Roy Moore on defense as woman claims sexual encounter at 14

Roy Moore on defense as woman claims sexual encounter at 14

MONTGOMERY, AL (WSFA) - A woman says she had sexual contact with Roy Moore, the Alabama Republican nominee for U.S. Senate, when she was 14 years old, according to a Washington Post report.

According to the report, the encounter happened in 1979 when Moore was a 32-year-old assistant district attorney in Etowah County.

The woman, Leigh Corfman, says Moore met her several times and at one point drove her to his home where he touched her over her underwear and guided her hand to touch him over his, the Post reported. They did not have sexual intercourse, the Post said.

The Washington Post story says they interviewed three other women who said Moore asked them on dates. None of the women say Moore forced them into any sexual contact.

"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," the report states.

Two of the women, Debbie Wesson Gibson and Gloria Thacker Deason, said they stand by their statements that they dated Moore when they were 17 and 18 respectively.

In a written statement, Moore's campaign called the Washington Post report "completely false and a desperate political attack."

"Judge Roy Moore has endured the most outlandish attacks on any candidate in the modern political arena, but this story in today's Washington Post alleging sexual impropriety takes the cake.  National liberal organizations know their chosen candidate Doug Jones is in a death spiral, and this is their last-ditch Hail Mary," Moore's campaign said.

It's too late for Moore's name to be removed from the ballot, even if he wants to drop out. That's according to John Bennett, a spokesman for the Alabama secretary of state.

Bennett says the party and candidate can revoke the Republican's nomination, but his name would appear regardless because a key deadline has already passed. Bennett says in such a scenario, even if Moore earned more votes than the Democrat, the state canvassing board would declare the Democrat the winner.

Several senior Republicans called on Moore to quit the race after The Washington Post reported allegations of sexual misconduct.


Moore's campaign has put out multiple tweets

Moore's opponent Doug Jones' campaign said Thursday afternoon, "Roy Moore needs to answer these serious charges."

Gov. Kay Ivey said, "These allegations are deeply disturbing. I will hold judgment until we know the facts. The people of Alabama deserve to know the truth and will make their own decisions."

According to NBC News reporter Frank Thorp, U.S. Senate Majority Leader Mitch McConnell (R-KY) made the following statement about the story.

U.S. Senator Luther Strange (R-AL), whom Moore beat in a primary runoff, said "It's very, very disturbing what I've just read," as he came out of the U.S. Capitol. "I'll have more to say about it, I'm sure, after I learn more." He declined to say whether Moore should exit the race.

U.S. Senator Richard Shelby (R-AL)

U.S. Rep. Terri Sewell called the reports "deeply troubling".

U.S. Senator John McCain (R-AZ) said Moore should step aside.

The Senate Leadership Fund, which backed Sen. Strange over Moore in the primary, had this to say:

"If there is even a shred of evidence to these accusations, Gov. [Kay] Ivey and the Alabama Republican Party need to do everything in their power to remove Judge Moore from the ballot. There is no place in our party for sexual predators."

Republican Sen. Cory Gardner of Colorado said, "The allegations against Alabama Senate candidate Roy Moore are deeply troubling." Gardner chairs the Republican senatorial campaign committee. He adds, "If these allegations are found to be true, Roy Moore must drop out of the Alabama special Senate election."

Sens. Pat Toomey of Pennsylvania and Jeff Flake of Arizona echoed those comments, and No. 2 Senate Republican John Cornyn of Texas calls the report "deeply troubling."

Copyright 2017 WSFA 12 News. All rights reserved. The Associated Press contributed to this report.