Our Country Turns to You, Alabama
Like so many women in recent days, I’ve discovered a renewed interest in who and what I was at age 14.
My freshman portrait in my high school yearbook is smaller than most “forever” postage stamps. What a skinny, wide-eyed scaredy-cat I was back then. You could fit everything I knew about the world in one of the cups of my starter bra.
That was 1973.
Six years later, it was Leigh Corfman’s turn to be 14.
She says that’s when Roy Moore sexually assaulted her.
Moore was a 32-year-old assistant district attorney in Alabama at the time. Corfman says Moore pursued her — “stalked” strikes me as a better word for it — just days after meeting her with her mother.
From The Washington Post, which broke this story:
“He picked her up around the corner from her house in Gadsen, drove her about 30 minutes to his home in the woods, told her how pretty she was and kissed her. On a second visit, she says, he took off her shirt and pants and removed his clothes. He touched her over her bra and underpants, she says, and guided her hand to touch him over his underwear.
“‘I wanted it over with — I wanted out,’ she remembers thinking. ‘Please just get this over with. Whatever this is, just get it over.'”
Whatever this is.
Anyone even tempted to suggest she was a consenting child needs to absorb the meaning of those words. At 14, she didn’t even know how to make sense of what this man, who was more than twice her age, was trying to do to her.
You and I know.
Look away all you want. You and I, we know.
That same Washington Post story chronicled the accounts of three other women. They told the Post that Moore pursued them when they were between the ages of 16 and 18. One of them, Wendy Miller, says she was a 14-year-old Santa’s helper when she first caught his eye. She was 16 when he tried to date her.
Moore is now 70 and Alabama’s Republican nominee in the Dec. 12 special election for U.S. Senate.
He is hoppin’ mad at these women.
From his initial written statement: “These allegations are completely false and are a desperate political attack by the National Democrat Party and the Washington Post on this campaign.”
Don’t you love it when they try to swap out “me” with “this campaign”? Yeah, neither do I.
Besides, his campaign said in a later statement, if he’d really gone after these minors, this would have come out years ago. “Fake news,” he added.
A reminder: If it’s news, it isn’t fake. If it’s fake, it isn’t news.
This week, another woman — Beverly Young Nelson — came forward to say that she, too, was a 16-year-old victim of Roy Moore’s.
In an emotional televised statement, Nelson described how Moore offered her a ride home from her waitressing job but then pulled his car to the back of the restaurant.
“I was alarmed, and I immediately asked him what he was doing,” she said. “Instead of answering my questions, Mr. Moore reached over and began groping me and putting his hands on my breast. I tried to open my car door to leave, but he reached over and he locked it.”
She added this: “I thought he was going to rape me. I was twisting and I was struggling and I was begging him to stop.”
Moore finally gave up — with a warning. He was an important man in Etowah County, and she was “just a child.”
“He told me, he said, ‘You’re just a child,’ and he said, ‘I am the district attorney of Etowah County, and if you tell anyone about this, no one will ever believe you.'”
Nelson revealed her decades-old secret after Moore mocked his other accusers. She added that she voted for Donald Trump, to make clear that she was not politically motivated in going public now. I’m bone-weary of those fellow liberals attacking her for that. I don’t know why she supported an admitted sexual predator for president, but I don’t need to know. I hate what happened to her when she was only 16 years old.
The national Republican machine is finally pulling out of Moore’s race. Many GOP leaders now call for him to step aside. Quite a sight, that one, watching those Republican members of Congress discover their spines. Without anesthesia, even.
So far, Moore refuses to budge.
And so we turn to you, voters of Alabama. Your country needs you.
Imagine the message for every girl in America if Roy Moore is elected to the U.S. Senate.
You know the right thing to do here.
You and I, we know.
Connie Schultz is a Pulitzer Prize-winning columnist and professional in residence at Kent State University’s school of journalism and can be contacted at firstname.lastname@example.org.