IN THE MATTER OF: WILLIE REGGIE HARRIS, Petitioner
in the Court of Appeals 9 April 2019.
by respondent from order entered 25 April 2018 by Judge Louis
A. Trosch in Mecklenburg County District Court No. 17 JRI 29.
brief for petitioner-appellee.
Mecklenburg County Department of Social Services Senior
Associate Attorney Kathleen Arundell Jackson, for
respondent-appellant Mecklenburg County Department of Social
Services, Youth and Family Services.
County Department of Social Services ("Respondent")
appeals from the trial court's order, which determined
Respondent had failed to provide Petitioner with timely
notice and prevented Petitioner's name from being
included on the Responsible Individuals List. We affirm.
County Child Protective Services completed an investigative
assessment and substantiated a report alleging abuse.
Petitioner was identified as the individual responsible on 13
December 2013. Criminal charges arising from the incident
four years later, Respondent mailed a letter to notify
Petitioner of its intent to place him on the Responsible
Individuals List ("RIL") on 18 August 2017.
Petitioner filed a petition for judicial review on 7
hearing on 27 February 2018, Respondent presented testimony
of the purported incident, which had occurred between 10
December 2013 and 13 December 2013. A.D., the alleged victim,
testified that Petitioner was a family friend, who was living
with her and her mother when A.D. was thirteen years old. On
the day in question, Petitioner took the trash outside and
upon his return, called out to A.D. to come "warm him
up." A.D. hugged him, and they went into her
mother's bedroom. A.D. told Petitioner her shoulders were
hurting. Petitioner gave her a massage.
lying together on the bed, Petitioner placed his hand on
A.D.'s back, under her clothes, and placed her hand on
his genitals and told her to "squeeze." He then
requested she get on top of him. A.D. left the bedroom, went
upstairs, and dressed for school. Petitioner told her not to
tell her mother.
called her mother once she returned home from school and told
her what had happened. A.D.'s mother made Petitioner move
out and obtained a domestic violence protective order. The
incident was reported to the police and charges were taken
out against Petitioner, but were ultimately dismissed.
the close of Respondent's evidence, Petitioner's
counsel argued Respondent providing notice
"[t]hree-and-a-half years later . . . is substantially
too late for [Petitioner] to adequately prepare a defense . .
. with the preponderance of the evidence standard. It makes
it very difficult for him to present a defense at this late
argued N.C. Gen. Stat. § 7B-320 contained no
consequences for its failure to provide the statutorily
required notice to an identified Responsible Individual
within five days of the completion of the investigation. When
questioned by the trial court to explain why it took so long
for Petitioner to be noticed, Respondent acknowledged the
State had "determined that Mecklenburg County did not
properly handle a whole group of RIL cases, and they were all
pulled at one time . . . the State of North Carolina ...