Alleged Soles victim explains why he didn’t come forward sooner
Many people in the community have been telling us for months that the behavior with Sen. R.C. Soles and various young men in Columbus County has been happening for a long time. Today, we are taking a look at why there is no official action has been taken to date. "He did try to molest me when I was 15 years old,” said Soles’s client, Stacey Scott in August 2008. Stacey Scott tells NewsChannel 3 there are a lot of reasons he has not come forward before now to talk to authorities about Soles. One of them is money. “Would you refuse $3-4,000? He just hands it to me, hands it to me, and says, ‘Don’t tell nobody where you got this. You can get in a lot of trouble,’" Scott said. Scott also said Soles wields a lot of power in Columbus County. He said he did not know if anybody would do anything about it if he did come forward. “He said, ‘I’ll have you done away with and nobody will ever ask questions. Don’t you know who I am? I’m a senator. I’ve been a senator for 40 years,’" Scott said. What’s more, Scott did not think anyone would listen to him. He has a criminal record, which is why he was a legal client of Sen. Soles. "Nobody is ever going to believe anybody like me with my criminal record. Nobody is going to believe me,” he said. “But R.C. Soles is not the man he paints the picture to be." There is no way for us to know if Scott is telling the truth. Sen. Soles has consistently refused to speak with us about these serious allegations. But Scott’s story meshes with speculation that has gone on in Tabor City for years. We asked the district attorney for Columbus County if his office has ever acted on these accusations. "We can’t prosecute people because of things we hear out in the community, or things we know are being said, it takes evidence,” said Columbus County DA Rex Gore. Scott’s interview with us may have changed the playing field. The State Bureau of Investigation is now looking into these charges of molestation, but Gore said it will be an uphill battle. "Sex crimes are difficult to prosecute," Gore said. "It is very seldom that you’ll see cases go to the point where arrests are made and people’s lives are altered, based on one person’s uncorroborated statement.” Difficult to prove or not, Gore said Sen. Soles close ties to many of those in law enforcement will not hinder this investigation. “I would hope that the public would start with the proposition that the elected district attorneys in this state are committed to doing our job, and our job is to prosecute crime," Gore said. We want to repeat that we have been trying to talk with the senator about not only these charges, but also about reports we have done on 17-year-old Allen Strickland. Sen. Soles bought the Tabor City teen a house, and gives him a generous allowance. The senator told another news organization it was simply a kind gesture for a good friend, and Allen Strickland tells us there is nothing sexual going on between the two of them. However, there are still dozens of unanswered questions. And we continue, as recently as this afternoon, with our attempts to talk to Sen. Soles.