The Saga of Judge Roy Moore
As anyone who’s been paying the slightest attention to the media lately know, Judge Roy S, Moore, the controversial, devout Christian (Baptist) Alabama judge running as the Republican nominee for the Senate seat vacated by Attorney General Jeff Sessions has been “accused” of “sexual misconduct” (whatever that is) by a number of women in their 50s and 60s. They claim that when they were teenagers and in their early twenties, Judge Moore, who was not a judge back then, did something sexual to them. In most of the claims, all the judge did was take them out on dates or ask them out, with the impropriety being that Moore was considerably older than they, by as much as eighteen years in one alleged case. Now, with one possible exception, the difference in ages was not illegal and, in fact, by historical standards, wasn’t even unusual. Since the “allegations” came out in an article published in the Washington Post a few days after the D.C. paper came out condemning Judge Moore as “unfit for office” (they said the same thing about Donald Trump) numerous commentators have referred to Moore as a “much older” man, when, in fact, at the time of the allegations, he was actually a young man in his very early thirties and the women were in their teens and twenties. The original “accusations,” which really aren’t accusations of anything, were that three women went out on dates with Moore while another said that he had asked her out but she declined because her mother wouldn’t let her go. The first woman claimed that she went with Moore to “his house” twice and that the second time they engaged in what can only be classified as “petting,” and that at the time, she was possibly underage. (I say possibly because she alleges that she was fourteen at the time and the age of consent in Alabama today is 16. No one seems to know what it was in 1977, when she claims she went with Moore.) A fifth accuser went to notorious Democratic Party activist Gloria Allred to claim that Moore assaulted her in his car. Another jumped on the bandwagon and made no allegation other than that she claims Moore pestered her for dates and that she “got him banned from the mall” where she worked – she was in her twenties. Since then, another woman, one of Roy Moore’s clients, claims he “grabbed my butt.”
Before we get into this, bear in mind that these claims came out a month before the Alabama special election in which Judge Moore is the Republican candidate. That alone makes the claims extremely suspicious. The judge has held office in Alabama for 40 years and has made untold numbers of political enemies, not only in Alabama, but throughout the nation and in the media, because of his strong stands on legal issues. His national notoriety dates back to when he was sued by the ACLU for displaying a wooden placard of the Ten Commandments in his courtroom, but his local notoriety in Etowah County, Alabama where he grew up started soon after he began practicing law when he spoke out against the way local attorneys and judges were handling the courts. Animosity toward him increased when he ran for circuit judge and made accusations against the attorneys and the judges. Claims were made against him to the state bar association. His name became well known in the county and there was stiff opposition to him. It is also during this period that the claims made by the women are supposed to have occurred. Furthermore, the claims all date back to the late 1970s and very early 1980s, with one exception, the one made by his later client, which dates to the 1990s.
The earliest – in terms of when the incident is supposed to have occurred – was made by one Beverly Young Nelson, who claims that Moore offered her a ride home from the restaurant where she worked, sometime after December 1977, then assaulted her in his car. Nelson’s claim is suspect because she was not one of the women interviewed by the Washington Post reporters; instead, she engaged notorious lawyer and Democratic Party activist Gloria Allred to represent her and made her claim in a dramatic press conference in New York City, obviously for political purposes. Now, Nelson and Moore are residents of Alabama, the allegations are set in Alabama, and any court action would have to be filed there, which raises the question of whether Allred is even licensed to practice law there. (In fact, complaints against Allred have been made in California and she is under investigation by the California Bar.) There are holes in Nelson’s story. For one thing, she claims Moore locked the car doors so she couldn’t get out. Unless his vehicle had electric locks, which is doubtful in early 1978, he would have had to reach across in front of her or she would have had to raise up so he could reach behind her to lock the door. (Nelson says his car was a 2-door. She also says she thinks it was “older” which makes it unlikely to have had electric locks.) Furthermore, the purpose of door locks is to lock the doors so they can’t be opened FROM THE OUTSIDE! Most car doors are unlocked from the inside simply by pulling the handle. There is also the question of why she let Moore drive her home. She says she was waiting for her boyfriend to come and pick her up, but he was running late. Why didn’t she want to wait a few minutes? She says he showed up a few minutes after the alleged assault. She claims she had bruises and her clothes would have undoubtedly been disheveled but her boyfriend seems not to have noticed. Members of her own family have said the story is made up. Her stepson says she is not an honest woman and is out for money. A former boyfriend who knew her then has told the media he doesn’t believe her. A woman who worked at the barbecue joint Nelson claims she worked at says that she worked there three years from 1977-80 and never saw Roy Moore in the place – Nelson claimed he was a regular who ate there every night and always sat in the same chair. (Now, bear in mind that Moore lived in the country some 25 miles or so by road from Gadsden. It’s extremely unlikely he would have been in the restaurant at the time Nelson claims the assault occurred.) Nelson claims that Moore pulled her head toward his crotch. She also says he was trying to get her shirt off while he was trying to get her to his crotch, but then says he let her go. Now, bear in mind that none of the other “accusers” mention any kind of assault or threats. In fact, except for Leigh Corfman, none of the women interviewed by the Washington Post mention any kind of sexual contact other than kissing at all. Nelson claims she never told anyone because she was afraid Moore would do something to hurt her or her family. She says she didn’t tell her boyfriend because he had a violent temper and she was afraid he would do something. Regardless, there is no way Nelson’s allegations can ever be proven. They are alleged to have occurred 39 years ago and the statute of limitations have long since expired.
Leigh Corfman alleges that she went out with Roy Moore twice when she was fourteen years of age. She claims that she met Moore in 1979 in the Gadsden County courthouse when she went there with her mother, who had filed suit to give up custody because the girl had behavior problems (although Corfman doesn’t mention that in her account.) She claims that she and her mother were waiting to go into the courtroom when Moore came over and offered to stay with her outside the courtroom. Now, this doesn’t make sense (although her mother has corroborated the story.) Corfman was fourteen years old, an adolescent, not a child. Why would a 14-year old need someone to wait with them in the foyer of a courthouse? She claims that she gave Moore her telephone number and asked him to call her. She claims that she’d slip out of the house and meet him on a street corner near her house. She says that she went out with Moore at least twice, and that he took her to “his house” on both occasions. Now, at that time – and for years afterward – Moore was living in a mobile home, a trailer, he had purchased while he was in the Army on 16 acres of land in the Gallant community west of Gadsden, where Corfman was living with her mother. In 1979, he was in the process of adding-on to the trailer to make it into a house but it wasn’t until 1982 that it resembled a house. In fact, when he and his wife first married in 1985 she had to cook in an electric skillet in the washroom because he hadn’t built a kitchen (and didn’t for at least a year after their marriage.) Corfman remembers that the “house” was up a gravel road but makes no mention of him living in a trailer.
Bear in mind that Moore’s trailer was at least 25 miles from Gadsden where Corfman lived, one way. He would have had to drive around 50 miles, at least, to take her to his house then take her home. It would have taken them at least half an hour to get from her house to his and another half hour to get back, but she makes no mention of this in her accounts. For her to have gone to Moore’s trailer, she would have had to have been gone from home a minimum of an hour, not counting the time she spent there. Where the hell was her mother? Her mother had just gone to court to give custody to her father because she couldn’t handle her. Wouldn’t she have been curious, at least, to know where her daughter had been? If she wasn’t home, why did Corfman go somewhere else to meet Moore? She claims that the first time they went there, they did some kissing but then says that the second time, he put his hand on her breast – over her bra. She also says he went in the bedroom and took off his clothes then came out in his underwear. This doesn’t make sense. Why would a man leave a hot girl on the floor of his living room to go to his bedroom to take off his clothes? No, he would have either taken his pants and shirt (that’s all he took off) there in the living room where they were making out or would have taken her into the bedroom. In fact, a man would have removed the girl’s clothes first. Now, this sounds more like something a high school boy would do, not a 32-year old man! Or, from a Harlequin Romance.
There is a strong possibility that Corfman may have concocted a fantasy about Roy Moore after he talked to her and her mother at the courthouse. She said in her appearance on the Today Show that she read a lot of romance novels. Now, I’ve read a few over the years, although not recently. One of the topics of romance novels is of a young woman meeting an exciting older man and being swept off her feet while her bodice heaves. Corfman was a disturbed young teenager whose parents had been divorced for five years. She admits she lived in a fantasy world and that when she was going out with Roy Moore, she was experiencing a fantasy of being in the adult world. Now she says she was a child but she evidently considered herself an adult at the time. There is a very thin wall between fantasy and reality and our memories often concoct fantasies we later remember as real. For example, for years I believed a certain experience had happened to me while I was in the Air Force. I believed it and even wrote about it but then it occurred to me that what I was “remembering” was actually the image that came in my mind at the time one of my friends was telling about something had happened to him. I also sometimes have dreams about relationships I had with young women before my first marriage and between my marriages. I eventually realized that these women only exist in my dreams. They are not real. Leigh Corfman’s recollections of her relationship with Roy Moore may only exist in her imagination.
There is something important in the Corfman account – if her allegations are true, their actions were consensual. She says that on both occasions, when she became uncomfortable and told him to stop and take her home, he did. The only illegality was her age. She was younger than the age of consent as expressed in the Alabama Code of 1975 (the code still in force in Alabama.) However, she makes no insinuation that she had intercourse with Moore. Neither do any of the other women who have made the news. However, since Corfman was under the age of 16 and Moore was older than 19, he would have been guilty of sexual abuse in the second degree.
Corfman has some credibility issues for a number of reasons. First, she was a child of divorce, which causes problems for many children. (I know all about this – I had four children at the time of my divorce and it was very hard on them.) Corfman has admitted both to being involved with drugs – which affect the brain – and promiscuity. She was involved in a number of questionable activities as a teenager and as an adult and claims to have attempted suicide at age 16. Since her mother gave up custody to her father due to the girl’s disobedience, she was obviously already having problems before she met Moore. She is alleged to have made allegations against other prominent men – particularly pastors – and she may have actually been as old as seventeen at the time she claims to have been involved with Moore. She says she told people about the incident but her mother has said she didn’t tell her until ten years later, after Moore had become a circuit court judge. One of her friends claims Corfman told her she was going out with an older man and the woman says she warned her it wasn’t a good idea. Regardless of who she told, the fact remains that there is no case against Judge Moore – Corfman has allegations but that’s all, and the only place those allegations will be heard is in the media.
There are also problems with the time frame of Corfman’s claim. According to court records, her mother was in court to give up custody to her father because she had discipline problems. The court proceedings were on February 21, 1979, a Wednesday. The order stated that she was to be placed in the custody of her father, who lived in Ohatchee, a community some 15 miles south of Gadsden, on March 4, a Sunday. Corfman claimed that Moore called her at her mother’s and that she slipped out of the house and went to meet him on a street corner – which may have been more than a mile a from the house and on the other side of a major thoroughfare. She claims he took her to his house twice. There is only a 12-day window for Corfman’s proceedings with Moore to have occurred (actually 10, since she was at the courthouse on the first day and moved to her father’s house on the twelfth.) She did not mention that she left her mother’s home and moved in with her father. She say that when Moore called, she made excuses but never mentioned that she had moved, which would have been a logical reason for the relationship to have ended.
The third accuser is a woman named Tina Johnson who was 28 years old at the time of her allegation, which is supposed to have occurred sometime in the 1990s. She and her mother had hired Moore to represent them in her effort to relinquish custody of her 12-year old son (which means she was 16 when she had him) to her mother because she lacked the means to support him. She claims that as she and her mother were leaving his office, Moore grabbed one of her cheeks. Yet, she never told her mother and continued to use Moore in the case. I suspect that she just wanted to get on the #MeToo bandwagon.
None of the other “accusations” are actually accusations at all. Two are women who admit to going out on dates with Moore. All were in their teens but over the age of consent. One claims she met Moore when she was fourteen and that he asked her out two years later but she didn’t go because her mother wouldn’t let her. One, who was eighteen at the time, says that Moore took her to a pizza parlor and ordered a bottle of Matuese Rose, a popular Portuguese wine, even though she was under twenty-one. (She doesn’t seem to say that she drank any.) Then there is another, one Becky Gray, who apparently just wanted to get on the bandwagon. She was in her twenties when she claims she knew Moore, and working in a store in the Gadsden Mall. She claims that Moore asked her out several times and she complained to the store manager that he was bothering her. However, she makes no claim of sexual impropriety. She claims she “got Roy Moore banned from the mall” but the fact is, according to the mall manager, he was never banned from the mall at all. That he was banned from the mall is apparently a rumor started by mall workers who had seen him there then when he quit appearing – because he had left the area – they thought he had been banned. Bear in mind that this was during the time when Roy Moore was engaged in a bitter dispute with local attorneys and a campaign for county judge, which he ended up losing, and there was a lot of animosity against him. There can be no doubt that a lot of stories were being spread about him by his opponents (just as there are now.) Some Gadsden residents claim that Moore had a reputation for trying to pick up teenage girls at the mall, but no woman has come forward claiming he tried to pick her up except the one woman who worked in a store, and she was in her twenties. A former police officer, a woman, told a TV commentator that while there were rumors about Moore, no one ever made a complaint. She said it “was all rumor.” There is also the question of whether Moore was even going to the mall at all because at the time residents claim he was, he was engaged in building his house when he wasn’t at work as a prosecuting attorney. (This raises another issue – the kids no doubt knew that if they got in trouble, Moore would prosecute them.) Moore was living in a mobile home on sixteen acres of land he had purchased in Gallant, a small rural community some 15 miles west of Gadsden. Gallant is one of those places “you can’t get to from here,” By road, the distance appears to have been at least 25 miles just to Gadsden and the Gadsden Mall is south of town and even further from Moore’s home. Considering that he was busy building his house, it’s doubtful he’d have had time to spend at the mall.
There are some things about the current controversy that really upset me. Certain segments of the media and some politicians are branding Judge Moore as a “pedophile” and “child molester.” In fact, even if the stories about him were true, Moore would not be a pedophile. Pedophilia is sexual attraction to prepubescent children. None of the women who have made claims regarding Judge Moore were prepubescent. Even Leigh Corfman, the youngest, was older than fourteen and even if she was below the age of consent (to engage in sexual intercourse, which neither she or any of the other women have claimed occurred), she was still an adolescent and no longer a child. Pundits also refer to Moore as a “sexual predator” when, in fact, no sex is alleged to have occurred. Nelson claims Moore forced her head to his crotch but then says he “gave up” and let her go – and her account isn’t even believed by some of her own family members and friends. Critics also insinuate that the fact that Moore went out on dates with women still in their teens is somehow sordid. In fact, romantic relationships between older men and teenage women has been common throughout history. Texas Governor Sam Houston married Margaret Lea when she was 21 and he was 47; they had been romantically involved for 2 years before their marriage. Abraham Lincoln was nine years older than his wife Mary Todd. Mark Twain was ten years older than his wife Olivia. When my parents married in January 1943, my mother had just turned 19 and my father was a few weeks short of his thirtieth birthday. I have a photograph of my great-grandfather, a Methodist preacher, taken with his daughter on her wedding day – she was thirteen and entering a marriage that would last for more than half a century. I myself am almost twenty years older than my current wife – we’ve been married for seventeen years – and I was six years older than my first wife, to whom I was married for eighteen years. No, relationships between women and men many years older than they are is not at all uncommon. In fact, many girls are married in their early to mid teens, usually to men several years older than themselves.
Something also needs to be understood about the time frame of the allegations. The 1970s and 1980s were a turbulent and confusing time for young people. The so-called “Sexual Revolution” had started in the 1960s (or before) and was in full swing through the 1970s and into the 1980s. It was a permissive time, with sex as the focal point. Movies included sex scenes that wouldn’t have been thought of a generation before. Abortion became legal in 1973 and birth control was becoming common. Drug use had become rampant, with young people whose parents had thought beer was exciting smoking pot and taking other, more powerful, illicit drugs to get high. Leigh Corfman has admitted to having been a drug user – and promiscuous – as a teenager.
Roy Moore, on the other hand, had become a devout Christian at a young age then after graduating from high school had gone off to the US Military Academy at West Point, New York where he spent four years in a generally isolated, heavily disciplined environment. After graduation, he went to Germany for two years then straight to Vietnam, where the US was in the process of disengaging from a war that had become unpopular and where the remaining troops had become an undisciplined rabble. Although he had been an infantry officer, in Vietnam the young Captain Moore was put in command of a company of military police whose duties were to guard the stockade at Da Nang. Even though they were supposed to be in charge of disciplining miscreant soldiers, the men of Moore’s company were ill disciplined and resentful of him because he sought to restore the discipline he found lacking. His men resented him and he was fearful of being “fragged,” a practice that had become all too common in Vietnam. “Fragging” meant tossing a fragmentation grenade into the hooch of a hated officer or sergeant. One of Moore’s men fragged the company top sergeant but, fortunately, the man lived and recovered from his wounds. The culprit had announced that he was going to frag Moore, leading the captain to sleep outside of his hooch. There are rumors being spread about Judge Moore’s conduct as an Army officer. One claim is that he made his men salute, and thus violated a military precept about saluting when in the presence of the enemy. Well, Moore’s company wasn’t in the presence of the enemy. He was commander of a rear area MP company in charge of the stockade. Saluting is a military courtesy and, yes, soldiers, sailors and airmen saluted officers in rear areas such as Da Nang. How do I know this? Because I spent over four years of my life of which a good portion was in South Vietnam. After returning to an assignment at Fort Riley, Kansas, the young officer served out his military commitment then resigned his commission and returned to Alabama where he enrolled at the University of Alabama School of Law. Fresh out of the Army and a Vietnam veteran, Moore found himself among a crowd that had protested the war and hated the military, and the veterans who had served. His professors and some of his classmates ridiculed him. Nevertheless, he graduated and passed the bar, apparently on the first try, then returned to his home in Etowah County to practice law.
Just what Roy Moore’s relationships with women had been during his years at West Point and in the Army are unknown. He doesn’t discuss relationships with any women prior to his wife in his memoir. He did have female friends when he was in law school but whether or not he was close to any of them is unknown. He came back to the Gadsden area after having been away for twelve years. His female high school friends had most likely married or moved away, as is common in small towns and rural areas. He was thirty years old and it’s doubtful there were any single women around town his age so, naturally, his attention would have been directed towards younger women, some of whom were in their teens. Another Gadsden attorney believes he was behind in social development. However, it is a long stretch to say that he “preyed” on teenagers even though he apparently did go out on dates with at least two women in their late teens. However, there is nothing illegal about this as the age of consent in Alabama was sixteen. Moore says that he never went out with a young woman without her parent’s approval. Moore has been criticized for going to high school basketball games but it’s important to remember that he had four younger brothers and sisters as well as other younger relatives. Furthermore, except for Corfman and Nelson, neither of whom mention the mall, no women have accused Moore of sexual impropriety. If he was hanging out at the mall to prey on teenagers, there would have been accusations.
The rumor that Moore was “banned from the mall” is likely due to him leaving the Gadsden area after his loss in the Democratic Primary for the circuit judge position. In those days, primaries were usually held in August. He says he entered the race in June 1982. He had resigned from his position as deputy district attorney and the campaign had caused most of the local attorneys and judges to turn against him. He decided to take a break. While at West Point, Moore had taken up boxing and had lettered in the sport. He organized a boxing tournament in his company in Vietnam and took on all-comers, and won most of the bouts. He was interested in the Oriental sport, karate and decided to take his remaining funds and travel to Galveston, Texas to study the sport under Ishmael Robles, a champion competitor and instructor. He found work on construction crews to support himself while he spent nine months studying the sport. (He entered competitions after he returned to Alabama and seems to have won many of them.) After working his way through the various belts, he decided to leave Galveston and the country and travel to Australia. He had planned to go there on R&R from Vietnam but because his unit was transferred back to the States as part of President Richard Nixon’s de-escalation of the war, R&R trips to Australia were discontinued. Moore spent a year in Australia traveling around and working, including several months on a “small” 52,000-acre station (ranch) in the Australian Outback. Local kids who hung out at the mall didn’t see Moore, not because he had been banned, but because he had left the area. In 1985, Moore returned to Alabama and opened his own office with another attorney and friend. Soon after his return, he met his future wife and was married within a year. He was 38, his new wife Kala was 24.
One thing that has disgusted me is how certain “establishment” Republicans jumped all over Judge Moore without even considering that the accusations against him are politically motivated. I used to live in Kentucky and met Mitch McConnell a few times. I used to hold him in high regard, as I did John McCain, but they’re both disappointments, as is Lindsay Graham. McConnell and Graham are both Baptists, as is Judge Moore, but they seem to be Sunday morning Christians rather than true believers. Ted Cruz, who is a hypocrite if there ever was one, also came out against Moore. My other Senator, John Cornyn, withdrew his endorsement of Judge Moore. Personally, I am very upset with these men, all of whom seem to be more concerned with keeping Moore out of the Senate than with giving him the benefit of the doubt in what is obviously a politically motivated action against him. They were eager to throw him to the wolves, but as he’s been doing all his life, Judge Moore is not going down. The most recent poll, of more than 11,000 people, shows him with a 6-point lead over his opponent in spite of the allegations.
There has been a new development in this situation. Since I began this missive, Moore’s Democratic opponent has been running an online ad calling Moore an “abuser” and listing the names of the nine women who have made claims about him. Since the women would have had to approve the use of their names, this ad proves that there claims are political. They have shown themselves as political whores.