The Washington Post on Thursday published an explosive report in which four women said Alabama Senate hopeful Roy Moore initiated relationships with them when they were teenagers and he was in his early 30s. Moore, a former judge who is the Republican candidate for Senate in Alabama, has denied the allegations.
Two women say Moore kissed them, one when she was 17 and the other when she was 18; one woman says Moore repeatedly pursued her when she was 16, to the point that her mother denied Moore permission to date her; another woman says when she was 14 and he was 32, Moore took her out, kissed her, and undressed her, touching her over her bra and underwear while he "guided her hand to touch him over his underwear," the Post wrote.
Daniel Dale, the Washington correspondent for the Toronto Star, has been asking local Republican officials in Alabama what they make of the allegations. Almost everyone Dale spoke to defended Moore — though some more stridently than others. Marion County GOP Chairman David Hall dismissed the accusations, telling Dale that the story told by the woman who was 14 at the time was irrelevant because "she's not saying that anything happened other than they kissed." When Dale pushed back, citing the woman's claim that Moore touched her sexually, Hall was unfazed:
Bibb County GOP Chairman Jerry Pow told Dale that he would still cast his vote for Moore "because I wouldn't want to vote for [Democratic candidate Doug Jones]. I'm not saying I support what he did." Mobile County GOP Chairman John Skipper, meanwhile, said he believed the accusations reported by the Post were "bunk" because if they were true, Skipper said Senate Majority Leader Mitch McConnell (Ky.) — who opposed Moore in the state's Republican primary — would have publicized them.
Read more of what Dale heard from local Alabama officials responding to the allegations against Moore here.