The Washington Post has published a story in which four women allege that former judge Roy Moore -- now the GOP nominee for US Senate in Alabama's special election (on whom I've previously opined) -- molested or made romantic overtures toward them when they were teenagers, and when he was in his thirties. Amid growing calls from fellow Republicans for him to step aside if the claims are true, Moore has strenuously denied the accusations and is defiantly refusing to leave the race. Here is the report (content warning):
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...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...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.
More relevant details:
Aside from Corfman, three other women interviewed by The Washington Post in recent weeks say Moore pursued them 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. None of the three women say that Moore forced them into any sort of relationship or sexual contact...Neither Corfman nor any of the other women sought out The Post. While reporting a story in Alabama about supporters of Moore’s Senate campaign, a Post reporter heard that Moore allegedly had sought relationships with teenage girls. Over the ensuing three weeks, two Post reporters contacted and interviewed the four women. All were initially reluctant to speak publicly but chose to do so after multiple interviews, saying they thought it was important for people to know about their interactions with Moore. The women say they don’t know one another.
The primary alleged victim, a self-described Republican and Trump voter, tells the Post she considered going public earlier in Moore's public career -- but shied away from doing so, fearful of the potential impact on her family, and mindful of her own messy personal history, including a number of divorces. A few of my initial reactions, as this controversy explodes on social media:
Prudent to withhold further judgment until we have a more complete picture of verifiable facts. But on its face, Moore -- who favors outlawing sexual contact between gay *consenting adults* -- stands accused of molesting a high school freshman when he was a grown man. ??— Guy Benson (@guypbenson) November 9, 2017
But the context of these revelations is a moment in which the dam has broken on women & other victims speaking out about abuse and harassment, about which they'd previously been silent. So these accusations arise in the midst of a cultural watershed...— Guy Benson (@guypbenson) November 9, 2017
...so I guess I find these accusations pretty credible and really disturbing, even as I harbor some doubts about timing. I'm also trying to look at the situation as fairly as possible, in spite of my profound distaste for Moore as a public figure.— Guy Benson (@guypbenson) November 9, 2017
What are the chances that 4 accounts of relationship with 4 different teens who never met each other are all “completely false"? https://t.co/Fj5WPOpQ6U— Christina Wilkie (@christinawilkie) November 9, 2017
Sexually pursuing a 14-year-old would be bad enough, but Roy Moore did it as *a sitting prosecutor* -- hard to fathom a more egregious power disparity— Michael Tracey (@mtracey) November 9, 2017
The response from senior Republicans -- from the Senate Majority Leader, to the chairman of the National Republican Senatorial Committee, to the senior Senator from Alabama -- has been nearly identical: If this is true, Moore must drop out of the race. Which leads to this question:
What would he and the GOP accept as proof? https://t.co/fqW31UXKP3— Allahpundit (@allahpundit) November 9, 2017
That's the real rub. It's highly unlikely that there would be any open-and-shut "proof" of acts that allegedly occurred decades ago. The fact that friends and family members have verified Ms. Corfman's contemporaneous accounts bolsters her story, as do the stories of three other women who appear to establish a pattern of behavior involving Moore's romantic pursuit of teenage girls as a grown adult. So, what's next? Moore, characteristically, doesn't seem like he's about to budge, and either way, it looks like the party is stuck with its nominee:
Alabama elex spox John Bennett just told me that if the GOP withdraws their nomination of Moore, and notifies their office, he will remain on ballot but even if he gets most votes, won't be certified as winner b/c party has withdrawn nomination.— Jessica Taylor (@JessicaTaylor) November 9, 2017
Is there a "Torricelli option" available to the Alabama GOP? And would triggering it require Moore to agree to drop out? I'll leave you with Moore's full statement, which doesn't really address the specific allegations: