The woman is a god-fearing, Trump-voting Republican:
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.
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.
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 women say that Moore forced them into any sort of relationship or sexual contact.
Wendy Miller says she was 14 and working as a Santa’s helper at the Gadsden Mall when Moore first approached her, and 16 when he asked her on dates, which her mother forbade. Debbie Wesson Gibson says she was 17 when Moore spoke to her high school civics class and asked her out on the first of several dates that did not progress beyond kissing. Gloria Thacker Deason says she was an 18-year-old cheerleader when Moore began taking her on dates that included bottles of Mateus Rosé wine. The legal drinking age in Alabama was 19.
Of the four women, the youngest at the time was Corfman, who is the only one who says she had sexual contact with Moore that went beyond kissing. She says they did not have intercourse.
In a written statement, Moore denied the allegations.
“These allegations are completely false and are a desperate political attack by the National Democrat Party and the Washington Post on this campaign,” Moore, now 70, said.
The campaign said in a subsequent statement that if the allegations were true they would have surfaced during his previous campaigns, adding “this garbage is the very definition of fake news.”
None of the women have donated to or worked for Moore’s Democratic opponent, Doug Jones, or his rivals in the Republican primary, Luther Strange, according to campaign reports.
Corfman, 53, who works as a customer service representative at a payday loan business, says she has voted for Republicans in the past three presidential elections, including for Donald Trump in 2016. She says she thought of confronting Moore personally for years, and almost came forward publicly during his first campaign for state Supreme Court in 2000, but decided against it. Her two children were still in school then and she worried about how it would affect them. She also was concerned that her background — three divorces and a messy financial history — might undermine her credibility.
The sad thing is that this woman is going to get death threats and be dragged through the mud, and it is unclear if she will even be believed. Obviously, Trump supporters (including herself!) don’t think sexual harassment is an impediment to holding public office. It will be interesting to see how this plays out.
That said, I’m not even a little bit surprised.
Ladies and gentlemen of the Court of Public Opinion, I ask you! Is this really the face of a child molester? pic.twitter.com/sdvlOpWI1p
— David Waldman, LLC (@KagroX) November 9, 2017
These women did not seek out the Post and are not looking for the limelight. They only revealed their story after some coaxing:
So do Hannity, Ingraham, Carlson, Fox and Friends a) ignore the Roy Moore story? b) go Breitbart and dismiss it as fake partisan news while skipping the probative details? c) cover it as a significant piece of news?
— Jeff Greenfield (@greenfield64) November 9, 2017
The implication of this is actually pretty big. If Moore loses the Alabama Senate race in the special election next month (and Doug Jones wins), the Senate is in play. Dems might be able to retake it in 2018.
UPDATE: Apparently, it is too late to take Moore off the ballot, even if he withdraws, and even if the GOP pulls him. Furthermore…
Alabama state law does allow write-in votes to be cast in general elections
— Robert Costa (@costareports) November 9, 2017
I'm reading mixed things about this point, but it looks like there's a write-in slot on the sample ballot: https://t.co/uVqA1tsDbc pic.twitter.com/pabEOlaEx9
— Nate Silver (@NateSilver538) November 9, 2017