MONTGOMERY, Alabama — Judge Roy Moore, the GOP nominee for the U.S. Senate, again dismissed as false allegations against him in the Washington Post that decades ago he engaged in inappropriate relationships with young women. Appearing on nationally syndicated radio host Sean Hannity’s program on Friday afternoon, Moore blasted the allegations as politically motivated.
“These allegations are completely false and misleading,” Moore said in a lengthy Hannity radio appearance. “But more than that it hurts me personally because I’m a father. I have one daughter. I have five grand-daughters. And I have a special concern for the protection of young ladies. This is really hard and I want to talk on radio and explain this: These allegations are completely false.”
Moore specifically said he does not know who Leigh Corfman, who accused him of sexual misconduct against her in the 1970s when she was just 14-years-old in the Washington Post report, is. This is the first time Moore has specifically addressed the individual allegations. Moore added:
I don’t know Ms. Corfman from anybody. I have never talked to her. I’ve never had any contact with her. The allegations of sexual misconduct with her are completely false. I believe they are politically motivated. I believe they are brought on me to stop a very successful campaign. And that’s what they’re doing. I have never known this woman or anything with regard to the other girls. And you understand this is 40 years ago, and after my return from the military I dated a lot of young ladies. I do recognize the names of two of the ladies, however, Debbie Wesson Gibson and Gloria Thacker—that’s their maiden name.
Moore also addressed the cases of two other accusers in the first segment on Hannity: Debbie Wesson Gibson and Gloria Thacker Deason. Moore says he remembers their names—but does not remember anything inappropriate with them.
Here is what the Washington Post reported regarding Gibson:
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.”
In Gibson’s case, on Hannity’s radio show, Moore denied any wrongdoing—and said he is not sure on some of the details of the Post report. Moore sai:
I do not remember speaking to a Civics Class. I do not remember that. I do not remember when we—I think I remember knowing her parents, that they were friends. I can’t remember specific dates, because it’s been 40 years. But I can remember her as a great girl, but neither of them have either stated any inappropriate behavior. She didn’t say anything.
He added he does not “remember specific dates.”
“I know her, but I don’t remember going out on dates,” Moore said. “If we did go out on dates, then we did—but I don’t remember that.”
Regarding Deason, here is what the Washington Post wrote about her allegations:
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.
Moore denies having bought her alcohol because, he says, Etowah County in Alabama was a dry county at the time. Moore said when Hannity asked about Deason’s allegations in the Post:
No, because in this county it was a dry county. We never would have had liquor. Believe this, she said she believed she was underage. As I recall, she was 19 or older. That just never happened. I never provided alcohol, beer or intoxicating liquor to a minor. That would be against the law to give anything—it was never done. I remember her as a good girl. I had some sort of knowledge of her parents, or her mother very in particular.
Here’s a relevant exchange from that portion of the interview:
HANNITY: At that time in your life—you do remember these girls—let me ask you this. Would it be unusual for you as a 32-year-old guy to have dated a woman as young as 17, that would be what a 15 year difference? Or 18? Do you remember dating girls that young at that time?”
MOORE: “Not generally, no. And if I did I’m not going to dispute anything or anything like that.”
HANNITY: “But you don’t specifically remember having any girlfriend that was in her teens even at that time?”
MOORE: “No, I don’t remember that and I don’t remember dating any girl without the permission of her mother. And I think in her statement, she said her mother actually encouraged her to go out with me.”
Moore also specifically denied outright the alleged incidents with Corfman, saying they never happened.
Here is what the Washington Post story accuses Moore of regarding Corfman:
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.
Here is the relevant transcript of that part of the interview with Hannity in which Moore denies it again outright:
HANNITY: “…Let me go back to Corfman for a minute here, because this is the issue here. She gives specific instances where you met her at the courthouse, you got her phone number, you talked to her on the phone, and that you drove her 30 minutes from her house to the woods where you lived and you kissed her and on a second visit you took her shirt, pants, removed her clothes, touched her bra, underpants and guided her hand to touch him over your underwear. Now, those are specific charges she’s making. And I think, obviously, it’s about a month away from this election campaign.”
HANNITY: “Is it your position that never happened?”
MOORE: “It never happened, and i don’t even like hearing it because it never happened. They’re doing this because we’re a month away, four weeks away, after 40 years in public service. I’ve run five successful campaigns, statewide campaigns, three in the county. This has never been brought up or even mentioned. And all of a sudden four weeks out, they’re bringing it up. They’re bringing it up because it’s political, because it’s a direct attack on this campaign and it involves a 14-year-old girl which I would have never had any contact with. Nothing with her mother or in the courthouse or nothing would I have done that. In fact, her allegations contradict the whole behavior pattern that the other—the two other ladies even witnessed herself.”
HANNITY: “You mentioned you never would go out with any young girl—I assume, you meant you were 32 at that time in your life. Would you always ask the permission of the parent before you would take a girl out?”
MOORE: “Well, I’m saying in their statements that they made, these two young girls they said their mothers actually encouraged them to be friends with me. That’s what they said. I don’t remember—I was not privy to their conversation. But obviously we never had any sexual activity, there was never anything like that. The behavior was always appropriate, according to them.”
All of this was in the first portion of Hannity’s multi-part interview with Judge Moore. More to come.