The Washington Post just reported on sexual abuse allegations against Alabama Senate candidate Roy Moore.
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.
It was early 1979 and Moore — now the Republican nominee in Alabama for a U.S. Senate seat — was a 32-year-old assistant district attorney. He struck up a conversation, Corfman and her mother say, and offered to watch the girl while her mother went inside for a child custody hearing.
“He said, ‘Oh, you don’t want her to go in there and hear all that. I’ll stay out here with her,’ ” says Corfman’s mother, Nancy Wells, 71. “I thought, how nice for him to want to take care of my little girl.”
Alone with Corfman, Moore chatted with her and asked for her phone number, she says. 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.
Moore, a Republican and former judge, has long been a conservative hero. In 2002, Moore was dismissed from the Alabama Supreme Court for refusing a federal order to remove a massive Ten Commandments monument from the judicial building; reelected to the same position, he was again dismissed from the bench in 2012, this time for ordering local judges not to issue same-sex marriage licenses.
Corfman provided the Post of a picture of herself with her mother when she was 14 years old, the same age she was when she alleges that Moore molested her.
The Post obtained confirmation of Corfman’s story from her mother and from several friends who knew Corfman at the time. In addition, the Post has spoken with three other women Moore dated around the same time; each woman was between 16 and 18 (one of the women was only 14 when Moore first approached her, and 16 when he asked her out).
During these years Moore was a grown man in his early 30s; he had already attended West Point, served in Vietnam, and finished law school, and was working as a prosecutor in the district attorney’s office. Moore was 32 when he watched pursued Corfman, then 14, and 34 when he asked 17-year-old Debi Wesson Gibson out after he gave a presentation about his work at the district attorney’s office to her high school civics class.
Moore’s recollections of this time in his book would seem to counter any possibility that Moore’s actions could be explained away as mistakes made before he found Jesus. (I wouldn’t bring this up except that I grew up in an evangelical home and, as a result, and this question was the first thing to spring to my mind.)
As the Post explains:
By his account, chronicled in his book “So Help Me God,” Moore spent his time as a prosecutor convicting “murderers, rapists, thieves and drug pushers.” He writes that it was “around this time that I fashioned a plaque of The Ten Commandments on two redwood tablets.”
“I believed that many of the young criminals whom I had to prosecute would not have committed criminal acts if they had been taught these rules as children,” Moore writes.
It is perhaps worth noting that there is nothing in the Ten Commandments about not sexually abusing children.
I was around 14 myself when Moore was dismissed from the Alabama Supreme Court for refusing to obey a federal order to remove the massive Ten Commandments monument he had installed inside the courthouse. We read glowing reports about him in conservative evangelical magazines like World and Citizen. He was a godly, upstanding man who stood on principle, we were told, and so we believed.
Let’s be clear—Moore has spent decades railing against homosexuals (he prefers the word “sodomy”) and liberals. Moore made these comments to Mike Press on C-SPAN2 in 2005:
“Homosexual conduct is and has been considered abhorrent, immoral, detestable, a crime against nature and a violation of the laws of nature.” Moore said.Press asked Moore to clarify: “Do you think that homosexuality or homosexual conduct should be illegal today, that’s a yes or no question.”
“Homosexual conduct should be illegal, yes,” Moore responded.
Moore went on to compare “homosexual conduct” with bestiality, calling sexual acts with a horse or a dog the “same thing.”
Moore alleged that 9/11 was divine punishment on the nation for turning away from following God, and even today his rhetoric hasn’t changed. He invokes the Bible at every turn and condemns the immorality of those who do not share his faith.
According to the Post, Moore’s interest in teens was something of an open secret in Gadsden, the county seat where Moore first worked, which is how they happened upon the story. While Corfman had spoken about what happened with several friends at the time, and with her mother ten years later when Moore’s political career was taking off, the story in the Post is the first time Corfman has gone public about Moore’s abuse. The Post interviewed over 30 individuals in preparing their story in an effort to be thorough, above board, and fair.
The age of consent in Alabama was (and is) 16. According to the Post, Moore could also have been charged with a law that bars “enticing a child younger than 16 to enter a home with the purpose of proposing sexual intercourse or fondling of sexual and genital parts.” Moore could have been sent to prison for up to 10 years. The statute of limitations, however, ran out when Corfmon was 17, still several years before she told her mother about the incident.
It is unclear at this point what impact Corfman’s allegations will have on the Alabama Senate race; Moore will face Democrat Doug Jones in a special election on December 12th.