Alabama Republican Senate candidate Roy Moore on Friday emphatically denied sexually abusing a 14-year-old girl — or even ever meeting her.
Under fire after The Washington Post reported Leigh Corfman’s allegations that he undressed her in 1979, Moore told radio-show host Sean Hannity that the allegations are false.
"I don't know Ms. Corfman from anybody," he said. "I've never talked to her. I've never had any contact with her — allegation of sexual misconduct with her are completely false."
Moore seemed hazier about other allegations in the Post story that as a prosecutor in the late 1970s, he dated teenagers, albeit teenagers who were above the legal age of consent.
"I don't remember that. I don't remember ever dating any girl without the permission of her mother," he said.
Asked if he would have dated girls in their late teens when he was in his 30s, Moore said that would be inappropriate.
"It would be out of my customary behavior," he said.
Moore said he would never have sexual contact with a minor.
"These allegations are completely false and misleading, but more than that, it hurts me personally because, you know, I'm a father. I have one daughter. I have five granddaughters," he said. "And I have a special concern for the protection of young ladies. This is, this is really hard to get on radio and explain this, as these allegations are just completely false."
The allegations against Moore have created chaos in a special election race to replace Jeff Sessions, who gave up his seat earlier this year to become President Donald Trump's attorney general. The election is December 12.
Moore had enjoyed an 11-point lead over Democrat Doug Jones in a Fox 10/Strategy Research poll a month ago. A snap poll commissioned by Decision Desk HQ and conducted Thursday by the firm Opinion Savvy, suggests the race now is a dead heat.
Moore blamed his political opponents.
"I believe they're politically motivated," he said. "I believe they're brought only to stop a very successful campaign, and that's what they're doing. I've never known this woman or anything."
Moore told Hannity that he was investigating the allegations against him.
"We have some evidence of some collusion here, but we're not ready to put that to the public just yet," he said.
News reports offered some evidence that Moore supporters have seized on in support of that view. Deborah Wesson Gibson, one of the women quoted in the Post story, provided sign language interpretation for Democrat Hillary Clinton's 2016 presidential campaign. Photos have emerged showing her with former Vice President Joe Biden and other prominent Democrats.
Gibson told The Post that she went on several dates with Moore when she was 17 after Moore spoke to her high school civics class. She told The Post that it never progressed beyond kissing.
Moore told Hannity that he does not remember talking to a high school civics class. He said he recognizes the name of Gibson and one of the other women quoted. But he said he never did anything inappropriate with them and never provided alcohol to a minor, as one of them said.
"With regards to the other girls, you understand this is 40 years ago and after my return from the military," he said. "I dated a lot of young ladies."
He added: "I don't remember ever dating any girl without the permission of her mother."
The allegations have caused massive fallout. Several national Republicans have withdrawn their endorsements of Moore, and others have said he should drop out of the race if the accusations are true. Republicans in Alabama have researched state law to try to determine whether he could be replaced on the ballot. Others have mulled recruiting a prominent Republican to mount a write-in campaign.
Moore said it is all an attempt by Jones to distract from his own record.
"He's very liberal," he said. "They don't want to talk about his record. They don't want to talk about his inexperience."
Last Modified: November 11, 2017, 10:06 pm