Johnston DA files adultery suit against godmother of children

Staff writerJune 29, 2011 

Johnston County's district attorney filed a lawsuit Tuesday against a longtime friend and fellow attorney she accuses of having an affair with her husband.

Susan Doyle, who's in her second term as top prosecutor in Johnson, is seeking a jury trial and at least $10,000 in damages from Christi Stem, a Smithfield family law lawyer.

The 16-page court filing, which is also known as a "criminal conversation" lawsuit, details the alleged infidelities, including specific dates, times and places.

According to the filing, Doyle claims that Stem was her friend for 17 years and was the godmother of Doyle's two children. Doyle and her husband, Michael, lived on the same Clayton block as Stem and her husband. Susan Doyle confided in Stem about her marital problems in 2008 and 2009, according to the filing.

In the lawsuit, Doyle claims Stem had sex with Michael on multiple occasions throughout 2010, and the affair caused Susan "mental anguish, humiliation, injury to physical and emotional health and the loss of assistance and financial support of her spouse" resulting in "substantial damages."

Doyle says she discovered the two together at her home in October, and Stem admitted the affair, according to the filing.

"The Plaintiff has suffered shame caused by the loss of affection of her spouse and the disgrace of the acts described herein," the lawsuit says.

Stem could not be reached for comment at her law office Wednesday afternoon. Doyle's attorney, Heather Hayes Williams of Dunn, declined to comment on the lawsuit. Williams said Stem hasn't filed a response and no court date has been set.

North Carolina is one of only a few states where alienation of affection and criminal conversation lawsuits are legal. Some spurned spouses here have been awarded millions of dollars in damages.

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