One of the strangest allegations leveled against U.S. Senate candidate Roy Moore (shown) of Alabama is that he was “banned” from a shopping mall in Gadsden, Alabama, in the late 1970s for allegedly “trolling” for young women. As with similar accusations that have been lodged against Moore, the candidate has denied the charge.
In this case, the mall manager from 1981-1998, Barnes Boyle, told local TV station WBRC late last week that Moore was never banned from the mall.
“Sure, it’s part of the job, yeah. We did have written reports and things, so, but to my knowledge, he was not banned from the mall,” Boyle told WBRC, A Fox affiliate. News anchor Janet Hall found Boyle after The New Yorker magazine ran a story citing rumors that Moore had been banned, finally conceding, “We cannot confirm that,” in regard to the magazine’s charges.
The New Yorker began digging for information on the allegations that Moore pursued teenage girls at a time he was in his early thirties. Moore has been married for almost 33 years, and has four children and five granddaughters. As Snopes — a fact-checking Internet site which is regarded as having a general liberal bias — noted, “The report, however, is based on sources recalling a rumor, in some cases.”
Snopes contacted mall officials, who told them that they do not have any records that date back that far.
The New Yorker reporter Charles Bethea appears to have based much of his story on either rumors, hearsay, or anonymous sources who asked that he leave their names out of his article.
Teresa Jones, who was a deputy attorney in Etowah County (where Moore was later a judge) in the 1980s, told CNN that she had heard a “rumor” that Moore was banned.
While it is generally conceded that Moore did date young women more than a decade younger than himself when he was in his early thirties, he has strongly denied the allegations involving legal misconduct or the dating of “underage” girls. “I adamantly deny the allegations of Leigh Corfman [who accused Moore of dating her when she was only 14) and Beverly Nelson [who has charged that Moore tried to get her to perform a sexual act on him when she was just 16].”
Moore, in a letter to Fox News host Sean Hannity, said he had “taken steps [toward] a civil action for defamation.”
One person who might wind up testifying in any such civil action is Darrel Nelson, the stepson of Beverly Young Nelson. Darrel Nelson told Breitbart News that his stepmother’s allegations are “one hundred percent a lie,” adding, “I know for a fact that there is a lot that that woman does not tell the truth on. Do I think that Beverly Nelson is trustworthy? No, I really don’t. Could I see her making it up?... The odds are in that favor.”
Nelson added that neither Beverly nor his own father ever mentioned the claims against Moore, despite the fact that Moore has been a highly prominent public figure in Alabama for several years. Moore was also the judge in Beverly Nelson’s divorce case several years ago.
Nelson is the only one of the accusers who has offered any physical evidence against Moore. She showed her high school yearbook to reporters, claiming that Moore had signed it. Moore’s lawyer, Phillip Jauregui, asked Nelson’s lawyer, Gloria Allred, to release the book to a “neutral custodian” so that a “professional expert” could examine it to determine whether the signature was genuine.
Allred, however, has refused, saying they would be happy to allow a Senate committee to examine it after the election, were Moore to be elected. When CNN’s Wolf Blitzer asked Allred why she could not just permit an independent expert to take a look, Allred explained, “Well, uh, all I can say is we want it done in a professional setting to the extent possible, that’s the only setting in which people can testify under oath.”
There are clearly unsettled facts in this case. All of this will have to be sorted out by the voters of Alabama. While the allegation that Moore was banned from a shopping mall will not likely be proven or unproven, it might help the Alabama electorate make a more informed decision if the yearbook were subjected to an independent analysis — before the election.
Photo: AP Images