AP FACT CHECK: Moore’s flip on whether he knows accusers
MONTGOMERY, Ala. (AP) — Alabama Republican Senate candidate Roy Moore has given contradictory accounts about knowing women who say Moore pursued them romantically when they were teenagers and he was in his 30s.
Moore’s Senate campaign has been roiled by accusations that he sexually assaulted a 14 and a 16 year old when he was a deputy district attorney in his 30s and dated, or tried to date, several other women between the ages of 16 and 18. Moore has denied the assault and misconduct allegations, but made conflicting statements about dating teens as a man in his 30s.
WHAT MOORE INITIALLY SAID:
In a Nov. 10 radio interview with Sean Hannity, Moore said he remembered two of the women, Debbie Wesson Gibson and Gloria Deason, who were 17 and 18 at the time. He said he remembered both of them but didn’t remember dating them. Asked by Hannity if he generally dated teenagers as a man in his 30s, Moore replied. “Not generally, no. If I did, you know, I’m not going to dispute anything, but I don’t remember anything like that.” Asked if he remembered having a girlfriend in her late teens while he was in his 30s, Moore replied, “I don’t remember that, and I don’t remember ever dating any girl without the permission of her mother.”
WHAT MOORE SAID LAST WEEK:
Moore said twice last week in campaign stops that he did not “know any of these women.” He did not list their names but at one stop said their faces were appearing on his opponent’s advertisements. Democrat Doug Jones has run advertisements with the photos of all of the women who have accused Moore.
“These allegations are completely false. They’re malicious. Specially, I do not know any of these women, nor have I ever engaged in sexual misconduct with anyone,” Moore said in a campaign stop in Henagar, Alabama.
At a campaign stop in Theodore, Moore said, “Let me state once again: 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.”
WHAT HIS ACCUSERS SAID:
The Washington Post , which reported the initial allegations against Moore, said Gibson has a card she said Moore signed congratulating her on graduating high school. Gibson said she dated Moore when she was 17 and that he asked her out after speaking to her high school civics class. Gibson showed a handwritten notation in a memory book about their first date in 1981 before she graduated high school. She wrote they went to Catfish Cabin and that it was “great,” underlined twice.
“He called me a liar,” Gibson, who had campaigned for Moore during one of his early runs for local judge, told the newspaper. “Roy Moore made an egregious mistake to attack that one thing — my integrity.”
Paula Corbia, an attorney representing Deason, who said Moore dated her when she was 18, told the newspaper that Deason has vivid memories of dating Moore, down to restaurants they went to and a dress she wore.
Moore has consistently denied an accusation by Leigh Corfman, who said Moore touched her sexually when she was 14.
Corfman in a letter provided to The Associated Press and al.com, responded to Moore’s denials and wrote that Moore should “stop calling me a liar and attacking my character.”
“I am telling the truth, and you should have the decency to admit it and apologize,” Corfman wrote.
WHAT HIS CAMPAIGN SAID:
A campaign spokeswoman said Monday that when Moore said “any” he only meant the women who had accused him of sexual assault.
“Roy Moore already said he knew Debbie Wesson and her family but did not recall any formal dates. Furthermore, when he stated that he did not know any of the women, he was referring to those who accused him of sexual assault,” Moore spokeswoman Hannah Ford said.
Moore had previously issued an open letter to Hannity saying he never dated “underage” women. The letter did not define underage. A campaign spokeswoman declined to clarify, saying the judge’s words spoke for themselves.
Find AP Fact Checks at https://apnews.com/tag/APFactCheck