Roy Moore: Sexual contact with 14-year-old 'never happened'

Key Points
  • Roy Moore, the Republican nominee for U.S. Senate from Alabama, said that alleged sexual encounters between himself and a 14-year-old girl "never happened."
  • Moore did not deny three other accounts from women who all said he pursued relationships with them when they were teens ,and he was in his early 30s.
  • Moore said that dating teenagers as an adult "would be out of my customary behavior," but also stressed that he received permission from the girls' mothers to pursue them.
Roy Moore, GOP Senate candidate and former chief justice on the Alabama Supreme Court speaks during the annual Family Research Council's Values Voter Summit at the Omni Shorham Hotel on October 13, 2017 in Washington, DC.
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Republican Senate candidate Roy Moore said Friday that allegations by four women that he pursued relationships with them when they were teenagers are "completely false and misleading."

Moore appeared on "The Sean Hannity Show," where he claimed never to have met a woman named Leigh Corfman, who alleges that Moore pursued a sexual relationship with her when she was 14 years old.

"I don't know Ms. Corfman from anybody," Moore told Hannity. "I've never talked to her, never had any contact with her." Over the course of the interview, however, Moore did acknowledge having known at least two of the other women who spoke to The Washington Post.

"With regards to the other girls, understand that this was 40 years ago," he sad, "and after my return from the military. I dated a lot of young ladies."

Moore stressed that his behavior was never inappropriate, and the three women he acknowledged knowing had all reached the legal age of consent.

One of the women, Debbie Wesson Gibson, said Moore asked her out after they met at her high school, where Moore was speaking to her civics class. Moore said he did not specifically remember speaking to Gibson's class, or exactly when, or even if, they dated.

"I knew her as a friend. If we did go out on dates, then we did, but I do not remember that," Moore said. He did, however, remember that Gibson was "a good girl," and he recalled knowing her parents. "They were friends," he said.

Another woman, Gloria Thacker Deason, recalled that Moore took her on dates when she was 18, where he bought her drinks before she'd reached the legal drinking age of 19. Moore denied that he'd ever bought her drinks when she was 18. "As I recall, she was 19 or older," he said.

"I seem to remember her as a good girl, and I had some sort of knowledge of her parents, or her mother," he said of Deason.

Overall, Moore said, dating teenagers when he was in his 30s "would be out of my customary behavior," but claimed he couldn't recall if he ever actually had. This was only moments after Moore insisted that Deason had been 19, not 18, when they dated.

At another point in the interview, Moore appeared to defend pursuing "young ladies" as long as their parents approved. "I don't remember ever dating any girl without the permission of her mother. And [one woman] said her mother actually encouraged her to go out with me," he told Hannity.

Moore portrayed The Washington Post's report as a hit job, cooked up by his political enemies, and tried to cast doubt as to why the women did not come forward with their allegations earlier.

"Obviously, you don't wait 40 years to break out something like this," he said of Corfman's account.

"There will be facts that come out ... to show in this situation that this was a Democrat and maybe even an established Republican effort to undermine this campaign because they don't want to hear the truth in Washington. They don't want to hear the truth. About God. And about the Constitution," Moore said.

In Washington, Republican senators responded to the report Thursday with shock and dismay. More than a dozen lawmakers said that if the claims are true, Moore should exit the race immediately.

According to new paperwork filed with the Federal Election Commission Friday, the National Republican Senatorial Committee is no longer a part of a joint fundraising committee that includes Moore's campaign, the Alabama GOP and the Republican National Committee.