“I believe victims are often hesitant to come forward to report abuse for two main reasons. First, they feel like the abuse is somehow their own fault, and secondly, many survivors have a fear that their allegations won’t be believed, and that the system won’t work to hold the perpetrator to account,” said Barker.
“I feel that by litigating child sexual abuse cases, we bring about training and awareness,” added Richardson.
Moriah Taylor was sexually abused during her adolescent years when most kids were trying to figure out who they were and where they fit in the world. She had no one to turn to for support, not even her mother. Being home-schooled, her only social interactions were with her siblings and people at her church.
At the age 14, Moriah attended a church camp. “One of the classes they taught was the law of chastity. I remember thinking it was very odd, everything they were saying, and the first person who came to mind was my father,” she recalled.
Moriah was 17 when she disclosed to her bishop about five incidents of inappropriate sexual behavior by her father. The bishop called Moriah’s mother and met with both her parents. David Taylor was given the opportunity by the bishop to self-report his actions to authorities, but he failed to do so. Ultimately, the bishop reported the incidents to authorities, after which David carefully crafted a written confession to the five incidents. Barker and Richardson believe Moriah’s mother coerced her into not mentioning any other abuse to investigators because David was the family’s meal ticket, and they needed to keep him out of jail.
In 2015, David Taylor was arrested and charged with one felony count of indecent liberties with a minor and three misdemeanor counts of attempted sexual battery. In a plea arrangement, he pled guilty to two misdemeanor counts of attempted sexual battery. He was required to complete a sex offender control program class, register as a sex offender, and was placed on supervised probation for 60 months. David Taylor didn’t spend a single day in jail on the underlying charges. At his three-year probation review, after moving to another county, his probation was terminated early on December 7, 2018, despite his willfully violating his probation in 2017.
After David was arrested in 2015, Moriah moved back to Texas.
“I moved in with a family I hadn’t ever met,” Moriah said. “I knew their kid from the short four months I was in high school before we moved to NC and we kept in touch over the years. But I’d never met their parents. They were kind enough to just open their home to a complete stranger.”
When Moriah heard about the plea deal, she was livid. She collected a list of Triangle attorneys and caught a flight back to Raleigh.