NC lawmakers advance bill that would expand scope of felony child abuse laws

By: - June 27, 2023 12:34 pm

Sen. Buck Newton (R-Greene) presents a bill expanding the scope of felony child abuse laws.

Legislators on the Senate Judiciary Committee advanced a bill Tuesday that expands the scope of North Carolina’s felony child abuse laws.

House Bill 748 would make it a Class D felony for a person caring for a child to commit — or allow someone else to commit — a sexual act on that minor. It would also create a B2 felony offense — in the same class as manslaughter, burglary and drug trafficking — for “routinely inflicting physical injury” on a child and depriving a minor of the food, clothing, shelter or physical care they need to survive.

“The overall problem is that when a child is tortured, it’s not usually a one-time serious assault,” said Sen. Buck Newton (R-Greene). “Rather, it’s small injuries, deprivations, over time, which cause serious harm when repeated.”

Click here to read the latest bill analysis.

The bill passed the House at the end of April.

Before the bill passed out of committee Sen. Michael Lazzara (R-Onslow) amended the proposal to add the language from Senate Bill 360, which modifies victim and sex offender registry laws, and create a new crime for causing or permitting a minor to be exposed to a controlled substance.

“Basically, if a child ingest the drugs and it causes physical injury or bodily injury, it creates some Class E through C felonies, and also proximate cause of death will cause a B1 felony,” said Lazzara.

Legislators sent the bill to the Senate Rules Committee.

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Kelan Lyons
Kelan Lyons

Investigative Reporter Kelan Lyons writes about criminal and civil justice, including high-profile litigation, prison and jail conditions, housing, and the challenges people face when they leave prison.