New Lawsuit Filed Against Methodist Church and Children’s Home in North Carolina
A new child sexual abuse and cover-up lawsuit has been filed against a children’s home in North Carolina by a man who says he was abused by his caregivers there. We applaud this brave survivor for coming forward and sharing his story and hope that it helps bring others forward and on a path towards healing.
According to the lawsuit, Michael Lakins alleges that he was abused for three years, starting at age ten, while he was in the care of Jack and Beatrice Biggs, house parents who were charged with the care of Michael while he was living at the Children’s Home in Winston-Salem, NC. The abuse only stopped after the Biggs’ were removed from their position. The lawsuit states that it is believed that the couple were fired for their abusive actions. Sadly, there are likely many more children who were abused, and it is the duty of Methodist officials in North Carolina to help them find justice and healing.
The Children’s Home is overseen by the Western Conference of the United Methodist Church. We call on leaders from that Conference to use every resource at their disposal to find others who were victimized while they were living at the Children’s Home. The Conference should be sending messages to the Home's former residents and publicizing information about the case – and how to report abuse to secular law enforcement – prominently in churches and other facilities throughout the state and on their website.
This case was only able to be brought forward thanks to the SAFE Child Act of 2019, a critical reform that amended the state’s statute of limitations and opened new pathways for survivors to have their day in court. Legislative changes like this help to ensure that information about hidden perpetrators is made public, and can protect today’s children while also helping those who were abused in the past.
We hope state legislators around the country will look to reform the statutes of limitations and open civil windows in their own state. Such changes will help bring survivors forward, prevent predators from escaping justice, and keep boys and girls safe from the scourge of child sexual abuse.
(SNAP, the Survivors Network, has been providing support for victims of sexual abuse in institutional settings for 30 years. We have more than 25,000 survivors and supporters in our network. Our website is SNAPnetwork.org)