In a saga that seems to get worse by the hour, the past 24 hours haven’t gotten any better for Alabama republican Senate candidate, Roy Moore – and chances are, the next 24 won’t either.
Last Thursday, The Washington Post broke a story in which four women alleged that Roy Moore groped, kissed, and initiated unwanted contact with them when they were teenagers in the late 1970s and early 1980s. The women all said that Moore asked them out on dates while serving as an assistant district attorney in Gadsden, Alabama.
Four more women came forward Wednesday afternoon with similar allegations against Roy Moore – two more in the Washington Post and two in The Birmingham News.
Leigh Corfman, Wendy Miller, Debbie Wesson Gibson, Gloria Thacker Deason, Beverly Young Nelson, Tina Johnson, Kelly Harrison Thorp, Gena Richardson, and Becky Gray all have one thing in common – they each allege that Roy Moore touched or made unwanted sexual advances towards them.
Of the four, the youngest at the time, Leigh Corfman says she was 14 in 1979 when Moore, then 32, undressed her, groped her, and had her touch him, though they did not have intercourse. The age of consent in Alabama at the time was 16 years old.
“I felt responsible,” she told the paper. “I felt like I had done something bad. And it kind of set the course for me doing other things that were bad.”
Wendy Miller told the Washington Post that she was 14 and working as a Santa’s helper at the Gadsden Mall when Moore first approached her, and 16 when he asked her on dates, which her mother forbade.
Debbie Wesson Gibson
Debbie Wesson Gibson says she was 17 when Moore spoke to her high school civics class and asked her out on the first of several dates that did not progress beyond kissing.
Gloria Thacker Deason
Gloria Thacker Deason told The Post she was an 18-year-old cheerleader when Moore began taking her on dates that included bottles of Mateus Rosé wine. The legal drinking age in Alabama was 19.
Beverly Young Nelson
As seen in the press conference below, Beverly Young Nelson came forward Monday with allegations that Roy Moore locked her in his car and sexually assaulted her in a dark alley behind the restaurant where she worked in 1977. Ms. Nelson brought her high school year book to prove her earlier encounter with Moore in which he wrote “To a sweeter more beautiful girl I could not say Merry Christmas. Christmas 1977. Love, Roy Moore, D.A. 12-22-77 Olde Hickory House.”
She also said that both she and her husband are long-time republicans and voted for President Donald Trump. Mr. Moore, his campaign, and supporters have been attempted to discredit earlier allegations as “a desperate political attack by the National Democrat Party.”
In an interview published Wednesday in The Birmingham News, Tina Johnson alleges that Roy Moore groped her in 1991 while she was in his law office to sign over custody of her 12-year-old son to her mother, who he’d been living with. Moore was married at that time.
Johnson was 28 years old at the time, in a difficult marriage, headed towards divorce, and unemployed. Her Mother, Mary Katherine Cofield, hired Moore to handle the custody petition. Johnson says Moore began flirting with the moment she walked through the door.
“He kept commenting on my looks, telling me how pretty I was, how nice I looked,” recalled Johnson. “He was saying that my eyes were beautiful.”
She says that Moore also asked questions about her young daughters, including their eye colors and if they were as pretty as she was. She alleges that as she followed her mother out of his office, Moore grabbed her buttocks.
Court documents obtained by The Birmingham News detail the 1991 custody transfer. Cofield’s petition for custody is signed by Roy S. Moore, attorney. It lists his address as 924 Third Avenue, Gadsden, Alabama.
Kelly Harrison Thorp
Kelly Harrison Thorp was just 17 years old and a high school senior in 1982. She was working as a hostess at the Red Lobster restaurant in Gadsden, Alabama.
One day Roy Moore came into the restaurant and asked her if she’d go out with him sometime.
“I just kind of said, ‘Do you know how old I am?'” she recalled. “And he said, ‘Yeah. I go out with girls your age all the time.'”
Thorp says she turned him down and told him she had a boyfriend – only then did he walk away.
In an interview with the Washington Post, Gena Richardson says she was just a high school senior working in the men’s department of Sears at the Gadsden Mall when a man approached her and introduced himself as Roy Moore. “He said, ‘You can just call me Roy,’” said Richardson.
Ms. Richardson said this first encounter with Moore happened in the fall of 1977, just before or after her 18th birthday – Moore was a 30-year-old local attorney.
Richardson says Moore — now a candidate for U.S. Senate — asked her where she went to school, and then for her phone number, which she says she declined to give, telling him that her father, a Southern Baptist preacher, would never approve.
A few days later, she says, she was in trigonometry class at Gadsden High when she was summoned to the principal’s office over the intercom in her classroom. She had a phone call.
“I said ‘Hello?’” Richardson recalls. “And the male on the other line said, ‘Gena, this is Roy Moore.’ I was like, ‘What?!’ He said, ‘What are you doing?’ I said, ‘I’m in trig class.’”
Richardson says Moore asked her out again on the call. A few days later, after he asked her out at Sears, she relented and agreed, feeling both nervous and flattered. They met that night at a movie theater in the mall after she got off work, a date that ended with Moore driving her to her car in a dark parking lot behind Sears and giving her what she called an unwanted, “forceful” kiss that left her scared.
“I never wanted to see him again,” Richardson told the Post. She’s now 58 and a community college teacher living in Birmingham. When asked by the Post about her political affiliation, she “described herself as a moderate Republican and says she didn’t vote in the 2016 general election or in this year’s Republican Senate primary in Alabama.”
Moore’s campaign released a statement saying “If you are a liberal and hate Judge Moore, apparently he groped you,” the statement said. “If you are a conservative and love Judge Moore, you know these allegations are a political farce.”
Becky Gray told the Washington Post that she was 22 and working in the men’s department of Pizitz when she first encountered Roy Moore in 1977.
“It would always be on Friday or Saturday night … Parents would drop kids off, let them roam the mall. Well, he started coming up to me.”
She says Moore kept asking her out and she kept saying no.
“I’d always say no, I’m dating someone, no, I’m in a relationship,” says Gray, now 62, a retired teacher and a Democrat who supports Moore’s opponent in the Senate race. “I thought he was old at that time. Anyone over 22 was just old.”
Gray says he was persistent in a way that made her uncomfortable. She says he lingered in her section, or else by the bathroom area, and that she became so disturbed that she complained to the Pizitz manager, Maynard von Spiegelfeld. Gray says he told her that it was “not the first time he had a complaint about him hanging out at the mall.” Von Spiegelfeld has since died, according to a relative.