- Alabama Senate candidate Roy Moore initiated a sexual encounter with a 14-year-old girl when he was 32, the woman claimed Thursday.
- While several Republicans distanced themselves from Moore, Alabama politician Jim Zeigler defended Moore and dismissed the allegations.
- “Mary was a teenager and Joseph was an adult carpenter,” he said.
Republican politicians scrambled into damage control mode after The Washington Post reported on Thursday that Roy Moore, the Republican nominee for Alabama senator, initiated a sexual encounter with a 14-year-old girl in 1979, and pursued relationships with three other teenage girls.
But at least two members of the GOP are standing firmly by Moore’s side.
Alabama State Auditor Jim Zeigler called the claims in the Post report “much ado about nothing” even if they are true.
“The allegations are that a man in his early 30s dated teenage girls,” Zeigler told The Washington Examiner. “Even the Washington Post report says that he never had sexual intercourse with any of the girls and never attempted sexual intercourse.”
Zeigler then compared Moore’s alleged actions to those of biblical figures.
“Take the Bible. Zachariah and Elizabeth for instance. Zachariah was extremely old to marry Elizabeth and they became the parents of John the Baptist,” Zeigler told The Examiner. “Also take Joseph and Mary. Mary was a teenager and Joseph was an adult carpenter. They became parents of Jesus.”
“There’s just nothing immoral or illegal here,” Zeigler said. “Maybe just a little bit unusual.”
According to The Post report, a woman named Leigh Corfman said that in 1979, Moore, then a 32-year-old district attorney, approached her in an Alabama courtroom and got her number. He later called the 14-year-old and drove her to his house, where according to the report, removed her clothes and touched her through her bra and underwear. Corfman also said that in one interaction, Moore gave her alcohol.
Moore denied the allegations, calling them “fake news.” But since the report’s publication, more than a dozen Republican lawmakers have called on Moore to drop out of his Senate race, including Senate Majority Leader Mitch McConnell.
The special election between Moore and Democrat Doug Jones is scheduled for December 12.
‘I really don’t see the relevance of it’
Another Alabama lawmaker, Marion County GOP chairman David Hall, joined Zeigler in dismissing the claims in the Post report.
“It was 40 years ago,” Hall told Toronto Star reporter Daniel Dale. “I really don’t see the relevance of it. He was 32. She was supposedly 14. She’s not saying that anything happened other than they kissed.”
Hall also dismissed the accounts of three other women included in the Post report, who told the newspaper that Moore had pursued relationships with them as teenagers between the ages of 16 and 18. The women said Moore did not engage in sexual conduct with them.
“The other women that they’re using to corroborate: number one, one was 19, one was 17, one was 16. There’s nothing wrong with a 30-year-old single male asking a 19-year-old, a 17-year-old, or a 16-year-old out on a date,” Hall said.
And another state politician, Bibb County GOP chairman Jerry Pow, told Dale that although he didn’t support Moore’s alleged actions, he would still vote for him.
“I would vote for Judge Moore because I wouldn’t want to vote for Doug,” Pow said. “I’m not saying I support what he did.”
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