On Nov. 9, four women told the Washington Post (paywall) that Roy Moore “pursued them” when they were teenagers and he was in his early 30s. That number has since risen to nine named accusers alleging sexual misconduct by the Alabama Senate candidate.
Donald Trump took to Twitter this week to give his official endorsement to the embattled Republican. “We need his vote on stopping crime, illegal immigration, Border Wall, Military, Pro Life, V.A., Judges 2nd Amendment and more,” Trump wrote. “No to Jones, a Pelosi/Schumer Puppet!”
Moore’s Democratic opponent, Doug Jones, has pointed to the growing list of accusers as proof that Moore is unfit for public office. In a recent political ad, a narrator names each woman in succession: “They were girls when Roy Moore immorally pursued them,” the ad says. “Will we make their abuser a US Senator?”
Polling site FiveThirtyEight has Moore pegged as “at least a modest favorite” in the tight Dec. 12 special- election race against Jones, positing that both the passage of time and Trump’s support are likely helping Moore win over even Alabama voters who were initially put off by the allegations.
Moore has refuted the women’s accounts. After the initial Post report, Moore told Fox News host Sean Hannity that he knew two of the accusers. Later that week, as AL.com points out, Moore was denying he knew any of the women. “Let me state once again: I do not know any of these women, did not date any of these women and have not engaged in any sexual misconduct with anyone,” he said.
Leigh Corfman told the Post (paywal) last month that when she was 14, Moore approached her outside a courtroom in Etowah County, Alabama. She said Moore, then a 32-year-old assistant district attorney, asked for her phone number. Days later, Corfman told the Post, that Moore drove her to his home and kissed her.
On another occasion, she said, his actions progressed to molestation, the Post reported:
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.
In a written statement to the Post, Moore called the allegations “completely false,” characterizing them as ”a desperate political attack by the National Democrat Party and the Washington Post on this campaign.”
In an open letter to Moore given to AL.com, Corfman responded to what she called the candidate’s “smears and false denials”:
When you personally denounced me last night and called me slanderous names, I decided that I am done being silent. What you did to me when I was 14 years old should be revolting to every person of good morals. But now you are attacking my honesty and integrity. Where does your immorality end? I demand that you stop calling me a liar and attacking my character.
Your smears and false denials, and those of others who repeat and embellish them, are defamatory and damaging to me and my family. I am telling the truth, and you should have the decency to admit it and apologize.
Wendy Miller told the Post that she first met Moore when she was working as a Santa’s helper at a local mall and he told her she was pretty. She was 14. Two years later, when she was working at a photo booth at the same mall, she said Moore began asking her out on dates.
She said her mother did not allow her to date Moore because he was too old. At the time, she told the Post she was flattered by his advances, but in retrospect found them inappropriate.
“Now that I’ve gotten older, the idea that a grown man would want to take out a teenager, that’s disgusting to me,” she said.
Debbie Wesson Gibson told the Post that she began dating Roy Moore in 1981 when she was 17 and he was 34—a relationship her mother condoned due to Moore’s status in the community.
Gibson said they dated for a few months and that their relationship involved kissing. “Looking back, I’m glad nothing bad happened,” says Gibson, who now lives in Florida. “As a mother of daughters, I realize that our age difference at that time made our dating inappropriate.”
She later provided the Post (paywall) with a card from Moore as further evidence of the relationship, which Moore has denied. “Happy graduation Debbie,” the card said. “I wanted to give you this card myself. I know that you’ll be a success in anything you do. Roy.”
In 1979, Gloria Thacker Deason said she was 18 when Moore approached her at the Gadsden Mall, where she worked at a department store jewelry counter. She said they dated on and off for a few months, and that she was in his house at least twice.
She told the Post that there physical relationship did not go past kissing and hugging, and that they would drink alcohol together. (At the time, the legal drinking age in Alabama was 19.)
Beverly Young Nelson said Roy Moore used to make inappropriate comments to her when she was a 15-year-old waitress at a local restaurant. By the time she was 16, she says he had sexually assaulted her in his car after offering to drive her home one night after her shift.
In her recollection, previously reported by Quartz:
Mr. Moore reached over and began groping me, him putting his hands on my breasts. I tried to open my car door to leave, but he reached over and he locked it so I could not get out. I tried fighting him off while yelling at him to stop. But instead of stopping he began squeezing my neck, attempting to force my head onto his crotch. I continued to struggle. I was determined that I was not going to allow him to force me to have sex with him. I was terrified. He was also trying to pull my shirt off. I thought that he was going to rape me. I was twisting and I was struggling and I was begging him to stop. I had tears running down my face.
At some point, he gave up. Nelson said she either fell out of the car, or was pushed.
Before he drove away, Nelson said, Moore warned her to keep quiet about what had happened, employing a common tactic of sexual predators: “He told me, he said, ‘You’re just a child,’ and he said, ‘I am the District Attorney of Etowah County. And if you tell anyone about this, no one will ever believe you.’”
Nelson gave her recollection of the events at a tearful press conference on Nov. 13, saying she had supported Trump for president and her decision to go public was not political.
She also shared her high-school yearbook, which she said Moore signed, writing: “To a sweeter, more beautiful girl, I could not say…Love, Roy Moore D.A.”
Moore has denied Nelson’s account and disputed the veracity of the yearbook message.
Gena Richardson told the Post that when she was a high-school senior working at Sears at the Gadsden Mall, either just before or after her 18th birthday, when Moore approached her and asked for her phone number. She declined, but a few days later he called her high school to ask her out on a date.
Richardson reluctantly agreed and went to a movie. She said after the film was over, Moore drove her to a dark parking lot and forcefully kissed her in a way that “left her scared.”
She told the Post that she never wanted to see him again after that.
Richardson said by the time she met Moore, he had developed a reputation for seeking out young women at the mall where she worked, and that her manager had warned her to avoid him.
Becky Gray told MSNBC that Moore would harass her at the mall and continually ask her out, despite her insistence that she was in a relationship. She was 22.
“Why was a 30-year-old man hanging out at a mall, where parents came and dropped off there 12- and 13- and 14-year-old daughters thinking that it was safe?” she said. “I know these women are telling the truth. You can’t make this stuff up. And also the community knew about it.
Gray said Moore was eventually banned from the Gadsden Mall due to his “creepy” behavior.
Tina Johnson told AL.com that Moore assaulted her when she was in his law office in 1991 on legal business. She said she was 28 and at the office to sign over custody of her son when Moore initially began flirting with her, which made her uncomfortable.
“He kept commenting on my looks, telling me how pretty I was, how nice I looked,” she said. “He was saying that my eyes were beautiful.”
She said after the meeting was over, when she was leaving the office, he unexpectedly grabbed her from behind.
“He didn’t pinch it; he grabbed it,” she said.
Kelly Harrison Thorp was a 17-year-old hostess at a Red Lobster restaurant when, she says, Moore asked her out.
Thorp was in a relationship at the time and declined to go out with him, but remembers asking Moore if he realized that she was a teenager.
“I just kind of said, ‘Do you know how old I am?'” she told AL.com. “And he said, ‘Yeah. I go out with girls your age all the time.'”