Moore’s Bio Helps Bolster Credibility of Charges

This continues to be a highly credible story, and Moore himself has helped that credibility.

FAIRHOPE, AL - SEPTEMBER 25: Republican candidate for the U.S. Senate in Alabama, Roy Moore, speaks at a campaign rally on September 25, 2017 in Fairhope, Alabama. Moore is running in a primary runoff election against incumbent Luther Strange for the seat vacated when Jeff Sessions was appointed U.S. Attorney General by President Donald Trump. The runoff election is scheduled for September 26. (Photo by Scott Olson/Getty Images)

Of the things that have been utterly bizarre about the Moore story is the rather anemic defenses that he has offered, insofar as he essentially confirms that he dated teenagers when he was in his thirties.  As such, Moore himself has substantially added to the credibility of this story.

In his interview with Sean Hannity he provided the weakest possible general defense of the allegations he sought out and dated teenage girls:

HANNITY: At that time in your life…Let me ask you this you do remember these girls would it be unusual for you as a 32 year old guy to have dated a woman as young as 17? That would be a 15 year difference or a girl 18. Do you remember dating girls that young at that time?

MOORE: Not generally, no. If did, you know, I’m not going to dispute anything but I don’t remember anything like that.

Indeed, that interview provided what may be one of the weirdest defenses I have ever read: “I don’t remember ever dating any girl without the permission of her mother.” This was in the context of confirming dating a girl who was, at the time 18 or 19.

Moore’s own history, as accounted by Moore himself, adds substantial context and credibility that he did, indeed, pursue women much younger than himself.  When the allegations first emerged, I took mental note that Moore’s wife is 14 years younger than him–a gap that fits in the pattern described in the original WaPo story.

AL.com’s Kyle Whitmore elaborated on this fact this week:  Don’t believe Roy Moore’s accusers? Then listen to Moore:

Specifically Moore’s account of how he met his now-wife, Kayla Moore.

First, read his book. In it, Moore describes how he met his wife at a Christmas party hosted by friends. He would have been 37. She was 23.

“Many years before, I had attended a dance recital at Gadsden State Junior College,” Moore wrote. “I remembered one of the special dances performed by a young woman whose first and last names began with the letter ‘K.’ It was something I had never forgotten. Could that young woman have been Kayla Kisor?”

Moore later determined that it was.

“Long afterward, I would learn that Kayla had, in fact, performed a special dance routine at Gadsden State years before,” he wrote.

[…]

In an interview Moore gave earlier this year, he gave a similar account, but for one detail.

“It was, oh gosh, eight years later, or something, I met her,” Moore said. “And when she told me her name, I remembered ‘K. K.,’ and I said, ‘Haven’t I met you before?'”

It’s a simple matter of subtraction. When Roy Moore first took notice of Kayla she would have been as young as 15.

All of which just adds substantial strength to the allegations leveled.  On the one hand, being present at an event, even “a special dance routine” is not evidence of much of anything (although given the charges about the Gadsden Mall and the YMCA, it does make one wonder).  After all, as a prominent member of the community (i.e., a district attorney) he might have been invited to attend–in small towns things like this could have some community significance in ways they never would in a larger city.  On the other, being that struck by a 15 year-old (or even 16 year-old) so much so that eight-ish years later one remembers is just, well, odd (to be kind) especially given the information we have about his dating proclivities.

The campaign is also trying to undercut the “banned from the mall” stories:  Moore campaign refutes allegations that Moore was banned from the mall.  As defenses go, this is not the strongest (it is pitting one set of recollections against another set).

Now, the mall ban may be the weakest of the allegations, since they are all predicated on decades-old memories and a lack of solid documentation, but they are also the least significant part of the story, since Moore himself has confirmed the dating of teens.

The assault allegations are, of course, the most serious here and are not spoken to by any of the above, at least not directly.  The  broader context of what we know give those charges, in my opinion, a great deal of credibility. It is not much of a leap at all that a man who pursued a significant number of young women would also attempt sexual encounters with them.

This continues to be one of the most thoroughly reported and credible stories of this nature that I can recall.  Although in the current context, where sexual misconduct, harassment, and assault are all seemingly daily stories now, it has some serious competition, unfortunately.

FILED UNDER: Campaign 2017, US Politics
Steven L. Taylor
About Steven L. Taylor
Steven L. Taylor is a Professor of Political Science and a College of Arts and Sciences Dean. His main areas of expertise include parties, elections, and the institutional design of democracies. His most recent book is the co-authored A Different Democracy: American Government in a 31-Country Perspective. He earned his Ph.D. from the University of Texas and his BA from the University of California, Irvine. He has been blogging since 2003 (originally at the now defunct Poliblog). Follow Steven on Twitter

Comments

  1. grumpy realist says:
  2. Franklin says:

    All this makes me curious when he stopped (perhaps when he got married), or if he even did.

  3. Daryl's other brother Darryl says:

    He admitted to his indiscretions.
    And the fvcking christians, who want to ram their morality down the throats of the rest of us, are mor than willing to overlook it.
    Remember…Trump too has admitted to being a serial sexual assaulter.
    Tribe, for these people, is more important than their Country.

  4. SenyorDave says:

    @Daryl’s other brother Darryl: Tribe, for these people, is more important than their Country.

    For many of these people, I think country is pretty far down on the list. Trump really has changed everything. Winning is the only that has ever mattered to Trump, that attitude seems to have been transferred to many of his supporters. They can accept ANYTHING as long as it helps them win. Russia interfering in our elections – perfectly fine, no problem. A known pervert who as a 30+ trolls for teens at the mall as their senator – we need him for our tax cuts. A man who acts like he’s in the terrible twos with his finger on the bottom – we won!

  5. MarkedMan says:

    I’ve said it before, but it bears repeating: By the way Alabamians have handled this, they have already painted a giant “Pedos welcome here” sign on their state. Many, including the top most governmental leaders have said that they are willing to cover up and/or accept child diddling in exchange for voting with Trump and saying Jebus ten times a day. Pedophiles will take note. Expect them to be showing up in record numbers as coaches, bus drivers, teachers, etc.

  6. @Daryl’s other brother Darryl:

    Tribe, for these people, is more important than their Country.

    That and the fact the there are differing view of “Country.”

  7. michael reynolds says:

    I commented a few days ago to the effect that this is largely about abortion. If you think the ‘other side’ routinely murders children, then yes, you can vote for a child molester as the lesser of two evils. Of course race plays a part, so does misogyny, but the rationale these ‘Christians’ have is that abortion = murder and nothing trumps murder.

    Of course it’s true that most people who claim that abortion is murder don’t actually believe it. If they did they wouldn’t work alongside pro-choicers, or let their kids attend schools with pro-choicers. Like so much of what Christians believe they really only ‘believe’ it, they don’t actually think it’s true.

    This is balanced a bit by pro-choice people who like to pretend there are no moral issues in abortion when they (me) know perfectly well that there are legitimate moral issues.

    Extremists live on hypocrisy.

  8. Jen says:

    I am honestly just so, so disturbed by this–everything about this. From Moore’s gross fixation on adolescent girls to Alabamians’ willingness to shrug it off to Kellyanne Conway’s admission that it’s all about a vote count for a tax bill (which itself stinks to high Heaven), Republican politics has degenerated further than I ever thought it could.

    This disgusting pig of a candidate will likely win, and I’m beginning to think that Amanda Carpenter is correct…she said on CNN last night that if the GOP hasn’t had the spine to do anything about Moore up to this point, they certainly aren’t going to suddenly grow a backbone and do the right thing by expelling him.

    She also made the point that while private companies are responding to allegations seriously, quickly, and appropriately, politics has apparently got a different set of standards. Trump is in the White House, Moore will likely be elected despite this information surfacing, and unless Franken chooses to step down, an ethics investigation will not likely amount to much. The contrast is stunning.

  9. michael reynolds says:

    @Jen:
    You’re right that McConnell won’t expel Moore, but Franken’s willingness to face a Senate inquiry means McConnell will have to subject Moore to the same. By then Moore will have voted for the tax bill, and McConnell can get rid of him and take whoever the Alabama governor appoints. That way he gets to play moral while still getting what he wants.

  10. Daryl's other brother Darryl says:

    Trump has now explicitly endorsed Moore.

    “We don’t need a liberal Democrat in that seat…We don’t need a liberal person in there…He denies it, he totally denies it,”

    Take that in for just a second.
    The President, an admitted serial sexual assaulter, has endorsed a child molester for office.
    Which only leaves the question…
    HOW MUCH LOWER CAN WE POSSIBLY GO???

  11. charon says:

    @michael reynolds:

    This is balanced a bit by pro-choice people who like to pretend there are no moral issues in abortion when they (me) know perfectly well that there are legitimate moral issues.

    Different people have different, even very different ideas about what is moral or what is not. You seem to be insinuating hypocrisy which I do not see as entirely fair.

    A lot is culturally determined, too. The ancient Romans and Greeks practiced neonaticide, as did most BCE cultures.

  12. KM says:

    @SenyorDave says:

    For many of these people, I think country is pretty far down on the list.

    Country for these people *IS* their tribe – that’s why they use terms like “Real America” and “anchor baby”. They explicitly demarcate who they think is part of the nation and who isn’t so as far as they are concerned, Country is right up there. When we say “country” we mean the United States of America as a political entity. When they say “country” , they mean red states and it’s inhabitants who agree with them.

    You and I are *not* a part of their country. Look at how they talk about PR, NY or CA. Look at how they talk about citizens by birth who’s parents happen to be illegal. Their country does not reach from sea to shining sea – in fact, it doesn’t seem to have any real coasts at all for some reason…..

  13. CSK says:

    @Daryl’s other brother Darryl:

    @SenyorDave:

    Actually, the Trump/Moore fan club has gone further than either of you maintain–which is not to say that you both don’t make valid points.

    Trumpism and Mooreism are, at this point, dedicated to annoying/irritating/thwarting anyone who isn’t a member of the Trump/Moore cult. These people are so insensately enraged that they don’t care if this country is incinerated–as long as they can poke a stick in your and my eyes.

    By the way, they now refer to themselves as “The Normals.” As opposed to us freak/traitors.

  14. Bob The Arqubusier says:

    Ever since I first heard of the “half plus seven” rule (for relationships, take the age of the older party, divide in half, then add seven — that’s the minimum age of the younger party) I’ve thought it makes a tremendous amount of sense. Looks like in his younger, more foolish days (he was even a Democrat back then), Moore didn’t abide by that — and he should have.

    That being said, why can’t we apply the same standard here that was so popular around these parts with Hillary’s private email server, stuffed full of classified documents ended up in the possession of, among others, Anthony Weiner — “what law was allegedly broken? Please, be specific.”

    Personally, I’m not that invested in Moore winning a Senate seat. So far, the brouhaha around these allegations (one allegation of statutory rape, unproven; scads of other creepy but legal acts, also not proven) has been a cornucopia of blessings. It’s taken down or damaged Charlie Rose, Al Franken, John Conyers, Glenn Thrush, Lena Dunham, Democrat megadonor Harvey Weinstein, and others.

    It finally might make the Clintons politically toxic and drive the final nail in their political coffins. And remember — the Monica Lewinsky thing might have been consensual, but 1) there was a YUGE power imbalance between the Chief Executive of the nation and intern, and 2) it came up as part of Paula Jones’ suit over actual sexual harassment — which Bill Clinton took seriously enough to both perjure himself over it AND pay a hefty settlement. And that doesn’t even begin to address Juanita Broddrick’s rape charge.

    And every one of those above parties have a long, long trail of supporters and enablers who will now have to explain themselves as to why they covered up for the predators in their midst for so long. I’m especially curious as to how Nancy Pelosi and other Democratic leaders will explain how Conyers managed to spend $27,000 of taxpayer dollars to cover up his gropings.

    Oh, and as for “tribalism” — how else would you explain the willingness to give Anthony Weiner break after break after break, even pushing him for Mayor of New York, until he was FINALLY caught red-handed sexting a minor? Wasn’t just “being incredibly creepy and inappropriate” enough to throw him overboard?

    I’d bring up Ted Kennedy, but I wouldn’t want to pile on…

    (Actually, I would, but I think I’ll keep that one in reserve for now.)

  15. grumpy realist says:

    @Bob The Arqubusier: Just as long as we take a look at ALL the payments out of that slush fund…Democratic, Republican, man, woman, heterosexual groping, same-sex groping….

    But no, it’s easier for you to scream “but waddabaht the Clintons!”

    If we’re going to drag out the messiness of Bill Clinton and how Hillary may or may not have covered up for him, I want. The. Exact. Same. Analysis for people like Jardine, Newt Gingrich, Henry Hyde, Moore, and of course your beloved Groper-in-Chief.

  16. Bob The Arqubusier says:

    @grumpy realist: Just as long as we take a look at ALL the payments out of that slush fund…Democratic, Republican, man, woman, heterosexual groping, same-sex groping….

    Bring it on, baby. Bring it on. Let’s get all the scumbags. And let’s look at who knew about that slush fund and didn’t say anything, too. The enablers need to pay a price, too.

    Of all the figures implicated so far, the only one I’m willing to give even a smidgen of the benefit of the doubt is George H. W. Bush. He’d lived a pretty exemplary life in that respect, and now he’s 93. Occasionally one of the symptoms of Alzheimer’s is hypersexuality, and it could be dementia.

    Other than that? Throw ’em to the wolves.

  17. Bob The Arqubusier says:

    @grumpy realist: I want. The. Exact. Same. Analysis for people like Jardine, Newt Gingrich, Henry Hyde, Moore, and of course your beloved Groper-in-Chief.

    Jardine? Who?

    Gingrich? Still kinda-sorta in public life, but long out of office.

    Henry Hyde? Dead 10 years.

    Moore? He’s getting that now.

    Trump? Pardon a little pop psychology, but Trump’s type has been beautiful, glamorous, successful women he can show off. When he was cheating on his first wife (Ivana) with his future second wife (Marla Maples), he bragged about the affair. Most people would keep an affair secret; not Trump. Clinton was the one who wanted to keep everything secret, as was Weiner. Trump? He practically hired a publicist for his womanizing.

  18. rachel says:

    @charon: And in a lot of post BCE countries too. It used happen in Korea, for example, back when much of the country was desperately poor and one unwanted* baby could push a family into ruin.

    *And there were various reasons for that.

  19. Lit3Bolt says:

    @michael reynolds:

    In a sane world abortion would be a choice between a woman, her doctor, her husband, and possibly her pastor. Medical staff routinely make calls between life and death but we don’t consider triage murder, we don’t consider DNR orders genocide of the elderly, and we don’t experiment on cancer patients endlessly “in the name of the Life-Giver.” The same people who want to stamp out abortion want to stamp out contraception and sex education, and also never acknowledge God hands out miscarriages like candy. They want to reduce women to an incubator with no rights, and women simply demand choices and options, which they should have within the ethical limits of any board-certified medical doctor.

    Reducing abortion to a “both sides do it” cultural war sidebar suggests that you’re reading more right-wing propaganda than is good for you. What are your ethical issues with abortion?

    My stance is that if a fetus is at a stage in a pregnancy when it stands a good chance of survival without defects, and it’s removal will not adversely harm the health of the mother, then it can be considered a “person” and can be protected and saved. Even this is somewhat dubiously ethically, because you’re potentially forcing someone to submit to a surgical procedure against their will. Maybe mental health laws and ethics could help inform us on this. But sure, let’s talk about and acknowledge the issues, lest we become China or India and have an entire generation of “Lost Boys” who can never marry or find a wife.

  20. An Interested Party says:

    He practically hired a publicist for his womanizing.

    Ahh, so his indiscretions should be excused because it all was supposedly so public…now there’s an interesting way to judge his behavior…are you getting the lesson, sex fiends? All you have to do is make sure all your actions are publicized and you will be excused and perhaps even elected president…

  21. michael reynolds says:

    @Lit3Bolt: @charon:

    Charon: Of course there’s hypocrisy on both sides. The right calls it murder and doesn’t believe it. The left denies that the state could possibly have a role to play, or that there is any moral ambiguity, but doesn’t believe that. Does the state have no right to intervene if a mother abuses alcohol heavily during pregnancy, giving birth to a child who may be severely damaged by that? Do we on the pro-choice side have no moral problem with that? If we do, why, given that we believe the whole thing has to be between doctor and mother?

    Lit3Bolt: Are you under the impression that we live in a ‘sane world?’

    I am and always have been pro-choice, but it’s just willful blindness to deny that reasonable people can have a moral problem with abortion. Will we say it’s between a mother and her doctor when every strip-mall clinic is offering CRISPR to change the sex, race, IQ of their fetus? Would the state have no legitimate interest if mothers decide to give us a population that’s 70% male? Would there be no moral issues if black mothers used CRISPR to subtract a bit of melanin to give their kid a better shot? What if mom decided she wanted a short-lived child? Or one covered in hair? Or one of those cute Downs babies? Or a blind mother wants a kid just like her?

    The whole ‘doctor-mother’ thing is a rationale. It’s one I agree with because it is the only practical answer, but it expresses no immutable principle. It’s what we’ve got right now to address a complicated situation. But it’s fundamentally just can-kicking, because we do not believe it’s between a doctor-mom if mom decides to start drinking heavily during pregnancy, or shooting heroin.

    We have an intractable moral and social issue in abortion. They believe what they believe, we believe what we believe, and to one extent or another, both sides are full of sh!t.

  22. Bob The Arqubusier says:

    @An Interested Party: You really are that stupid, aren’t you?

    I was discussing Trump’s style, not condoning or condemning. Some men try to hide their indiscretions; others boast of them. The former are more likely to hide things and have secrets, the latter… not so much.

    Which makes them far less vulnerable to blackmail, and far less likely to perjure themselves over their sexual conduct. You might recall that principle was used to justify gays in the military — it was the necessary secrecy that made them security risks, not the homosexuality itself. Get rid of the need for secrecy, the threat of blackmail goes away.

    Just imagine someone trying to embarrass Trump by threatening to publish the details of his affair with Marla Maples. Give him the dossier, and he’d probably autograph it for you and arrange for it to be published far and wide. Or, more likely, laugh at you and have you tossed on your ass. He’s so far beyond the “publish and be damned” stage, he can’t even see it.

    Hillary not only tolerated Bill’s indiscretions, but was the main agent of the move to crush the women who dared dally with her husband. She led the effort to discredit and destroy Monica Lewinsky, Paula Jones, Gennifer Flowers, Juanita Broaddrick (remember the “nuts and sluts” angle?). And she was not only “tolerated” for that conduct — punishing women for telling the truth — but rewarded handsomely by her supporters.

    The people had their chance to judge Trump’s marital fidelity a little over a year ago, and decided that it wasn’t a big deal — or, at least, not a deal-breaker. And speaking personally, I find a flagrant philanderer more acceptable than a woman who not only stayed with her philandering husband, but worked mightily to destroy the women who dared tell the truth about their affairs with him.

  23. Kylopod says:

    @Bob The Arqubusier:

    Which makes them far less vulnerable to blackmail

    If you actually believe Trump doesn’t have anything to hide, I’ve got a Trump Steak to sell you.

    Trump doesn’t mind being known as a womanizer because it’s part of the macho, virile image he wants people to have of him. His tax returns, on the other hand….

  24. An Interested Party says:

    @Bob The Arqubusier: You didn’t specify what you were doing, asshole, so do try to clarify next time…

    Just imagine someone trying to embarrass Trump by threatening to publish the details of his affair with Marla Maples.

    Sexual affairs are the least of Trump’s worries…there are probably plenty of other tidbits that could be used to hurt him, particularly those dealing with financial matters…

  25. Bob The Arqubusier says:

    @An Interested Party: Apparently you missed that, in this context, we were discussing sexual peccadilloes.

    I’d even entertain the possibility that Trump plays up the personal stuff to distract from the stuff he really wants to keep secret. That would be entirely consistent with some other theories I have about him.

  26. An Interested Party says:

    …we were discussing sexual peccadilloes.

    Indeed, that was obvious, but you seemed to dismiss any criticisms of Trump’s inappropriate behavior because he was so public about it…

  27. Bob The Arqubusier says:

    @An Interested Party: Dismiss? Hardly. I applied a healthy and appropriate level of skepticism based on known facts.

    For example, there’s no proof that Hillary Clinton never bombed an abortion clinic, but it would be exceptionally out of character and inconsistent with known facts.

    Lemme toss out another factoid: pedophiles have some of the highest recidivism rates for sex crimes, yet there are no allegations against Moore from the last 35-odd years. I suppose it’s possible that, at about the same time he stopped being a Democrat (1992), he also stopped looking at young women and girls.

  28. An Interested Party says:

    Hardly. I applied a healthy and appropriate level of skepticism based on known facts.

    Skepticism about what? That Trump is a sexual pig? His own words and actions have proven this to be true…meanwhile, keep on defending Moore…show us how disreputable you are…about as disreputable as a former commentator here…his alias started with a J I believe…

  29. Kylopod says:

    Okay, this is the second time I’m asking, but…. Why was J-E-N-O-S banned? And why for God sake has just writing out his name become like “Voldemort” to the spam filters? I certainly wasn’t aware of the banning when it occurred, and I’ve never seen anything like it happen to any other commenter here. Over the past year there were several times when I had comments that didn’t seem to go through when I tried to post them, and I had no idea why. (I only found out later it was because I had offhandedly referred to Mr. J in said comments, in a discussion of the site’s resident trolls.) Can someone bring me up to date on what happened?

  30. HarvardLaw92 says:

    @Kylopod:

    I’ve never seen anything like it happen to any other commenter here

    That should tell you something …

  31. Bob The Arqubusier says:

    @An Interested Party: Skepticism about what? That Trump is a sexual pig? His own words and actions have proven this to be true…

    There are pigs, and there are pigs. Bill Clinton is one type of philanderer, Newt Gingrich a different type, Harvey Weinstein another, Anthony Weiner another, Charlie Rose another, Al Franken yet another.

    The stuff on Trump is small potatoes compared to them.

  32. charon says:

    @Bob The Arqubusier:

    Bill Clinton is one type of philanderer

    ,The stuff on Trump is small potatoes compared to them.

    For the benefit of open minded people:

    http://www.lawyersgunsmoneyblog.com/2017/11/lewinsky-scandal-revisionism

  33. charon says:

    @charon:

    from the link:

    First, a seemingly minor but in fact significant point: During the course of her long and rather elaborate affair with Bill Clinton, Monica Lewinsky was not a “White House intern.” The right wing noise machine endlessly repeated this phrase, which was then dutifully transcribed by Even the Liberal Mainstream Media. When she initiated her affair with Clinton, Lewinsky had already been offered and accepted a permanent paid position with the White House Office of Legislative Affairs. She was, in the strictest technical sense, a White House intern for all of eleven days of the two-plus years during which she was romantically involved with Bill Clinton (She formally started her job eleven days after their first assignation).

    and

    Second, any disinterested critic who bothers to read the Starr Report should be struck — despite the author’s strenuous efforts to paint the events in the most sordid and humiliating light — by the extent to which Clinton and Lewinsky actually had an extensive relationship, that went well beyond their quite rare sexual encounters. Despite the extraordinarily constraining circumstances of the affair, the two exchanged nearly 50 gifts, spoke dozens of time by phone (approximately seven of these calls seem to have fallen into what the report primly refers to as “phone sex”), and met on many occasions that didn’t involve any overtly erotic interaction. It was, in other words, a real life affair, that eventually featured a good deal of emotional as well as some physical intimacy.

    Lot’s more at the link.