Roy Moore, former chief justice of Alabama and the Republican nominee for U.S. Senate, issued his full, formal reply Friday to the Washington Post report describing allegations of sexual impropriety in the 1970s.
“I have never provided alcohol to minors, and I have never engaged in sexual misconduct,” Moore said in a campaign statement. “As a father of a daughter and a grandfather of five granddaughters, I condemn the actions of any man who engages in sexual misconduct not just against minors but against any woman.”
The statement followed his blanket denial of wrongdoing Thursday, in the aftermath of the article’s publication. On Twitter, a defiant Moore vowed to “never give up.”
In his Friday statement, Moore issued a challenge to the Jeff Bezos-owned Post and his accusers. “I strongly urge the Washington Post, and everyone involved, to tell the truth.”
The crux of the accusations against Moore are the recollections Leigh Corfman, a 52-year-old Alabama woman. She told the Washington Post that, in 1979, when she was 14-years-old, Moore, then an assistant district attorney, asked for her number, picked her up in his car, and eventually attempted to guide her hands onto his crotch before she refused and left. Her account is supported by friends who knew her at the time.
Three other women told the Post that Moore took them on dates when they were teenagers, but above the age of consent. The age of consent in Alabama, in the 1970s as now, and as it is in the majority of states to this day, is 16. None of the three, including one who claims to have dated Moore over a period of months, claim he ever did more than kiss or hug them.
One of the women who claims to have dated Moore when she was a teenager, Debbie Wesson Gibson, was later reported on AL.com, to be a public supporter of Democratic politicians including Moore’s opponent Doug Jones. She also performed translation work for Hillary Clinton’s 2016 campaign. The Washington Post did not report either of these facts about Gibson, despite the fact it noted Corfman had voted for Donald Trump last year.
Moore’s campaign statement coincided with an extended radio interview with Sean Hannity in which Moore gave a much more in depth denial of wrongdoing, claiming, “I don’t know Ms. Corfman from anybody.”
With Hannity, Moore did not categorically rule out having been on a date with of-age teenagers but claimed he never remembered doing so and cast doubt on some aspects of the Post’s reporting.
The first poll to include data from after the Washington Post story broke put the U.S. Senate special election in Alabama neck and neck. With the race just over four weeks away, Moore cannot withdraw and be replaced at this point.