Sexual abuse allegations against Roy Moore impede Senate race

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After film producer Harvey Weinstein’s sexual misconduct was revealed in an expository article by the New York Times, accusations of sexual assault have been filed against several prominent figures in other industries.

One of the most notable of the accused is former Chief Justice of the Alabama Supreme Court Roy Moore. Moore, a Republican, is currently running for U.S. Senate, aiming to take U.S. Attorney General Jeff Sessions’s seat, which he abdicated when appointed to his position by President Donald Trump.

An initial report by the Washington Post outlined Leigh Corfman’s accusation that, in 1979, the then 32-year-old Roy Moore took 14-year-old Corfman on a date during which he touched her sexually. This is a felony under Alabama law, punishable to up to 10 years in prison.

Following this, at least five reports of sexual misconduct by Moore, most involving underage girls, have surfaced. A past colleague from the Etowah County District Attorney’s Office remarked that Moore’s pursuit of underage girls was “common knowledge,” as Moore regularly attended high school football games and malls where he would approach them. Four Etowah County residents corroborated this story.

Moore has adamantly denied the allegations, calling them “malicious” and indicative of “dirty politics.” He maintains that he has never met any of the women levying accusations.

Moore cites Christianity as the impetus for all his political and judicial decisions. Among Moore’s most notable beliefs is his disdain for homosexuality, which he believes should be illegal. Because of this, he has a strong support base of evangelical Christians. In a survey of evangelical Alabama voters, only 28 percent reported that the allegations made them less likely to vote for Moore in the senatorial race, while 37 percent cited the allegations as making them more likely to vote for Moore. However, many faith leaders have spoken out against Moore, proclaiming that partisan extremism has overtaken ethics in politics.

President Trump has refused to disavow Moore, saying that his denial of the allegations should be trusted. However, a more recent statement released by White House officials indicated that Trump would not campaign for the candidate.

Still, despite Trump’s apparent refusal to legitimately separate himself from Moore concretely, many prominent Republicans, including Mitt Romney and John McCain, have demanded that Moore drop out of the race.

Democrats worry that Moore will still land the Senate seat considering Alabama’s deep conservative roots. In response, they have intensified their support for Moore’s opponent, Democratic senatorial candidate Doug Jones.

The most recent polls show Moore leading the race, with Jones five points behind. Still, there is plenty of time before the election, which will take place Dec. 12, during which Moore’s lead could diminish or increase.

Photo courtesy of The New Yorker.

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