Local Politics

Man accuses state senator of fondling him

Posted August 14, 2009 7:18 p.m. EDT

— Police Chief Donald Dowless has asked Columbus County prosecutors and state agents to investigate a man's claim that state Sen. R.C. Soles fondled him when the man was 15 years old.

Stacy Scott, who's now 27, made the allegation during a Wednesday interview that aired on Wilmington television station WWAY-TV. Scott is a former client of Soles, who has practiced law in Tabor City for 50 years.

Dowless said Scott never reported to police the abuse allegations and the claim that Soles paid the man $1,000 to keep quiet about the incident.

"If it’s true, then we need to get to the truth of it and put this thing to rest,” Dowless said.

WWAY taped its interview with Scott a year ago when Soles was running for re-election and had several run-ins with Scott.

Soles, who has served in the Senate for 30 years and spent eight years in the House before that, denied the allegations Friday in an interview with WWAY.

Scott has been convicted of felony burning personal property, damaging vending machines, assault, injury to personal property, driving while impaired and resisting a public officer.

"I think it's a bunch of lies, all these allegations that are being made," said Allen Strickland, who called Soles a family friend.

Strickland, 17, said Soles has provided him enough money in recent years to buy a Corvette and a 640-square-foot house.

"He's like a father to me. He helps me any way he can. If I need anything, he's always there to help me," he said. “He didn’t just offer me money. I told him I needed some school supplies, (and) he said anything to help anybody stay in school.”

Strickland's house burned down two weeks ago, which brought attention to his relationship with Soles.

Police suspect arson but said there's no indication Soles was involved.