It happened Wednesday just before 2:45 p.m. in the 1000 block of Harding Avenue in Kinston.
Authorities said the 91-year-old woman told them an unknown man approached her, placed his hands on her shoulders, and would not allow her stand up. She also said his genitals were exposed.
The suspect ran away on foot after a neighbor from across the street came outside and yelled at him.
On Thursday, authorities were able to identify the suspect as 40-year-old Walter Donell McCray. He later turned himself into police.
McCray has been charged with sexual battery, indecent exposure and false imprisonment.