cases in which an abuser "is in a parental role and in a residential setting," according to a fact sheet released by the state attorney general.
The attorney general also announced that he has collaborated with experts to create best practices for organizations that work with children. These include policies to prevent, identify and report abuse, and education about resources to help victims.
The Diocese of Raleigh said in a statement that it "looks forward to reviewing the proposed act recently announced by Attorney General Stein and supports efforts to further protect North Carolina's children from sexual abuse."