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Johnston DA sues friend over affair with husband

Posted June 29, 2011

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— Johnston County District Attorney Susan Doyle on Tuesday filed suit against a longtime friend, alleging the woman had an affair with Doyle's husband last year.

The "criminal conversation" lawsuit alleges that Christi Stem and Michael Doyle had sex several times in 2010. The relationship "caused the plaintiff to suffer great mental anguish, humiliation, injury to physical and emotional health and the loss of assistance and financial support of her spouse."

Criminal conversation differs from an alienation of affection lawsuit in that it's more of a strict liability claim. Susan Doyle needs only prove that her husband had sex with Stem while he and Doyle were married. In an alienation of affection claim, Doyle would have to prove Stem acted maliciously.

Susan Doyle is seeking unspecified compensatory and punitive damages in the suit. She declined to comment on the case Wednesday.

Stem couldn't be reached Wednesday, but her husband, Jasper Stem, declined to comment.

According to court documents, the Stems and the Doyles are neighbors, and Christi Stem is godmother to the couple's two children.

Susan Doyle also alleges in court documents that she confided to Christi Stem, an attorney who specializes in family law, about her marital difficulties in recent years and that Stem agreed to mediate the problems for the Doyles.

Michael Doyle and Christi Stem exchanged racy text messages, and Stem even programmed her cellphone so calls and texts from Michael Doyle would appear under the heading "Office," court documents state.

Last year, Susan Doyle prosecuted Christi Stem's law partner, Lee Hatch, as part of a ticket-fixing scheme in Johnston County. Hatch is now serving a 3½-year prison sentence for obstruction of justice, criminal conspiracy and altering official case records.


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  • Dogs_Rules Jul 6, 2011

    Lawyers are always doing that to each other....and us too. But WE have to pay a retainer.

  • COPs eye Jul 4, 2011

    what is soooooooo ironic is susan has been fooling around with one of her staff in 2009 and 2010...ask the deputies that caught them.....hmmmmmmm

  • chatwifu2 Jul 1, 2011

    This is not all that goes on in Johnston County. Why won't the media go after Judge Jackie Lee who is also named in a case

  • DonnaB Jun 30, 2011

    "Why not sue her husband too?" - multiple posters

    PAY ATTENTION, people: The husband who cheated will be held responsible IN DIVORCE COURT. That's why he isn't being "sued". Proof of adultery still has serious consequences in a North Carolina divorce settlement.

    As for those of you who claim that Mrs. Doyle had cheated:
    *IF* she did, and
    *IF* she can prove that her husband knew about her prior affair (either because she confessed or through other means), and
    *IF* her husband remained in the marriage after discovering the affair,
    THEN she can also show that her husband forgave her, and her prior affairs can't be held against her in a divorce and financial settlement.

    The media publicizes an "alienation of affection" or "criminal conversation" case once a year or every 2 years. This is the case for 2011. Get over it.

  • imsosorry Jun 30, 2011

    You CANT break up a happy home, just sayin'

  • carrboroyouth Jun 30, 2011

    Why not sue her husband too? He's certainly had a role in this.

  • news4u Jun 30, 2011

    The mud is going to hit a few folks in this Johnston County slinging contest.
    Catfight extraordinaire!!!

  • mrsmom Jun 30, 2011

    Good for her. I hope she gets the full amount.

    If people just have to screw around, they should legally separate BEFORE they get into bed with someone else.

  • vjayd Jun 30, 2011

    I think this action is more about the betrayal of a best friend than the actual affair. The betrayal probably hurts more.

  • BIlzac Jun 30, 2011

    First I will say that I support 100% the right to legally pursue a complaint against someone who willfully chooses to participate in adultery with your own spouse.


    On the other hand, before I made such a big public to-do about it, I would make very certain that I was prepared to have my OWN closet gone through.

    Some who have responded here have mentioned that Ms. Doyle may not be all that innocent herself. If so...ouch.

    Secondly, having myself gone through a divorce that was not of my choosing, I completely agree that BOTH spouses should be thinking more about their children right now than themselves.

    I can only hope that Ms. Doyle and her husband are continually reassuring their children of their love for THEM, despite what might be going on between the two of them.

    But I will end by saying that I see nothing at all wrong with filing a case against the mistress given the slimy way she involved herself in this family.