Roy Moore

How Roy Moore Failed to Reassure Voters He Is Not a Sexual Predator

A hazy memory, self-contradiction, and dubious debunking efforts helped seal the GOP Senate candidate's fate.



Roy Moore lost the U.S. Senate race in Alabama last night by 1.5 points, less than the percentage of voters who picked write-in candidates. Add to those protests the Republicans who stayed home rather than cast their votes for a candidate tainted by accusations of sexual abuse, and it seems clear that Moore could have won, regardless of his guilt or innocence, if only he had offered a credible defense. But time after time, Moore's responses to the women who accused him of behavior ranging from creepy to criminal made him look shifty and desperate. Here are some of the ways he made his own denials hard to believe.

Faulty memory. Moore told Sean Hannity he did not "generally" date teenagers when he was a local prosecutor in his 30s but conceded that he may have done so from time to time. "If I did, I'm not going to dispute anything, but I don't remember anything like that," he said. Regarding Debbie Gibson, who told the The Washington Post she dated Moore when she was 17, he said, "I know her, but don't remember going out on dates. I knew her as a friend. If we did go out on dates, then we did." Theresa Jones, who worked with Moore in the Etowah County District Attorney's Office, told CNN, "It was common knowledge that Roy dated high school girls. Everyone we knew thought it was weird….We wondered why someone his age would hang out at high school football games and the mall."

Self-contradiction. A few weeks after telling Hannity he remembered Gibson and Gloria Deason, who told the Post she dated him when she was 18, Moore denied knowing either woman. "I do not know any of these women," he said in one campaign appearance. Two days later, he repeated this blanket denial: "I do not know any of these women, did not date any of these women, and have not engaged in any sexual misconduct with anyone." Moore went from saying he did not recall dating Gibson and Deason but may have done so to emphatically declaring that he did not date them and did not even know them.

In the case of Beverly Nelson, who accused Moore of forcibly fonding her when she was 16 after offering her a ride home from her job at a restaurant in Gadsden, he initially claimed he never met her. "I don't even know the woman," he said. "I don't know anything about her." Later Moore suggested that Nelson must be lying because she did not object when he presided over her divorce two decades after the alleged assault. "There was contact," Moore's lawyer said regarding the woman whom Moore had denied knowing. As it turned out, Moore's limited involvement in the divorce case probably did not require any direct contact with Nelson.

Dubious debunking. Moore's wife, Kayla Moore, shared a Facebook post claiming that the Olde Hickory House, the restaurant where Nelson said she repeatedly encountered Moore in 1977, did not exist until 24 years later. reporter William Thornton dug up a city directory listing and a newspaper ad showing that the restaurant was in business at least as early as 1978.

Moore's campaign said Leigh Corfman, who told the Post he fondled her when she was 14, lived a mile from the location where she said Moore picked her up for dates in 1979. The claim was based on an address where Corfman's mother said she and her daughter did not live until 1981. The Post found a property theft report confirming that Corfman still lived at the old address as of 1980.

The Moore campaign also cited a Breitbart report suggesting that Corfman could not have talked to Moore on the telephone from her bedroom, as she described, because she did not have a phone in her bedroom. But as the Post noted, "Both Leigh Corfman and her mother have said they had a phone on a long cord in the hallway that could be brought into the daughter's room, where the younger Corfman says she spoke with Moore."

Alabama Republicans who were inclined to vote for Moore, whether because they liked his positions or because they wanted to prevent erosion of the GOP's Senate majority, would have welcomed any reasonably credible assurance that they were not helping to elect a sexual predator. Moore conspicuously failed to give them that.

NEXT: Why Won't the FDA Let Me Shove Chocolate Up My Nose?

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  1. Sorry, Reason. I’ve already returned to my natural state of not giving a shit about who the senator from Alabama is.

    1. I just hope they keep letting Moore say things. His fuck-ups are the only thing keeping me going these days.

      1. Finally ran out of legal genres of porn to look at, huh?

  2. I can’t tell, did Moore lose because he’s a perv or not?

    1. He did and he didn’t, bruh. He did and he didn’t.

    2. Roy Moore didn’t do anything wrong that I would consider to be a big deal, but I am not interested in going to the feminist victim party.

    3. Moore hasn’t lost the election yet. Alabama has to certify the results and Moore can request a recount.

      The left does not care about whether Moore is a perv or not. They tested their strategy to accuse non-lefty politicians to win elections and it worked. They will be rinsing and repeating that strategy.

  3. Yeah, not getting the point of multiple articles of analysis about a bad candidate losing to another bad candidate.

    1. Because it worked, you’ll see a lot more of it during the 2018 general elections.

      1. 99.9% of all elections are one bad candidate defeating another bad candidate, so it’s nothing new.

        1. This one was an extreme version of that. “Very left-wing Democrat v theocrat” seems like a race where analysis is borderline pointless.

    2. Because it’s a joyous, celebratory occasion for the Block Yomommatard fugazi libertarians of Reason.

      It’s like Christmas (or Eid, or whatever pagan holiday they celebrate) came a couple of weeks early.

  4. It’s impossible to prove a negative particularly one decades old – “I didn’t touch her butt that time we were alone during the Carter Administration.” That’s what makes these kinds of acquisitions a potent tool I think we’ll see ever more of in important races.

    That kind of hearsay without evidence or corroboration doesn’t fly in court, but a willing media or Title IX college rape investigation will accept it. It’s the new substitute for debating ideas or evidence.

    1. Evidence and corroboration isn’t strictly video or DNA. In addition to all the women who accused him of assaulting them or dating them while they were in high school, there were a multitude of people who either knew Moore or knew the girls at the time that corroborated their stories and his pattern of behavior. Add in the first two points brought up in this article (admitting to the possibility that he dated some of them initially, later denying he never met any of them while contradicting himself) and you’re far from just hearsay.

      Voters don’t have to wait until something is proven in a court of law beyond a reasonable doubt before taking something into account. People make judgments all the time without such a process. Courts of law have the highest threshold for proof because the consequences of their decisions are so high. There’s nothing wrong with believing the multitude of stories about Moore are credible and judging him accordingly when it comes time to cast your vote.

      Also, it’d be easier to take this argument more seriously from conservatives if they were consistent about it – do they insist on court-proven evidence of wrongdoing before judging Democrat politicians?

      1. It is beyond reasonable doubt that Roy Moore is a heterosexual who is attracted to young girls. If he was queer or had his penis surgically removed, the same people would be describing him as being interesting and brave.

        1. “Liberals like gay people, so that means no one can have a problem with the 35 year old DA creeping on high school girls!”

          1. No, it means they shouldn’t be upset when someone is sexually liberal unless you can actually prove some kind of harm.

            That, or you’d need to explain why it is that the age of consent needs to be raised and why it was always set too low in the first place.

            Bonus points if you can figure out how it can be that socially liberal (although honestly that isn’t fair, since these are Progressives who are fundamentally religious in nature) has come to mean that this particular type of sex between consenting adults is morally repugnant.

  5. Clinton could have gotten away with it if only he didn’t try to hide it. He could have come out and admitted it, begged his wife’s forgiveness, and all would have been well. But he dragged his denial out to the point if impeachment.

    Roy Moore’s sin is denying that he is sinful. Even Jim Bakker begged for forgiveness, but Roy Moore continue to lie that he was sinless. He could ahve come out and admitted it. Nothing was actionable. Nothing was criminal. Creepy, but not criminal. But instead he used the Nixon copout and denied it. That was his downfall.

    1. Agree, and he could have thrown something in about putting his ” life in Jesus’ hands” when he hit his 40s.

    2. You have me convinced. Heterosexuality is creepy and old fashioned.

      1. #notallheterosexuals?

      2. The saying in the alt right is “old enough to bleed, old enough to breed”. But those of us outside your compound still think it’s creepy as fuck.

        The socially acceptable age difference for dating is: divide your own age by two and add seven. For a thirty year old Roy Moore, that would have been twenty two, not thirteen. Not even if it’s your first cousin.

        1. Can libertarians be for legalized homosexuality yet against the right of 16 year old girls who are technically at the age of consent to exercise those rights that they are explicitly granted?

          You won’t believe the answer!

          1. I think some people think it’s reasonable to expect a 16 year old girl to wait 2 years but unreasonable to expect a homosexual to stay celibate for a lifetime. Even so, you’re right about letting the 16 year old exercise her rights as written in the age of consent law at the time. People who never cared enough about the age of consent to try to raise it before the election suddenly felt outraged.

        2. I can see the logic of having an age of consent laws. Sex is like alcohol and tobacco. It is fun, but comes with some risks that a child might not be able to weigh. That being said, I’m won’t be a stanch advocate of age of consent laws now that I know France got by without them.

          Just to be the devil’s advocate, Hugh Hefner was 91 when he passed away this year. Your rule of thumb means he couldn’t date anyone under 52 at the end of his life. Forty years ago, he was 51, and the year was 1977. Your equation says he had to date women 32 and up that year. Do you really think Hugh Hefner wasn’t dating 20-something year old ladies during the 1970’s? Maybe we should say that age doesn’t matter once both partners are over 30. With that modification, you rules seems good, but it goes to show how it takes a bit of thought to make a good statutory rape law.

  6. We must stop the practice of re-electing anybody.

    1. Strict term limits plus immediate incarceration upon leaving office for all politicians, appointees, and bureaucrats, sentence commensurate with but not limited to time spent in office.

    2. And ending pensions for Congressmen. Some of them get $75,000 per year in pensions after leaving Congress.

  7. So this tribal bullshit is why congress sucks?

    1. Making Senators subject to popular vote, in hindsight, was a fucking idiotic move.

      1. And that’s like the eleventh amendment, so it’s no good anyway.

      2. Luckily, the Republicans almost have enough states to hold an Article V Constitutional convention.

        Returning our system to state Legislatures picking Senators would be in my top 10 changes to the Constitution.

  8. Regarding Debbie Gibson, who told the The Washington Post she dated Moore when she was 17

    Moore couldn’t Shake Her Love.

  9. “If we did go out on dates, then we did.”

    Even if it depends on what the meaning of the word “did” is?

    1. “And by ‘go out on dates’ i do mean ‘i made her touch my Lil’ Roy through my draws.'”

  10. In the end, he went the way of Al Franken.

  11. There’s so much less to read in the tea leaves here than people seem to think.

    The only significant thing that happened because Moore lost is that there is even more pressure on individual senators to toe the party line.

    I consider the progressives in the Democrat party leadership to be fundamentally hostile to individual rights, and I’d be happy to see them lose for that reason alone. In that spirit, I hope they take this loss by Moore to mean that the American public has just given them the green light to pursue their social justice agenda, fight for radical environmentalists, push for gun control, etc., and, especially, denigrate the white, blue collar, middle class as racist for being white, homophobic for being Christian, stupid for being blue collar, and selfish for being middle class.

    After all, that’s how the Democratic party painted themselves into this corner, where they’re only a party for states like California, Massachusetts and New York.

    Nothing has changed because Moore lost, but if the Democrats think things are different now, they should roll with that. Don’t hide your light under a bushel. Let is shine.

    1. about 5 moore articles ago Reason wrote something about how Jones winning wasn’t a mandate on his (left) policies. You might want to read it.

    2. Why don’t white working class Christians man the fuck up and stop whining so much. Jesus Christ.

      1. As opposed to the black working class Christians? Or the white working class jews? Or the Asian working class hindu’s?

        Who exactly should be whining?

      2. It’s official. Tony thinks black men are sissies when they complain about slavery or Columbus Day.

        1. Whoever the fuck you are confirms that you are an illiterate moron.

  12. You forgot Illinois. You forgot their war on pipelines, all 2.4 million miles of them.

  13. Innocent till accused of being “creepy”.

  14. Is it a crime to have sex with a legal adult?

    If you answered yes, congrats you’re a social conservative of some stripe.

  15. Reason, you are on better ground when you criticize his policies. But equating his alleged creepiness from decades ago with being a “sexual predator” is pretty hypocritical when you are usually so opposed to the label for adults who date teenagers and aren’t politicians you dislike.

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