Here we go again with the burgeoning political perv-o-rama…this time in my state of North Carolina, where a 74-year-old Democrat and the longest-serving state Senator in our legislature is facing charges that he engaged in inappropriate sexual contact, was handing out generous sums of cash to clients behind bars and has now jumped onto the FBI’s radar with an investigation into prostitution and molestation.

The fact that Stacy Scott was 15 when State Senator R.C Soles allegedly fondled him is a real gut churning visualization.

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.

But wait, there’s more…take a look at one of Soles’s “close friends who is defending him.

“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.

I’m not sure that endorsement, which includes the quote “He didn’t just offer me money. I told him I needed some school supplies,” is particularly helpful to Soles. If you check out Soles’s web site, there’s no evidence of political sexual hypocrisy or blatant wingnuttery, nevertheless, he’s in a world of trouble that indicates at the very least, he’s unaware that he has placed himself in a situation that will be hard to explain, let alone explain away.Strickland’s home burned down a couple of weeks ago, and that’s how the radar on the relationship came to light. StarNews Online has been following the relationship between Soles and Strickland.

Soles…has been the subject of recent media coverage about his relationships with several young men/law clients in Columbus County since the home of one of them, 17-year-old Allen Strickland, was torched by an arsonist two weeks ago.

…According to media reports, Soles has also given money to a man named B.J. Wright, who was recently released from prison.

…In August 2008, Soles called the police to report that Strickland and another man were following the senator’s car, harassing and yelling at him. But Soles asked the police not to arrest them because they were former clients. Strickland was twice charged with trespassing at Soles’ home and law office in April, and then in May he told a police officer the lawmaker tried to touch him.

OK, I don’t know what on earth is going on in this story, but the fact that touching and fondling keep coming up, and the senator doesn’t want to comment, means the media will keep sniffing this one out.  More below the fold.WWAY finally landed an interview with Soles.

We have been trying for a month and a half to interview State Sen. R.C. Soles about some concerning allegations regarding his personal and financial relationships with young men in Tabor City. He has failed to return repeated phone calls, and asked us to leave his office when we tried to go see him in Tabor City.

Click here for the video. He also came forward for WECT with this comment.

In an exclusive interview, Soles spoke with WECT’s Bob Townsend to discuss his relationship with Strickland.

“The relationship you had with Strickland and any other clients – has it ever been sexual?” asked Townsend. “It has not,” said Soles.

Allen Strickland lived in the home and said he is now getting death threats.  Strickland said he recently filed a report with Tabor Police after receiving a threat on his life.

“I think that people on the street are running their mouths and saying things trying to scare him,” said Soles.  “If he was scared of me he certainly wouldn’t come see me since the fire.”

In addition, there are more men who have been the recipients of Soles’s generosity — inmates who were also his clients.

[P]rison documents also indicate that Soles has been giving generous financial assistance to other inmates, including Shane Coleman, and Daniel Floyd. Some at the North Carolina State Bar say while it’s highly unusual for an attorney to provide financial assistance to an inmate, it doesn’t run afoul of any professional ethics rules.

There are ethical guidelines that prohibit North Carolina attorneys from entering into certain business and sexual relationships with their clients. The state bar says it’s flat out against the law to post bail for a client.

It appears that B.J. Wright was able to post bonds for tens of thousands of dollars before he went to prison. We’re still trying to track down who posted those bonds, but one thing that plenty of people are telling us is that R.C. Soles hands out a lot of cash.

“He had his secretary, Amanda something, who has just quit, walk out of the back of his office and hand me maybe a total of $35,000 cash. For what purpose? I don’t know,” said Stacey Scott.

Well if it’s for sex, surely the senator could find a rent boy much more economically than this path of alleged procurement. But the issue of the FBI investigation is serious — it has interviewed some of these men.

On July 1, a few weeks before that fire, Allen and a few of his friends, all clients of State Sen. R.C. Soles, sat down with WWAY’s Ann McAdams to discuss problems they were having with the Senator. They told Ann about being called to testify before the FBI, about possible misconduct on the part of the Senator. Ann asked Allen what they testified about. “About molestation, about prostitution,” Strickland said.

“I went to Raleigh and went before the grand jury and they questioned me for about six-and-a-half hours,” said Jackie Jordan, one of Soles’s clients.

“The FBI is investigating him, as far as I know, for embezzlement, arson, child molestation,” Scott said. “He (Soles) did try to molest me when I was 15 years old, and I have not told the feds that. He tried to grab by my genitalia and I backed off and I said, ‘You know my dad would kill you.’ He said, ‘Please don’t tell nobody,’ and he gave me a thousand dollars.”

UPDATE: On Facebook, I received a message from a fellow progressive North Carolinian that was not unexpected.

I’d like to think my liberal friends support the notion of innocent-until-proven-guilty.

My reply:

I took care to say allegedly there, and made a point to say there’s no smoking sexual hypocrisy gun to be found. That said, there is an investigation under way and what we do know that an incredible amount of factual information that is in the public domain and documented in the media has drawn attention from the FBI is on this, and, at the very least he’s in as bad a position as any of the many Republicans caught in similar circumstances that I’ve blogged about.

Closeted behavior has no party affiliation, btw. Gay-baiting is one thing, molestation and prostitution is another, since obviously you can be straight and caught up in a mess like this; the interesting aspect is whether Soles would be more affected by 1) the thought that people would learn that he is gay or 2) that people think he was caught up in illegal activity or 3) that criminal sexual activity, regardless of orientation, might somehow be connected to his status or position.

Pam Spaulding

Pam Spaulding