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- Alabama Senate candidate Roy Moore was accused Thursday of initiating a sexual encounter with a girl who was 14 years old when he was 32.
- Moore’s former colleague told CNN on Saturday that it was “common knowledge” that Moore dated high school girls.
- She added that “everyone thought it was weird” that Moore dated teenage girls and attended high school football games when he was in his 30s.
- Moore has denied the sexual misconduct allegations against him, though he acknowledged knowing some of his accusers.
A former colleague of Roy Moore’s told CNN on Saturday that it was “common knowledge” that he “dated high school girls” when he was in his 30s.
Moore is currently running as a Republican for an open Senate seat in Alabama. His campaign has been in turmoil since The Washington Post published a report on Thursday detailing allegations of sexual misconduct against him. One woman claimed that Moore initiated a sexual encounter with her when she was 14 and he was 32.
Several other women told The Post that Moore pursued romantic relationships with them while he was in his 30s and they were between the ages of 16 and 19. The age of consent in Alabama is 16.
Theresa Jones used to work as a deputy district attorney in the same courthouse as Moore, and she told CNN on Saturday that “everyone we knew thought it was weird” that Moore dated girls significantly younger than he was.
“We wondered why someone his age would hang out at high school football games and the mall, but you really wouldn’t say anything to someone like that,” she added.
Moore has denied the allegation made by the woman who said he behaved inappropriately towards her when she was 14, and said that he had never met her.
He did recall knowing two of his other accusers, but he denied that he had ever engaged in any sexual misconduct with them.
In response to the allegations involving one accuser, Debbie Wesson Gibson, Moore told Fox News opinion commentator Sean Hannity, “I don’t remember going out on dates. I knew her as a friend. If we did go out on dates, then we did. But I don’t remember that.”
He also said he remembered another accuser, Gloria Thacker Deason, who said she was 18 when she started going out with Moore, who was 32 then. Deason told The Post that Moore also bought her alcohol when she was 18 or 19. At the time, the drinking age in Alabama was 19.
When Hannity asked Moore whether he remembered dating teenage girls when he was in his 30s, Moore replied, “Not generally, no.”
“I don’t remember dating any girl without the permission of her mother,” he said. He later pointed to The Post’s story and said, “These two young girls actually said their mothers encouraged them to be friends with me.”
After a commercial break, Moore became more forceful in his denials of dating teenagers. He told Hannity that doing so “would be out of my customary behavior” and that he “never” would have dated a teen without her mother’s permission.
Since the claims against Moore were published, over a dozen Republican senators have called on him to drop out of the Senate race. But Moore appears unlikely to take that step, particularly because he has significant backing from prominent Alabama Republicans and the far-right Trumpist wing of the GOP, many of whom have either said the allegations are not a big deal, or that they are entirely false.
Moore has painted the allegations against him as part of an effort by liberals to smear his candidacy.
“The Obama-Clinton Machine’s liberal media lapdogs just launched the most vicious and nasty round of attacks against me I’ve EVER faced!” he tweeted on Thursday. “We are are in the midst of a spiritual battle with those who want to silence our message.”
“The forces of evil will lie, cheat, steal — even inflict physical harm — if they believe it will silence and shut up Christian conservatives like you and me,” he added.
“I believe you and I have a duty to stand up and fight back against the forces of evil waging an all-out war on our conservative values!” he continued. “Our nation is at a crossroads right now – both spiritually and politically.”
Allan Smith contributed reporting.