The troubles for Alabama Senate candidate Roy Moore keep coming. A new report alleges t hat he was known for trolling his hometown mall in Gadsden, Alabama while in his 30’s, hitting on and picking up teenage girls. It is alleged that his behavior was common knowledge and that he was either “run-off” or banned from the mall.
This comes on the heels of previous accusations which have begun to pile up regarding his behavior when he was in his 30s:
The problem with Moore’s response thus far is that he has not actually said that he did not do these things. His defenders state that he has, but look carefully at Moore’s actual words. He has engaged in deflection, blaming the accusations on political motives. That is most certainly true (that the timing of the public release of the accusations is politically motivated), but he needs to address the accusations themselves rather than the timing of them.
In total, five women have come forward so far, accusing Moore of improper behavior.
What has Moore actually said about the accusations? It’s important to look at his actual words and not interpolate for him; he should be the one who says clearly “I did not do X.”
In the interview, Moore said: “These allegations are completely false, false and misleading.”
How can a report about something that supposedly did not happen be “misleading?”
Moore then added, “these allegations are just completely false.” However, since he has previously said that they are “misleading,” then it leaves room for him to call them “false.” Perhaps in his mind, these teenagers were “consenting” and not “minors” (more on this below), therefore the “allegations” of him forcing himself on them are “false” in his view of things.
Hannity also reference 17 and 18 year olds and asked, “Do you remember dating girls that young at that time?”
Moore replied, “If [I] did, you know, I'm not going to dispute anything but I don't remember anything like that.” How does a person not remember whether or not he dated high school girls while he was in his 30s? This should be a sure sign to people that Moore is not being completely truthful in his statements.
Hannity pressed Moore on whether he had “any girlfriend that was in her late teens even at that time.”
Moore came up with this nugget in response: “I don't remember that and I don't remember ever dating any girl without the permission of her mother. And I think in her statement she said that her mother actually encouraged her to go out with me.”
The “her” to whom Moore is referring is Gloria Thacker Deason. She was 18 at the time and Moore, earlier in his interview with Hannity, basically admits dating her, as he does at this point as well. The “allegation” which he seems to deny earlier is that he provided “intoxicating liquor to a minor.” It would be useful to know at what age Moore considers a person to be a “minor,” given that he was dating women as young as 14.
Throughout the interview Moore also simultaneously: denies knowing the women, says that each of them was a “good girl,” says that he was friends with one or more of them, says that their mothers encouraged them to be friends with him.
The net sum of all of is that Moore is not being completely truthful. Lying is stressful for most people, so rather than lie outright, they typically dance around the issue and make statements which attempt to get their listeners to make the connections for them. They do this by appealing to their present behavior (e.g. “I would never do X”), or to God (e.g. “I’m a good Christian man”), or to their background (e.g. “I’m a well-respected judge, etc…), or unrelated topics (e.g. “It was a dry county”). Or, they may denigrate their accusers. Look carefully at Moore’s interview for all of these tactics.
Yes, the timing of the accusations and the gusto with which they are being investigated are politically motivated. However, that has little bearing on whether or not they are true. Roy Moore needs to tell us clearly that he did not do the following:
- Molested a 14 year old girl
- Sexually assaulted a 16 year old girl
- "Dated” high school girls
He has not clearly said he didn't do these things. Instead, he has danced around the issue and basically admitted to having some sort of contact with these girls who are now women old enough to understand that there is something wrong with a 30-something man picking up high school girls.