On Thursday, Alabama Senate candidate Roy Moore blasted allegations that he had sexually pursued four teen girls — one who was only 14 at the time — in his early thirties. (This would be sexual assault under Alabama law, under which the age of consent is 16.) None of the women say Moore forced them into any sort of relationship or sexual contact, and only one said he had done more than kiss her.
“These allegations are completely false and are a desperate political attack by the National Democrat Party and the Washington Post on this campaign,” Moore declared in a statement. The campaign later released a second statement, claiming that if the allegations were true they would have surfaced in previous campaigns. “This garbage is the very definition of fake news,” the campaign added.
The Judge has been a candidate in four hotly-contested statewide political contests, twice as a gubernatorial candidate and twice as a candidate for chief justice. He has been a three-time candidate for local office, and he has been a national figure in two ground-breaking, judicial fights over religious liberty and traditional marriage. After over 40 years of public service, if any of these allegations were true, they surely would have been made public long before now.
The allegations surfaced in a Washington Post report on Thursday. The report detailed each of the romantic pursuits and delved into Moore’s reported lack of a personal life during his years as an assistant district attorney.
“Leigh Corfman says she was 14 years old when an older man approached her outside a courtroom in Etowah County, Ala. She was sitting on a wooden bench with her mother, they both recall, when the man introduced himself as Roy Moore,” the Post report began. The event reportedly happened in 1979, when Moore was 32 years old.
“Alone with Corfman, Moore chatted with her and asked for her phone number, she says,” the Post added. “Days later, she says, he picked her up around the corner from her house in Gadsden, drove her about 30 minutes to his home in the woods, told her how pretty she was and kissed her. On a second visit, she says, he took off her shirt and pants and removed his clothes. He touched her over her bra and underpants, she says, and guided her hand to touch him over his underwear.”
“I wanted it over with — I wanted out,” she remembers thinking. “Please just get this over with. Whatever this is, just get it over.” Corfman says she asked Moore to take her home, and he did.
Two of Corfman’s childhood friends say she told them at the time that she was seeing an older man, and one says Corfman identified the man as Moore. Wells says her daughter told her about the encounter more than a decade later, as Moore was becoming more prominent as a local judge.”
Three other women reportedly spoke to the Post about romantic pursuits from Moore “when they were between the ages of 16 and 18 and he was in his early 30s, episodes they say they found flattering at the time, but troubling as they got older.” Importantly, “None of the women say that Moore forced them into any sort of relationship or sexual contact.”
When Moore asked then-16-year-old Wendy Miller out on dates, her mother forbade them. Debbie Wesson Gibson said that Moore asked her out when she was 17, and the dates did not progress beyond kissing. Gloria Thacker Deason said she was an 18-year-old cheerleader when Moore took her out on dates including battles of Mateus Rosé wine (the legal drinking age in Alabama at the time was 19).
The Washington Post article reported that Corfman described her story consistently in six different interviews, and confirmed that her mother attended a hearing at the courthouse where Corfman and Moore reportedly met in February 1979.
“I prayed over this,” Corfman told the Post. “All I know is that I can’t sit back and let this continue, let him continue without the mask being removed.”
The Post insisted that none of the women were being paid by Democrat Doug Jones, Moore’s competitor in the Alabama Senate race. The election will take place on December 12.