KELLY MCEVERS, HOST:
In the flood of powerful men who are facing allegations of sexual misconduct, here's another one - Roy Moore. He's the Republican nominee in Alabama for the U.S. Senate seat that was vacated by Jeff Sessions. Several women have told The Washington Post that Moore pursued them while they were teenagers in the '70s and '80s. They say they had varying levels of sexual contact with him when he was a district attorney in his early 30s. One of those women was below the age of consent. Leigh Corfman told The Washington Post she was 14 years old at the time. Here's Post reporter Stephanie McCrummen.
STEPHANIE MCCRUMMEN: Leigh Corfman told us that she first encountered Roy Moore in 1979 when she was 14 years old in a courthouse in Gadsden, Ala., with her mother. They were sitting on a wooden bench outside the courtroom when Roy Moore, who was then a district attorney, 32 years old, approached them, started chatting with them. And the mother was about to take her daughter inside the courtroom. And according to Leigh's mother, Roy Moore offered to look after her daughter.
When he was alone with her, he chatted with her. He got her phone number. And some days later, he called her. She says that he picked her up around the corner from her house. She says that he drove her about 30 minutes away to his home outside of Gadsden and that on the first visit there, she says that there was kissing and hugging.
And she says that he called her a second time, picked her up, took her to his home a second time. And during this visit, he removed most of his clothes. He removed most of her clothing. And she says he touched her sexually. She says that she was deeply uncomfortable, and she told us that she was just thinking about when this is going to be over and when can she get out of there.
MCEVERS: And these allegations are pretty starkly at odds with Roy Moore's public image. Is that right?
MCCRUMMEN: One could say that, yes.
MCEVERS: Right. Just describe what that public image is for people who don't know.
MCCRUMMEN: Well, Roy Moore is someone who has very proudly described himself as a Christian and a certain type of Christian. He's someone who, you know, made a name for himself by installing a monument to the Ten Commandments in the judicial building in the state capital of Montgomery and of course was famously dismissed from the bench when he refused a federal order to remove the monument. So he's someone who has become very popular in Alabama for standing up for, you know, his version of Christian values. And that's why he's become really a hero to many Alabama voters.
MCEVERS: His campaign has called these allegations a, quote, "baseless political attack." They point to the fact the special election he's in comes up in just over a month. How did you find these women, and did you have a sense that their telling their stories was politically motivated?
MCCRUMMEN: Not at all, Kelly. I was in Alabama actually reporting another story on Roy Moore supporters, a story aiming to understand, you know, the basis of his support in the state. And it was at the end of a long conversation with someone there that these allegations surfaced. So none of these women - none of the women in this story sought out The Washington Post. No one promoted this story to The Washington Post. And all of the women went through quite a long process deciding whether to come forward.
MCEVERS: And they don't know each other. Is that correct?
MCCRUMMEN: None of the women know each other, no. And the main woman in this story, Leigh Corfman, voted Republican in the last three presidential elections.
MCEVERS: Stephanie McCrummen of The Washington Post, thank you so much for your time.
MCCRUMMEN: Thank you.
MCEVERS: And after The Washington Post story went live today, Senate Majority Leader Mitch McConnell issued a formal statement, and he called on Roy Moore to withdraw from the special election in Alabama if the allegations in the story are true. Transcript provided by NPR, Copyright NPR.