The Alabama woman who has accused Republican U.S. Senate candidate Roy Moore of sexually abusing her four decades ago when she was 14 and he was 32 said Monday it took her decades before she regained her sense of trust and confidence in herself.
Leigh Corfman, now 53, told NBC’s “Today” show that she was “a 14-year-old child trying to play in an adult’s world” when Moore, then a local prosecutor, initiated the 1979 encounter with her.
“I was expecting candlelight and roses, what I got was very different,” she said. “I felt guilty. I felt like I was the one to blame. It was decades before I was able to let that go.”
Corfman’s accusations against Moore first appeared in The Washington Post more than a week ago, but her NBC appearance was her first televised account.
Corfman said she “didn’t deserve to have a 32-year-old man prey upon” her.
“I met him around the corner from my house, my mother did not know and he took me to his home,” Corfman said. “After arriving at his home on the second occasion that I went with him he basically laid out some blankets on the floor of his living room and proceeded to … seduce me, I guess you would say.”
She had told the newspaper that Moore took off her “shirt and pants and removed his clothes,” touched her over her bra and underpants and guided her hand to touch him over his underwear before she ended the encounter. She asked him to take her home, and he did.
Moore has repeatedly denied the accusations and rebuffed calls from prominent Republicans, including Senate Majority Leader Mitch McConnell, House Speaker Paul Ryan and two former Republican presidential candidates, Mitt Romney and Senator John McCain, to end his candidacy in the December 12 election. But the deadline to withdraw from the contest has long since passed and Republican calls for a write-in candidacy of anyone as an alternative to Moore have faltered.
Corfman’s allegations of sexual abuse against Moore, as well as those from another woman, and recollections of Moore’s pursuit of other teenage girls in the late 1970s, have dominated Moore’s attempt to win the contest in the southern state of Alabama against Democrat Doug Jones, a former federal prosecutor. The election is to fill the last three years of the Senate seat once held by Jeff Sessions, who resigned from it to join President Donald Trump’s Cabinet as attorney general, the country’s top law enforcement position.
Since the allegations first surfaced, Trump has largely avoided commenting on them, with the White House at first saying Moore should drop out of the race if the accusations were true. Trump had pushed for Republicans to nominate Luther Strange, the appointed senator now holding the seat, but when Strange lost to Moore in a party primary in September, Trump voiced his support for Moore on Twitter.
The White House signaled Monday it wants Moore to win the contest.
Trump adviser Kellyanne Conway, in interviews with CNN and Fox News, described Jones as a “doctrinaire liberal” who would vote against tax cuts the Trump administration is pushing Congress to adopt.
Asked if the White House was asking people to vote for Moore, Conway deflected the question, but said, “I’m telling you we want the votes in the Senate to get this tax bill through.”
Voter surveys in Alabama have shown that Jones has pulled ahead of Moore by about 5 to 8 percentage points.