- Screenshot/The Today Show
- Leigh Corfman, who has accused Roy Moore, the Republican US Senate nominee in Alabama, of initiating a sexual encounter with her when she was 14 and he was 32, says her story was never a secret among her family and friends.
- Corfman said she feared how going public with her allegations might affect her children but decided to come forward when The Washington Post approached her and found others with similar stories.
Leigh Corfman, who has accused Roy Moore, the Republican US Senate nominee in Alabama, of initiating a sexual encounter with her when she was 14 and he was a 32-year-old assistant district attorney, described her decision to go public with her allegations during an interview on NBC’s “Today” show on Monday.
Corfman, whose accusations were detailed in a Washington Post report earlier this month, said she felt that “a weight has been lifted” since coming forward, and she denied unfounded allegations that she was paid by The Post to tell her story.
While some critics have argued that the timing of Corfman’s public accusation – weeks before Alabama’s special election on December 12 – is suspect, Corfman said that her nearly 40-year-old story was never a secret.
Corfman told The Post that in 1979, Moore drove her to his home, undressed her, and touched her over her underwear. The age of consent in Alabama is 16.
Corfman said she told close friends immediately after the encounter.
“My family knew, family friends knew, my friends knew,” Corfman told NBC’s Savannah Guthrie.
Corfman said that every time Moore would come up in conversation, she would rail against him and tell her story.
In the early 2000s, after Moore was elected to the Alabama Supreme Court, Corfman drove to the courthouse to confront Moore, she told The Post and “Today.”
“I wanted to walk into his office and say: ‘Hey, remember me? You need to knock this stuff off. I need to go public,'” Corfman recalled. But she refrained, she said, because she was a single parent with small children.
“I felt guilty,” Corfman told Guthrie. “I felt like I was the one that was to blame. And it was decades before I was able to let that go.”
Several years later, Corfman again considered making her allegations public. But she said that after talking with her children, who were in elementary and junior high school at the time, she decided the risk of harming their relationships with friends and community members was too great.
“I had to tell my kids,” she said. “We decided together that we wouldn’t do it at that time.”
When she was approached by Post reporters who said they had heard from other sources about her allegations, Corfman told them would go on the record if the newspaper could find other victims of Moore’s who would also speak out, she recalled.
The Post’s report includes three other women who say Moore pursued them when they were teenagers. Since then, five other women, including one who says Moore forcibly kissed and groped her when she was 16, have come forward to accuse Moore of sexual misconduct.
Corfman also denied that she was motivated by politics, telling Guthrie that she has “voted as a Republican for years and years and years” and that her decision was personal rather than political.
“It’s very close to my heart,” Corfman said. “I’ve lived with this for a long time.”
Corfman said she had been heartened by the “amazing” response she had received from other victims of sexual abuse.
“I’ve had a lot of people that have come out and have said that because of my courage that they’re able to do the same,” she said.
Watch the interview below:
— TODAY (@TODAYshow) November 20, 2017