Here in the Washington D.C. area, polite society has reached judgment on the allegations against Roy Moore, and moved on. Mitch McConnell, a political enemy of Moore, rendered the verdict. “I believe the women,” he said. He didn’t tell us what facts he had reviewed or why he believed all of them.
Ivanka Trump, who has a brand to protect, concurred, declaring:
There is a special place in hell for people who prey on children. I’ve yet to see a valid explanation, and I have no reason to doubt the victims’ accounts.
Doug Jones, Moore’s opponent in the Alabama Senate race, has converted this pronouncement into an effective political ad. The president’s daughter may help the Democrats pick up this seat.
Ms. Trump’s statement raises more questions than it answers, though. First: Is there a special place in hell for 30-somethings who date 17 year-olds? Without condoning the practice, I think most of us can agree there isn’t.
Second: Did Ivanka devote enough time and study to discerning “a valid explanation” or to finding evidence that would give her “reason to doubt the victims’ accounts? Her statement isn’t so much a rush to judgment as a rush to virtue signaling.
It turns out that there is substantial reason to doubt the account of Beverly Young Nelson. The evidence she presented — a yearbook allegedly inscribed by Moore — appears to have been doctored.
Leigh Corfman is the only other person to have accused Moore of anything beyond dating and/or wanting to hang out with girls in their late teens. She did not make her allegations of molestation for 38 years, until just before an election with national implications. She has had a rocky life and does not seem particularly stable.
Ivanka Trump feels this is “no reason” to doubt Corfman’s account. Maybe not. But now, there is documentary evidence that may provide such reason.
That evidence consists of court records. Recall that, in Corfman’s account, Moore first encountered her outside a courtroom in which her mother was to appear at a custody hearing. Her mother asked Moore to wait with her, and he allegedly used the opportunity to get her phone number. After that, Moore allegedly called her multiple times, arranged two meetings, and attempted to arrange a third.
The alleged phone calls all were made to the mother’s house (Leigh remembered taking them on a phone in her bedroom, but her mother says there was no phone in that room, which is almost surely correct). The alleged encounters all began with Moore picking her up in that neighborhood.
The Washington Post, which broke the story, says the court hearing occurred in February 1979. Aaron Klein of Breitbart News pinpoints the date — February 21 1979.
Here’s what the Post did not tell its readers. At the hearing, a judge ordered that Leigh Corfman move out of her mother’s house and take up residence with her father by March 4. In making this decision, the judge noted that Corfman had exhibited “certain disciplinary and behavioral problems.”
Did Roy Moore cram all of those alleged phone calls, encounters, and attempted encounters into the 12-day period before Leigh Corfman moved to her father’s house (assuming the court order was adhered to)? It’s possible. If Moore was obsessed with the girl, he probably would have moved fast.
Still, it would have been nice if the Post had presented the timeline to its readers. Then, Mitch McConnell, Ivanka Trump, and the rest of us could have evaluated the question of timing.
It would also have been good to know that Corfman had exhibited “disciplinary and behavioral problems” sufficient to swing a custody dispute before ever meeting Roy Moore. This information is relevant in at least two ways.
First, it may go to the reliability of Corfman’s account of what (if anything) happened between her and Moore. If Corfman was significantly troubled in February and March of 1979, can we trust her statement of what allegedly happened during this period. Or might she be inventing or embellishing?
Second, Corfman told the Post that her life spiraled downward after her alleged encounters with Moore. We now know that she had serious issues before then.
This doesn’t mean things didn’t get worse. Indeed, we would expect them to get worse if Moore behaved as Corfman says he did.
But there is evidence that things actually got better for her. According to Klein:
On May 5, 1980, which would have been after any alleged encounters with Moore, Wells [Corfman’s mother] filed a new petition to take back custody of her daughter. That petition stated that Corfman’s “disciplinary problem has improved greatly.”
Based on this statement, the judge agreed that Corfman’s mother should be granted custody.
Does this prove Corfman is lying about Moore? No. But taken as a whole, Klein’s report makes me question her account. The points Breibart raises should be weighed before reaching a conclusion about what, if anything, happened between Corfman and Moore back in 1979.
Assuming Mitch McConnell, Ivanka Trump, or anyone else in Washington or in the mainstream media is still interested in the facts.
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