Local residents: Moore was known for flirting with, dating teenage girls
Residents of the county where GOP Senate candidate Roy Moore was once the assistant district attorney say it was common knowledge that he would flirt with and try to date teenage girls, The New Yorker and Alabama news source AL.com reported Monday.
Local residents told AL.com that Moore had a reputation for approaching teenage girls long before last week’s bombshell Washington Post report alleged he initiated a sexual encounter with a 14-year-old girl when he was in his early 30s.
One woman, Wendy Miller, told AL.com that Moore approached her at a local mall in 1977, when she was 14 and working there as a Santa’s helper, echoing the stated experience of one of the women from the Post’s report.
She said that Moore told her she looked pretty and asked her out two years later, when she was 16, but her mother wouldn’t allow her to go on the dates.
“Him liking and dating young girls was never a secret in Gadsden when we were all in high school,” Sheryl Porter, an Etowah County resident, told AL.com. Moore was the assistant district attorney for the county in the late 1970s and early 80s.
“In our neighborhoods up by Noccalula Falls we heard it all the time. Even people at the courthouse know it was a well-known secret,” Porter said.
Another longtime Gadsden resident, Blake Usry, told the publication that he knew several girls that Moore had approached at the mall.
Usry said that when he was a teenager, he often saw Moore cruising.
“He would go and flirt with all the young girls,” he said. “It’d seem like every Friday or Saturday night [you’d see him] walking around the mall, like the kids did.”
“These stories have been going around this town for 30 years,” Usry added. “Nobody could believe they hadn’t come out yet.”
Residents also told The New Yorker that rumors about Moore’s behavior had circulated for years.
Jason Nelms, who visited the Gadsden Mall often when he was a teenager, told the magazine that managers at the movie theater used to joke about keeping an eye on kids that would hang out outside the building.
“Anyway, when asked why they had to keep an eye outside, they said that some older guy had been trying to pick up younger girls. They didn’t go beyond that but one of the concession workers whispered to us later that it was Roy Moore he was talking about,” Nelms said.
Greg Legat, who worked at a store in the mall in the early 1980s, said that his bosses had told him to keep an eye out for Moore.
The new reports come just hours after Beverly Young Nelson became the fifth woman to come forward with misconduct allegations against Moore, saying he sexually assaulted her when she was 16.
GOP leaders, including top Senate Republican Mitch McConnell (Ky.), are calling on Moore to drop out of the race following the allegations. Republican Sens. John Cornyn (Texas), Mike Lee (Utah) and Ted Cruz (Texas) have all rescinded their endorsements, and Cruz said Moore should face criminal prosecution if the claims are true.
Sen. Cory Gardner (Colo.), the chairman of the Senate GOP campaign arm, says the chamber should expel Moore if he wins the special election next month.
Moore is facing off against Democrat Doug Jones in the race for the Senate seat once held by Attorney General Jeff Sessions (R). The vote is scheduled for Dec. 12.