A little over one month ahead of a special election for one of Alabama’s Senate seats, Republican candidate Roy Moore is under fire for allegations of sexual misconduct and having relationships with several underage women decades ago. The bombshell allegations were published November 9 by The Washington Post.
One of the women, Gloria Thacker Deason, claims that she entered into a romantic relationship with Moore when she was 18-years old. She claims that the two often went on dates around Alabama and drank alcohol on numerous occasions, despite her being underage. Deason, who was a cheerleader at a community college at the time, is now 57 and lives in North Carolina.
Moore is on the ballot for the special election to replace former Senator Jeff Sessions in the December 12 special election. He defeated Luther Strange, who was appointed after Sessions was appointed attorney general, in a primary election. Moore is squaring off against Democrat Doug Jones in the election.
Here’s what you need to know about Deason and the allegations against Moore:
1. Deason Said She Started Dating Moore When She Was 18 & He Was 32
Deason said that their relationship started in 1979, and he never forced himself on her. They met while she worked at the jewelry counter of a department store inside Gadsden Mall when she was 18. She told The Post that she was attending Gadsden State Community College at the time and was still living at home with her parents, adding that she typically had a “strict curfew.” But because of Moore’s stature, her mother felt comfortable allowing him to see her.
“My mom was really, really strict and my curfew was 10:30 but she would let me stay out later with Roy,” Deason told The Post. “She just felt like I would be safe with him. …She thought he was good husband material.”
Deason and Moore dated for “several months” off and on, she said, adding that he took her to his home more than once. However, she said their physical relationship never got any further than kissing and hugging.
2. Deason Said the 2 Would Often Drink Alcohol Together Despite Her Being Underage
Deason described how the two would often go out for dates, with Moore picking her up from numerous locations. Whether it was at the mall after she was done working, or after basketball games where she was cheerleading, they got together a frequent amount during their romantic relationship.
In one instance, she said that she remembered changing out of her cheerleading outfit before they went out for dinner at a pizzeria. Once at the restaurant, known as Mater’s, she claimed that Moore ordered multiple bottles of Mateus Rosé and the two drank them together. When they’d go to other restaurants, she claims that Moore would order her cocktails.
The legal drinking age at the time in Alabama was 19-years old.
“If Mother had known that, she would have had a hissy fit,” she told the newspaper.
3. She Was 1 of 4 Women to Come Forward With Allegations Against Moore
Deason was one of four women who came forward with sexually-related allegations against Moore. The first is Leigh Corfman, who said she was 14-years old when she was first approached by Moore outside of an Alabama courtroom.
After exchanging contact information, Corfman alleges that he picked her up and kissed her on the first visit. On the second, she accuses Moore of taking off her shirt and removing her clothes. She said that he touched her over her bra and underwear and guided her hands to touch him in the groin region.
“I wanted it over with — I wanted out,” she said to The Post. “Please just get this over with. Whatever this is, just get it over.”
Corfman says that Moore took her home after the request.
Another woman, named Wendy Miller, said she was also 14 when Moore approached her and was 16 when he started asking her out on dates. She said that her mother didn’t agree to the relationship, but they went out for dates when she was 17 despite the disapproval. She claims that things never progressed past kissing.
Debbie Wesson Gibson also told The Post that she was 17 when Moore asked her on dates. Gibson said the two dated for around three months, and he’d often take her to his home, where he’d read poetry and played guitar for her. She claims that Moore kissed her once in his bedroom and also by a pool.
“Looking back, I’m glad nothing bad happened,” Gibson told the newspaper. “As a mother of daughters, I realize that our age difference at that time made our dating inappropriate.”
Of the women, Corfman was the youngest at the time and said her and Moore never had sexual intercourse.
4. Moore Has Denied the Accusations in Statements
In a statement directly to The Post regarding the allegations, Moore said they were completely false. He called the women’s stories “fake news” and a “desperate attack” by Democrats to ruin his campaign ahead of the December 12 special election.
These allegations are completely false and are a desperate political attack by the National Democrat Party and the Washington Post on this campaign.
Moore’s Senate campaign issued another lengthy statement following the story’s publication. It said that that “if any of these allegations were true, they would have been made public long before now.”
The allegations of sexual misconduct against Moore come amid an outpouring of women and men revealed they were sexually abused or harassed in the past. The hashtag #MeToo trended on social media for some time, encouraging accusers of the sexual misconduct to share their stories.
5. Both Sides of the Political Spectrum Have Called for Roy to Drop his Campaign
After the allegations were made public, both Republicans and Democrats on Capitol Hill have urged Moore to suspend his campaign. One of them is Republican Sen. David Perdue of Georgia, who advised Moore to “step aside” if the allegations are true.
Senate Majority Leader Mitch McConnell and other GOP lawmakers had much of the same things to say regarding Moore’s Senate campaign.
Among the most powerful statements came from Senator John McCain, who called the allegations “deeply disturbing and disqualifying.”
Many Democrats also chimed in with their thoughts on the Moore allegations in social media posts.