The Washington Post published allegations on Thursday that, when he was in his 30s, Alabama Republican Roy Moore dated teenage girls, including a 14-year-old he touched sexually.
The accusations are very old, going back to the late 1970s and early 1980s. There is almost certainly no way to independently confirm them, and Moore denies them strenuously. But the allegations are credible. There are four women who spoke on the record to the Washington Post about their encounters with Moore.
What three of them describe is gross, but not criminal. Moore took an interest in them at a young age, tending to find them at a local mall (one was working as a Santa’s helper when Moore first sought her out). Then, Moore either asked them out, or went on dates with them when they were aged 16 to 18, with the permission of their mothers. One of them says Moore kissed her, but didn’t force himself on her.
More disturbing is the story of the girl who was 14 years old, Leigh Corfman, now 53. She says that Moore partly undressed her at his house, touched her sexually, and tried to get her to do the same to him. He stopped and took her home when she asked, but if Moore did what is described, he committed a crime. The Post confirmed that Corfman told two friends at the time that she was seeing an older man, and confirmed through court documents that her mother attended a hearing at the courthouse at the time that Corfman said Moore first approached her there.
This is the second damaging revelation about Moore since he won the Republican nomination in the special election to replace Jeff Sessions. The other is that he took a secret $180,000 annual salary for a part-time gig at a charity, despite his denials. There is no doubt that the media and the Democrats are gunning for Moore; there is also, now, no doubt that there is plenty of material for them to mine, beyond his kooky views and ignorance of the law.
The statute of limitations on Moore’s alleged sexual misconduct long ago expired, but there is no such thing as a statute of limitations on standards. Roy Moore is not a worthy standard-bearer for the Republican party, and his vulnerabilities are now endangering what should be a completely safe Senate seat.
We, nonetheless, have little doubt that he will soldier on, and he might well still win in December. The better option would be to spare his party the exertions of defending him against these latest allegations (some of his colleagues have already disgraced themselves with absurd rationalizations), and back a new write-in candidate for the seat. That this would be the reasonable thing to do is one reason we assume Moore will do the opposite.
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