I don’t know whether or not Roy Moore actually did the things he is accused of doing, but unlike some, I actually care.
I have seen innumerable statements on Facebook, comment sections of articles, and so on, stating that Christians conservatives are really hypocritical for supporting Moore. This is interesting, because from the very beginning, I’ve seen many conservatives ready to give weight to the accusations, and those who ‘supported Moore’ did not support Moore so much as dispute the idea that just because the WAPO reports something, it must be accepted. Here is one of my favorites, especially this bit:
If the allegations are true? Well, of COURSE. If the allegations are true, the citizens of Alabama ought to do more than politely request that Moore step out of the race. If the allegations are true, they ought all to pitch in, buy the world’s biggest frying pan, fill it with about half a foot of piping hot bacon grease, and fry the good judge a deep brown on both sides.
Now I will admit it—that previous paragraph was a tad flamboyant. But I put it that way for a purpose. A defense of the presumption of innocence ought never to be read as a defense of the guilty. If he is guilty of this, he deserves everything he is getting and more.
Exactly right. Indeed, I saw one of my own points put pretty well on an internet comment, to the effect of, “Of course conservatives will throw Moore under the bus if he is guilty. That’s the difference between conservatives and liberals. Conservatives toss their perverts; liberals stand by them.” Again, the question is whether or not the charges are true. Already, I’ve noticed quite a few on the conservative side stepping away from Moore, including Rush Limbaugh, perhaps, whose comments seemed to suggest that he was inclined to think Moore was guilty as charged.
Anyway, this whole thing has prompted an interesting development re: sexual allegations, in that after decades of sticking up for Bill Clinton and deriding the women who accused him of RAPE, the rank hypocrisy is so profound even they cannot miss it. But that will have to be another topic, perhaps, because my purpose in this essay is to ask people who instantly believed the WAPO whether or not they really had a sound basis for doing so. That is the heart of all such accusations: are they true?
My target audience is not those who backed Moore, who backed him initially but no longer do, but those who leapt to “we must believe the women!” Who–coincidentally?–all seemed to be liberal atheists.
Let us lay out the basic outline of what transpired.
Roy Moore, a Christian conservative who liberal progressives especially detest, was accused just a few weeks before an election, of various sexual misdeeds that occurred nearly 40 years ago, 38 to be exact. These accusations were made in a Washington Post article, the WAPO being a ‘news’ outlet that is notorious in its left-leaning bias.
We are given the names of some of the women: Leigh Corfman, who says she was 14 at the time.
Moore’s first encounter with Corfman was with her mother present. Pretty brazen move, for Moore, I’d say. In support of this accusation, one anonymous source and Betsy Davis, allegedly childhood friends, are reported to have told the WAPO that they recall Corfman telling them only “that she was seeing an older man.” According to the article, Corfman’s own mother was not told until “the mid-1990s”. Corfman recalls certain details, only some of are things we can corroborate (he called her on HER phone number). We are told Moore touched her intimately, over her clothes, while he himself was also down to his under garments. We are not, naturally, supposed to ask why it was that Corfman thought it a good idea to go on a car ride with Moore, nor what might have prompted Moore to think Corfman would welcome such advances; we’re not supposed to read into her (boasts?) that “she was seeing an older man.” We are not supposed to give any weight to the fact that, after she asked to be taken home, Moore did so without objection.
The WAPO is not curious about this, and neither, evidently, are the liberal atheists who accepted this depiction on its face.
We are then told of other incidents by women who found Moore’s attention “flattering at the time” but who also remained silent about their ‘troubled’ views as they grew older. WAPO says: “None of the three women say that Moore forced them into any sort of relationship or sexual contact.” No one wonders why, if this is the case, that we’re hearing about it at all. We are told that the WAPO interviews more than 30 people. By my count, only about 6 names are actually listed in the article as references.
We are told that none of the women knew each other, and that they did not approach the WAPO, but rather WAPO approached them. We are not supposed to be curious how the WAPO found out about them, if indeed the women kept the matters to themselves over the years.
To sum it up, we have a highly partisan news outfit–the WAPO–magically coming up with 4 ‘reluctant’ women just before an election, who give us their word that they are telling the truth, corroborated by a couple of mothers who offer mild corroboration, and 30 unnamed people–all of whom, I suppose, have motives as pure as the wind driven snow. Just like the WAPO!
And this is what liberal atheists believed instantly.
Since the article, there is one more woman who has come forward, assisted by the completely unpartisan Gloria Allred.
Again, we aren’t supposed to be curious about how this managed to unfold so quickly after 4 decades of nearly complete silence. But we do have the emotional testimony which indeed sounds compelling. Nelson said that Moore tried to grope her and then when she resisted she says that he says, and I quote, “You’re just a child,’ …. ‘I am the district attorney of Etowah County and if you tell anyone about this, no one will ever believe you.'” Pretty good memory, right?
She remembers all sorts of stuff: “Mr. Moore was wearing brown hush puppies on his feet.”
We are told the name of the restaurant, “the Olde Hickory House.” Interestingly, Beverly Nelson has a yearbook where Roy Moore evidently wrote, “To a sweeter more beautiful girl, I could not say, ‘Merry Christmas.'” [signed] “Roy Moore, D.A.”.
She remembers other details: it was after her shift at 10 p.m.., which we are told is when the restaurant closed. It was cold. Her boyfriend was late. Moore happened to walk out at the same time, and saw her waiting, and offered to take her home. She describes where Moore parked. She gives a pretty vivid and detailed account of what then transpired. Very detailed stuff!
She said she left after her shift was over, which is the same time the restaurant closed. We are led to believe she had been sitting there for some time (no one pressed her on it), as her boyfriend was late. No one seems to wonder how it is that Moore was leaving a restaurant that was closed, and had been closed long enough for at least some of the workers (Beverly) to have already left and then sit around for a bit.
She says in her statement that Moore would stay until closing often, but this seems to be a late departure by Moore even on this view. And besides, wouldn’t he be seen by others leaving so late? Or are we to believe that she was not only ending her shift, but she was the last person on the premises–besides Moore, who exits AFTER she leaves AFTER the restaurant is closed.
Then there is the thing about the yearbook. The following picture is provided:
This is interesting corroboration. But I have questions.
If you are going to sign a yearbook, why would you list the date? Its a YEARBOOK. One already has a good idea of the date, no? Why would anyone say, “Merry Christmas” and then repeat himself one word later, with “Christmas 1977”? This redundancy is compounded by yet another redundancy with Moore not only telling us it is “Christmas 1977” but ALSO 12-22-77. And now this is bizarre–why does a man who is the DA think that after putting DA after his name, he thinks he needs to jog her memory further by putting the name of the restaurant?–which just happens to be the ‘scene of the crime.’ How lucky for Beverly to have such corroborating documentation!
And yet, this lucky corroboration begs another question. What kind of dumb ass DISTRICT ATTORNEY writes something as incriminating as this in the yearbook of a woman he later assaults? How stupid would one have to be? Speaking of stupid, Moore was actually the ASSISTANT District Attorney. An ADA would not generally represent himself as a DA.* It is easy to gloss over the fact that Young claimed that Moore said he was the DA (“I am the district attorney of Etowah County”), suggesting that she was young and ignorant, and anyway, it was a traumatic incident. However, a few weeks earlier in the calm of the restaurant, the older and well-educated Moore would know how to sign his name: Roy Moore, ADA.
I note, too, that the rest is in cursive, but the date and name of the restaurant is printed.
Something doesn’t smell right about this yearbook signature, but at least its some kind of documentary evidence. And she does say that she is willing to testify under oath, which is great. But what she really needs, like the other women in the WAPO post, is a good cross-examination. Ah, but what poor luck for them… the statute of limitation has expired for all of them. No justice for them is available… only a fortuitously timed assassination of a man’s reputation.
Now I want to be clear. For all I know, these women are telling the God’s honest truth. I do not know them, and I do not know Moore. I do not live in Alabama, so I don’t have to make a judgement here. My complaint is the one I already made, where people are alleged to be sexual predators and then either, A., allowed to continue their predation for decades because no one presses charges on them or B., they are deprived of any ability to clear their name if they are falsely accused. If we find a way to verify these charges, I will be happy to join the flock of denouncers.
I am just very curious to know why atheists will believe accounts that are 4 decades old. Who can remember things like “Mr. Moore was wearing brown hush puppies on his feet.” after 40 years? Do 14 year olds in 1979 have their own telephone numbers? Where is the skepticism from the avowed skeptics?
Could some atheists please explain to me why we can trust these 40 year old accounts coming from two sources (Allred and the WAPO) who are known to be biased? Who can believe anything this detailed and specific after so many years, presented at such a suspicious moment?
Much appreciated. The comment section is yours. Thanks!
* I thought this was the case, but I chatted with some I know who works at the level of a state supreme court to see if my assessment was accurate, and without knowing why I was asking, affirmed it.