Thursday, November 9, 2017

Roy Moore Child Abuse Allegations

It would be ideal if we all could soberly and objectively judge allegations based on evidence and how truthful we think the accuser and accused are being. That's difficult to do even in a court of law. It's almost impossible to do outside of it. This is especially the case when the time between the alleged crime and the reveal of the alleged crime has been years. So we shouldn't immediately believe the worst of people that we don't like for political reasons or even prejudicial ones. At the same time we shouldn't dismiss allegations against people that we do like or people who share certain immutable characteristics with us. It can be true that victims can wait for years to speak out for valid and understandable reasons. It can also be the case that people make accusations that aren't true. My automatic belief of an accuser's story is limited to my relatives, loved ones or people that I know pretty well. With other people having some evidence besides their word is a good thing. In cases where the alleged crime is long past I want to know if the alleged victim told someone about the crime at the time it occurred or made a change in his or her behavior. If that happened then I'm more likely to believe them. Abuse of a child is one of the most heinous crimes out there. There is nothing to excuse it. And yet we excuse things like that all of the time. There are too many musicians to name who have had "consensual" relationships with groupies under the age of consent. There are some filmmakers who have sexually assaulted people. We still recognize their artistic talent. Maybe that's starting to change? Or maybe this breaking news is all a conspiracy. That's certainly what some will believe.

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. 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.”


It is unfortunate that how many of us think about these allegations will almost certainly be colored by how we think of the politically reactionary Roy Moore. It is even more "unfortunate" that some men (or women for that matter) find themselves unwilling to live within the constraints of the law when it comes to the age of their sexual partners. Age of consent ranges from 16 to 18 in the United States. Adults should be able to abide by that. And if they can't they ought to go to jail for a little more than a minute. I don't know whether Moore did these things or not. I do know that there is a special election on December 12 for an Alabama Senate seat. Will voters in Alabama think that this is a media smear of a good Christian man or will they recoil in horror from a child molester. We'll just have to wait and see. I don't want to live in a world where accusations equal proof. I also don't want to live in a world where adults are getting away with molesting children.

What's your take?

blog comments powered by Disqus