By Chip Brownlee
Alabama Political Reporter
The Alabama Republican Party is sticking by Senate hopeful Roy Moore, but some of the party’s younger members are distancing themselves from the controversial candidate after several women levied accusations of sexual misconduct against him.
The Greater Birmingham Young Republicans, a group which represents young republicans between the ages of 18 and 40, voted Thursday to censure and revoke its support of Roy Moore.
“Roy Moore has yet to provide credible evidence or explanation to discredit these allegations,” the resolution reads. “The Greater Birmingham Young Republicans believe in innocence until proven guilty but not electability until proven guilty.”
The resolution went on to call for the Alabama GOP Steering Committee to censure and revoke Moore’s status as a candidate. Despite calls from national Republican leaders, the ALGOP decided Wednesday at a committee meeting to stick by Moore.
“The ALGOP Steering Committee supports Judge Roy Moore as our nominee and trusts the voters as they make the ultimate decision in this crucial race,” ALGOP chairwoman Terry Lathan said in a statement Thursday.
Moore faces off against Democrat Doug Jones in a Dec. 12 special election.
At least three women have come forward alleging Moore sexually assaulted them. Leigh Corfman was 14, younger than the age of consent in Alabama, when she says Moore, 32 at the time, initiated sexual contact with her at his home outside of Gadsden in 1979, according to a Washington Post report.
Beverly Young Nelson was 16 when, in 1977, Moore offered her a ride home from the Gadsden restaurant she was working at. Instead of taking her home, she alleges he drove behind the restaurant, parked by a dumpster and tried to assault her — including trying to force her head into his crotch — before leaving her bruised on the ground after she refused his advances.
Moore, who turned 30 in 1977 and was an upstart prosecutor working in the Etowah County District Attorney’s Office, has blanketly denied the allegations, though he has only specifically denied the allegations levied by Nelson and Corfman.
“I adamantly deny the allegations of Leigh Corfman and Beverly Nelson, did not date underage girls, and have taken steps to begin a civil action for defamation,” Moore wrote in an open letter to conservative talk show host Sean Hannity. Moore has ignored questions from the media about the accusations and has said he isn’t able to comment further because of the possibility that his attorneys may file defamation lawsuits against AL.com and the Washington Post.
Tina Johnson, who spoke with AL.com, said Moore “grabbed” her buttocks after a meeting in his Gadsden law office in 1991. Moore was already married to his wife, Kayla Moore, in 1991.
Four other women, who were between the ages of 16–18 at the time of their accounts, have said Moore approached them repeatedly and persistently in Gadsden between 1977 and 1981, asking them on dates and eventually taking some out — adding to allegations that Moore had a penchant for pursuing women quite his junior.
Moore has long been a contentious and divisive figure both in Alabama and on the national stage, having been removed twice from the state’s highest court for defying federal court orders. He was removed in 2003 for refusing to take down a 2-ton granite Ten Commandments monument, and again last year for defying the U.S. Supreme Court’s same-sex marriage ruling.
“Roy Moore has a record of failed governance and jurisprudence as evidenced by his being removed from the office of Cheif Justice of Alabama,” the GBYR resolution reads.
The GBYR said they are “committed to protecting women and children from similar acts of sexual misconduct” and urged anyone who has been a victim to call an assault counseling hotline at 1-800-650-6522.