More Than a Dozen Alabamians Say Roy Moore 'Repeatedly Badgered Teen-Age Girls,' Reporter SaysÂ
Roy Moore has vigorously denied he has ever committed any sexual misbehavior while not wholly denying he dated teenaged girls when he was in his 30's. In fact, in a Friday interview with Fox News' Sean Hannity, designed to give him the opportunity to clear his name, Moore did the opposite: "IÂ dated a lot of young ladies," Moore said. He added that he "generally" did not date girls under 18, and added he always gotÂ their mother's permission first.
Monday evening The New YorkerÂ published a stunningly detailed report: "Locals Were Troubled by Roy Mooreâ€™s Interactions with Teen Girls at the Gadsden Mall."
In his article,Â Charles Bethea reveals the many conversations he had with locals from Roy Moore's home town. Using the Washington Post's bombshell report last Thursday as hisÂ starting gÂ pointÂ Bethea notes that two of the four women who went on the record to say Moore pursued them "say that they first met Moore at the Gadsden Mall," and notes that "theÂ PostÂ reports that several other women who used to work there remembered Mooreâ€™s frequent presenceâ€”'usually alone' and 'well-dressed in slacks and a button-down shirt.'"
And despite many local Alabamians who spokeÂ with CNN and MSNBC over the past few days insisting that Moore is innocent until proven guilty and insisting that if he had done anything inappropriate with teen girls people would have known, it turns out they did. Or at least they say they heard.
"This past weekend, I spoke or messaged with more than a dozen peopleâ€”including a major political figure in the stateâ€”who told me that they had heard, over the years, that Moore had been banned from the mall because he repeatedly badgered teen-age girls,"Â Bethea writes in The New Yorker.
"These people include five members of the local legal community, two cops who worked in the town, several people who hung out at the mall in the early eighties, and a number of former mall employees," he adds.
And there's plenty more. Some excerpts:
â€œSources tell me Moore was actuallyÂ banned from the Gadsden Mall and the YMCAÂ for his inappropriate behavior of soliciting sex from young girls,â€ the independent Alabama journalist Glynn Wilson wrote on his Web site on Sunday.
Teresa Jones, a deputy district attorney for Etowah County in the early eighties, told CNN last week that â€œit was common knowledge that Roy dated high-school girls.â€ Jones told me that she couldnâ€™t confirm the alleged mall banning, but said, â€œItâ€™s a rumor Iâ€™ve heard for years.â€
59-year old Greg Legat worked at the mall from 1981-1985.Â
Legat says that he saw Moore there a few times, even though his understanding then was that he had already been banned. â€œIt started around 1979, I think,â€ Legat said. â€œI know the ban was still in place when I got there.â€ Legat recalled a Gadsden police officer named J. D. Thomas, now retired, who worked security at the mall. â€œJ. D. was a fixture there, when I was working at the store,â€ Legat said. â€œHe really looked after the kids there. He was a good guy. J. D. told me, â€˜If you see Roy,Â let me know. Heâ€™s banned from the mall.â€™Â â€ Legat recalled Thomas telling him, â€œIf you see Moore here, tell me. Iâ€™ll take care of him.â€™Â â€
That former police officer, J.D. Thomas, "declined to discuss the existence of a ban on Moore at the Gadsden Mall."
â€œI donâ€™t have anything to say about that,â€ he said.
Two Gadsen police officers "I spoke to this weekend," Bethea writes,Â "both of whom asked to remain unnamed, told me that they have long heard stories about Moore and the mall."
â€œThe general knowledge at the time when I moved here was that this guy is a lawyer cruising the mall for high-school dates,â€ one of the officers said.
To all those folks who insisted that if there was something going on with Roy Moore, people would have heard about itÂ before now.
And yet thatÂ apparently didn't stop Roy Moore.
And that's why we have a free press.
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