[Vision2020] Roy Moore Accused of Sexual Assault by then 14-year-old Girl

Nicholas Gier ngier006 at gmail.com
Thu Nov 9 10:39:05 PST 2017

Alabama woman says Roy Moore initiated sexual encounter when she was 14, he
was 32

By Stephanie McCrummen, Beth Reinhard and Alice Crites
November 9 at 12:52 PM The Washington Post

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 rival 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. “There is
no one here that doesn’t know that I’m not an angel,” Corfman says,
referring to her home town of Gadsden. Corfman described her story
consistently in six interviews with The Post. The Post confirmed that her
mother attended a hearing at the courthouse in February 1979 through
divorce records. Moore’s office was down the hall from the courtroom.
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. “I have prayed over this,”
Corfman says, explaining why she decided to tell her story now. “All I know
is that I can’t sit back and let this continue, let him continue without
the mask being removed.” This account is based on interviews with more than
30 people who said they knew Moore between 1977 and 1982, when he served as
an assistant district attorney for Etowah County in northern Alabama, where
he grew up. **** Moore was 30 and single when he joined the district
attorney’s office, his first government job after attending the U.S.
Military Academy at West Point, serving in Vietnam, graduating from law
school and working briefly as a lawyer in private practice in Gadsden, the
county seat. 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. Outside work, Moore writes that he spent his free time
building rooms onto a mobile home in Gallant, a rural area about 25 miles
west of Gadsden. According to colleagues and others who knew him at the
time, Moore was rarely seen socializing outside work. He spent one season
coaching the Gallant Girls, a softball team that his teenaged sister had
joined, said several women who played on the team. He spent time working
out at the Gadsden YMCA, according to people who encountered him there. And
he often walked, usually alone, around the newly opened Gadsden Mall — 6
feet tall and well-dressed in slacks and a buttondown shirt, say several
women who worked there at the time. Corfman describes herself as a little
lost — “a typical 14-year-old kid of a divorced family” — when she says she
first met Moore that day in 1979 outside the courtroom. She says she felt
flattered that a grown man was paying attention to her. “He was charming
and smiley,” she says. After her mother went into the courtroom, Corfman
says, Moore asked her where she went to school, what she liked to do and
whether he could call her sometime. She remembers giving him her number and
says he called not long after. She says she talked to Moore on her phone in
her bedroom, and they made plans for him to pick her up at Alcott Road and
Riley Street, around the corner from her house. “I was kind of giddy,
excited, you know? An older guy, you know?” Corfman says, adding that her
only sexual experience at that point had been kissing boys her age. She
says that it was dark and cold when he picked her up, and that she thought
they were going out to eat. Instead, she says, he drove her to his house,
which seemed “far, far away.” “I remember the further I got from my house,
the more nervous I got,” Corfman says. She remembers an unpaved driveway.
She remembers going inside and him giving her alcohol on this visit or the
next, and that at some point she told him she was 14. She says they sat and
talked. She remembers that Moore told her she was pretty, put his arm
around her and kissed her, and that she began to feel nervous and asked him
to take her home, which she says he did. Soon after, she says, he called
again, and picked her up again at the same spot. “This was a new
experience, and it was exciting and fun and scary,” Corfman says,
explaining why she went back. “It was just like this roller-coaster ride
you’ve not been on.” She says that Moore drove her back to the same house
after dark, and that before long she was lying on a blanket on the floor.
She remembers Moore disappearing into another room and coming out with
nothing on but “tight white” underwear. She remembers that Moore kissed
her, that he took off her pants and shirt, and that he touched her through
her bra and underpants. She says that he guided her hand to his underwear
and that she yanked her hand back. “I wasn’t ready for that — I had never
put my hand on a man’s penis, much less an erect one,” Corfman says. She
remembers thinking, “I don’t want to do this” and “I need to get out of
here.” She says that she got dressed and asked Moore to take her home, and
that he did. The legal age of consent in Alabama, then and now, is 16.
Under Alabama law in 1979, and today, a person who is at least 19 years old
who has sexual contact with someone between 12 and 16 years old has
committed sexual abuse in the second degree. Sexual contact is defined as
touching of sexual or intimate parts. The crime is a misdemeanor punishable
by up to one year in jail. The law then and now also includes a section on
enticing a child younger than 16 to enter a home with the purpose of
proposing sexual intercourse or fondling of sexual and genital parts. That
is a felony punishable by up to 10 years in prison. In Alabama, the statute
of limitations for bringing felony charges involving sexual abuse of a
minor in 1979 would have run out three years later, and the time frame for
filing a civil complaint would have ended when the alleged victim turned
21, according to Child USA, a nonprofit research and advocacy group at the
University of Pennsylvania. Corfman never filed a police report or a civil
suit. She says that after their last encounter, Moore called again, but
that she found an excuse to avoid seeing him. She says that at some point
during or soon after her meetings with Moore, she told two friends in vague
terms that she was seeing an older man. Betsy Davis, who remains friendly
with Corfman and now lives in Los Angeles, says she clearly remembers
Corfman talking about seeing an older man named Roy Moore when they were
teenagers. She says Corfman described an encounter in which the older man
wore nothing but tight white underwear. She says she was firm with Corfman
that seeing someone as old as Moore was out of bounds. “I remember talking
to her and telling her it’s not a good idea,” Davis says. “Because we were
so young.” A second friend, who spoke on the condition of anonymity for
fear of losing her job, has a similar memory of a teenaged Corfman telling
her about seeing an older man. After talking to her friends, Corfman says,
she began to feel that she had done something wrong and kept it a secret
for years. “I felt responsible,” she says. “I felt like I had done
something bad. And it kind of set the course for me doing other things that
were bad.” She says that her teenage life became increasingly reckless with
drinking, drugs, boyfriends, and a suicide attempt when she was 16. As the
years went on, Corfman says, she did not share her story about Moore partly
because of the trouble in her life. She has had three divorces and
financial problems. While living in Arizona, she and her second husband
started a screen-printing business that fell into debt. They filed for
bankruptcy protection three times, once in 1991 with $139,689 in unpaid
claims brought by the Internal Revenue Service and other creditors,
according to court records. In 2005, Corfman paid a fine for driving a boat
without lights. In 2010, she was working at a convenience store when she
was charged with a misdemeanor for selling beer to a minor. The charge was
dismissed, court records show. **** The three other women who spoke to The
Post say that Moore asked them on dates when they were between 16 and 18
and he was in his early 30s. Gloria Thacker Deason says she was 18 and
Moore was 32 when they met in 1979 at the Gadsden Mall, where she worked at
the jewelry counter of a department store called Pizitz. She says she was
attending Gadsden State Community College and still living at home. “My mom
was really, really strict and my curfew was 10:30 but she would let me stay
out later with Roy,” says Deason, who is now 57 and lives in North
Carolina. “She just felt like I would be safe with him. . . . She thought
he was good husband material.” Deason says that they dated off and on for
several months and that he took her to his house at least two times. She
says their physical relationship did not go further than kissing and
hugging. “He liked Eddie Rabbitt and I liked Freddie Mercury,” Deason says,
referring to the country singer and the British rocker. She says that Moore
would pick her up for dates at the mall or at college basketball games,
where she was a cheerleader. She remembers changing out of her uniform
before they went out for dinners at a pizzeria called Mater’s, where she
says Moore would order bottles of Mateus Rosé, or at a Chinese restaurant,
where she says he would order her tropical cocktails at a time when she
believes she was younger than 19, the legal drinking age. “If Mother had
known that, she would have had a hissy fit,” says Deason, who says she
turned 19 in May 1979, after she and Moore started dating. Around the same
time that Deason says she met Moore at the jewelry counter, Wendy Miller
says that Moore approached her at the mall, where she would spend time with
her mom, who worked at a photo booth there. Miller says this was in 1979,
when she was 16. She says that Moore’s face was familiar because she had
first met him two years before, when she was dressed as an elf and working
as a Santa’s helper at the mall. She says that Moore told her she looked
pretty, and that two years later, he began asking her out on dates in the
presence of her mother at the photo booth. She says she had a boyfriend at
the time, and declined. Her mother, Martha Brackett, says she refused to
grant Moore permission to date her 16-year-old daughter. “I’d say, ‘You’re
too old for her . . . let’s not rob the cradle,’ ” Brackett recalls telling
Moore. Miller, who is now 54 and still lives in Alabama, says she was
“flattered by the attention.” “Now that I’ve gotten older,” she says, “the
idea that a grown man would want to take out a teenager, that’s disgusting
to me.” Debbie Wesson Gibson says that she was 17 in the spring of 1981
when Moore spoke to her Etowah High School civics class about serving as
the assistant district attorney. She says that when he asked her out, she
asked her mother what she would say if she wanted to date a 34-year-old
man. Gibson says her mother asked her who the man was, and when Gibson said
“Roy Moore,” her mother said, “I’d say you were the luckiest girl in the
world.” Among locals in Gadsden, a town of about 47,000 back then, Moore
“had this godlike, almost deity status — he was a hometown boy made good,”
Gibson says, “West Point and so forth.” Gibson says that they dated for two
to three months, and that he took her to his house, read her poetry and
played his guitar. She says he kissed her once in his bedroom and once by
the pool at a local country club. “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.” **** By 1982, Moore was by his own account in his book
causing a stir in the district attorney’s office for his willingness to
criticize the workings of the local legal system. He convened a grand jury
to look into what he alleged were funding problems in the sheriff’s office.
In response, Moore writes, the state bar association investigated him for
going against the advice of the district attorney, an inquiry that was
dismissed. Soon after, Moore quit and began his first political campaign
for the county’s circuit court judge position. He lost overwhelmingly, and
left Alabama shortly thereafter, heading to Texas, where he says in his
book that he trained as a kickboxer, and to Australia, where he says he
lived on a ranch for a year wrangling cattle. He returned to Gadsden in
1984 and went into private law practice. In 1985, at age 38, he married
Kayla Kisor, who was 24. The two are still married. A few years later,
Moore began his rise in Alabama politics and into the national spotlight.
In 1992, he became a circuit court judge and hung his wooden Ten
Commandments plaque in his courtroom. In 2000, he was elected chief justice
of Alabama’s Supreme Court, and he soon installed a 5,280-pound granite Ten
Commandments monument in the judicial building. In 2003, he was dismissed
from the bench for ignoring a federal court order to remove the monument,
and became known nationally as “The Ten Commandments Judge.” Moore was
again elected chief justice of the Alabama Supreme Court in 2012, and was
again dismissed for ignoring a judicial order, this time for instructing
probate judges not to issue marriage licenses to same-sex couples. All of
this has made Moore a hero to many Alabama voters, who consider him a
stalwart Christian willing to stand up for their values. In a September
Republican primary race to replace the seat vacated by Attorney General
Jeff Sessions, Moore defeated the appointed sitting senator, Luther
Strange, who was backed by President Trump and other party leaders in
Washington. Moore faces the Democratic nominee, Doug Jones, in a special
election scheduled for Dec. 12. On a visit home in the mid-1990s to see her
mother and stepfather in Alabama, Corfman says, she saw Moore’s photo in
the Gadsden Times. “ ‘Mother, do you remember this guy?’ ” Wells says
Corfman said at the time. That’s when Corfman told her, Wells recalls. Her
daughter said that not long after the court hearing in 1979, Moore took her
to his house. Wells says that her daughter conveyed to her that Moore had
behaved inappropriately. “I was horrified,” Wells says. Years later,
Corfman says, she saw a segment about Moore on ABC News’s “Good Morning
America.” She says she threw up. There were times, Corfman says, she
thought about confronting Moore. At one point during the late 1990s, she
says, she became so angry that she drove to the parking lot outside Moore’s
office at the county courthouse in Gadsden. She sat there for a while, she
says, rehearsing what she might say to him. “ ‘Remember me?’ ” she imagined
herself saying. The comment section on this story has been closed. You can
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A society grows great when old men plant trees whose shade they know they
shall never sit in.

-Greek proverb

“Enlightenment is man’s emergence from his self-imposed immaturity.
Immaturity is the inability to use one’s understanding without guidance
from another. This immaturity is self- imposed when its cause lies not in
lack of understanding, but in lack of resolve and courage to use it without
guidance from another. Sapere Aude! ‘Have courage to use your own
understand-ing!—that is the motto of enlightenment.

--Immanuel Kant
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