State Senator R.C. Soles continues to avoid calls made by WWAY, but has now admitted to buying a house for 17-year-old Allen Strickland. There has been speculation about why the 74-year-old senator would make such a purchase for a non-relative almost 60 years his junior. Soles told a reporter from another news source that it was simply a kind gesture for a good friend, and said there was no sexual relationship between him and Allen Strickland. Mr. Soles didn't explain why all the transactions for the house were apparently in cash, nor did he clarify why he would have bought a home for a minor to live in alone. Allen Strickland was by himself when the house in question caught fire in an apparent arson two weeks ago and says he had to jump out of an upstairs window to escape. Strickland said on July 29, "This whole town is jealous of how I got that house, how I got my car, how I get money and all, and everybody just can't stand it… somebody is trying to hurt me. Whoever did it, they did it with the intention of me getting killed.” Since the fire broke out, we've learned a little more about Strickland’s status as a non-emancipated minor. Records from the Department of Social Services are confidential, but we've gathered information from sources close to the family. From the time he was born, Allen Strickland has lived apart from his mother and father. His aunt, Vicky Stanley Barry, raised him. When Allen was in elementary school, he was sent to live with some family friends, Sherry & Patrick Caines, who became his legal guardians. That apparently went well for a few years, until the Caines started having some medical and financial problems. Allen then went back to live with his Aunt Vicky. When Allen turned 15, he started living on his own in an apartment apparently paid for by Senator Soles, until more recently when he moved into the house Soles bought for him. However, under North Carolina law, a non-emancipated minor is not allowed to live on his own. "There are all sorts of issues that come up for juveniles, and that's why there's a specific age limit, not that 18 is the magic age by which they become adults and know everything, but by law, a parent or caretaker is responsible for a juvenile until they are 18,” said Wanda Marino of DSS. The Department of Social Services tells us they are investigating who is supposed to be watching Allen Strickland and why that apparently hasn't been happening. In the meantime, we continue to try to reach Senator Soles for answers.
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