UPDATED – Roy Moore this afternoon denied all claims by a woman who said she had inappropriate sexual contact with him when she was 14 years old and he was 32.
“These allegations are completely false and misleading,” Moore said during an interview on the Sean Hannity radio show this afternoon. “I don’t know Miss Corfman from anybody,” he said. “I never talked to her, never had contact with her.”
Leigh Corfman in a series of interviews with the Washington Post said she and her mother were approached by Moore, then an assistant district attorney in Gadsden, while they were sitting in the county courthouse waiting for a custody hearing. The meeting sparked a series of rendezvous, Corfman told the Post. She alleges that in one of those meetings, Moore removed her shirt and pants and removed his own clothes, then guided her hand to touch him over his underwear.
Three other women, teenagers at the time, also said they were approached by Moore for dates, but those dates never went beyond kissing, the Post reported.
During the interview, Moore repeatedly pointed out that the allegations were being made 40 years after the fact and just weeks away from the special Senate election.
“This never happened,” he said. “They know it never happened, and … you don’t bring out things like this 40 years later.’
Moore said the allegations were false and “meant to defrock my campaign.”
Fallout from the accusations continued Friday, the day after the Washington Post published the reports.
The National Republican Senatorial Committee ended its fundraising agreement with Moore because of the allegations, the Associated Press reported. The group had been part of a fundraising committee that included the Alabama Republican Party and the Republican National Committee.
Two U.S. senators publicly withdrew their endorsements of Moore, and former presidential candidate Mitt Romney said he believed Corfman’s story, according to the Los Angeles Times.
“Innocent until proven guilty is for criminal convictions, not elections,” Romney said on Twitter, calling Corfman’s account “too serious to ignore.”
The New York Times also reported that Republican senators were trying to distance themselves from Moore. The paper said there was a “flurry” of calls, emails and texts discussing the possibilities for a write-in candidate, a delay in the Dec. 12 election so another candidate could be placed on the ballot, or even not seating Moore if he were to be elected.
In Alabama, the state’s Republican leadership remained largely silent on the issue Friday. Other Republican officeholders in the state took up for Moore, saying they found allegations concerning events from 40 years ago suspect.
Doug Jones, the Democratic candidate in the Senate race, told AL.com that his campaign “had no knowledge whatsoever” about the allegations that had been raised.
Investigating the Accusations
In the Friday radio interview, Moore told Hannity he’s conducting his own investigation concerning the allegations being made against him, but he is not ready to release those results. He did not say specifically what he was investigating.
Moore said he did recognize the names of two of the other women quoted by the Post, Debbie Wesson Gibson and Gloria Thacker Deason. But he said he doesn’t remember dating either of them. “I knew her as a friend,” Moore said of one of the women. “If we did go out on dates, then we did. But I don’t remember that.”
At the time the incidents were alleged to have occurred, Moore said, he was newly home from the military and he was dating. But he said he doesn’t recall dating anyone under the age of 18, and he said he would not have dated a young woman without the consent of her mother. He said he would never have provided alcohol to an underage girl, as one of the women alleged.
Under questioning from Hannity, Moore agreed that no one who abuses a 14-year-old should be a Senate candidate, and he agreed it would be inappropriate for a 32-year-old man to date a 17- or 18-year-old.
But Moore said that, if candidates were going to step aside when they were the target of untrue allegations, they shouldn’t bother to run at all because that kind of thing is going to happen.
Read full coverage on the story:
Alabama Republicans Defend Roy Moore: ‘It Was More Than 40 Years Ago.’ (New York Times)
NRSC Ends Fundraising Agreement With Roy Moore (Associated Press)
For Alabama Women, Disgust, Fatigue and a Sense Moore Could Win Anyway (New York Times)
Alabama Poll: Moore and Jones Tied Following Scandal (The Hill)
Sexual Molestation Allegation Puts Alabama Senate Seat in Play as Moore’s GOP Support Fades (Los Angeles Times)
‘I Believed in His Christian Values:’ Residents of Roy Moore’s Hometown React to Allegations (Washington Post video)
Should He Stay or Should He Go? The Reason Republicans Can’t Quite Ditch Roy Moore Yet (Washington Post)
Doug Jones: ‘No Knowledge Whatsoever’ Ahead of Story Alleging Sexual Misconduct by Roy Moore (AL.com)