Charlotte's new district attorney discusses plan for special victims team

CHARLOTTE, N.C. — Mecklenburg County's new district attorney is making changes in the office a week after officially being on the job.

District Attorney Spencer Merriweather is setting up a special victims team that will focus in the courtroom on cases of domestic violence, sexual assault and child abuse, a first for Mecklenburg County.

Merriweather revealed details about the new unit Tuesday morning, and said he plans to have it integrated into the courts within six months.

Merriweather added that he's planning to create a new Family Justice Center for victims of domestic violence and also wants to develop a permanent expungement clinic for people to clean up their records.

Bea Cote, who works with domestic violence victims and abusers, learned about the changes in an email from Merriweather last week.

She said building the team around victims, specifically victims of sexual assault and domestic violence, makes sense because the two often overlap.

“Having a DA that does both will help us get justice for victims who are victims of both,” Cote said.

Merriweather has also kept the Charlotte-Mecklenburg Police Department in the loop on the coming changes, and the two will be working together to make sure the new unit gets up and running.

The Police Department has its own Special Victims Unit that focuses on child abuse cases, so they already have some common ground.

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