02:40 - Source: CNN
Sex allegations rock Alabama Senate race

Story highlights

Brother says Roy Moore "wasn't a dater"; he can recall Moore dating only his wife

One woman said she'd vote for Moore even if the allegations are true

CNN  — 

Many Roy Moore supporters in Alabama have dismissed or downplayed The Washington Post report that Moore pursued sexual relationships with teenage girls when he was in his 30s.

In a series of tweets, Moore denied the allegations and said he would “NEVER GIVE UP the fight” for the US Senate seat, casting his candidacy as a “spiritual battle” in which Democrats and the media seek to silence him.

CNN spoke to Alabamians about the allegations against Moore. Here’s how they said they are dealing with the accusations.

Kathy Sisson, friend of the mother of one of Moore’s accusers

Sisson, a Republican, told CNN she has heard the rumors about Moore.

“It was common knowledge, you just steered away from him,” Sisson, a Gadsden, Alabama resident, told CNN. “You just knew that things took place.”

Sisson said she is a close friend of Nancy Wells – the mother of Leigh Corfman, who accused Moore of initiating a sexual encounter with her when she was 14 years old. Sisson said Wells confided in her in the 1990s about Corfman’s alleged encounter.

“I never told anybody because it was in confidence,” Sisson said. “But because of that, I knew I would never vote for the man.”

Mike Allison, pastor

Mike Allison, pastor of Madison Baptist Church, said he knows Moore as “a man of integrity,” he told CNN.

“I don’t even believe the allegations. There’s lots of fake news going around these days,” he said. “They’re allegations. How can he even defend himself against 40-year-old allegations? You used to be innocent until proven guilty.”

“I support him now more than ever,” he said.

Jamie Holcomb, Methodist reverend

“I’ve known him my whole life and I’ve never known him to do anything inappropriate,” said the Rev. Jamie Holcomb, of Young’s Chapel Congregational Methodist Church in Piedmont.

He said that he’d need to see more proof before he changed his mind.

“I stand behind him 100%, unless there’s proof,” he said. “If (his accusers) are found to have been assaulted, I’ll be the first to condemn it.”

“If true, he needs to resign,” he added.

Former Alabama Chief Justice and US Senate candidate Roy Moore speaks at a rally in Fairhope, Alabama.

Tim Huddleston, Republican voter

Tim Huddleston said he is a Republican who votes Republican.

“If they’re true, that’s bad (and) he needs to step out of the race, there’s no question of that,” he said. “The problem you have is all of a sudden – whether you’re Democrat or Republican – you can’t come in 30 days before the election and say here are some unsubstantiated allegations.”

“It would take so much research and questioning and lie detector tests and whatever to determine whether there’s validity behind it,” he said.

Dottie Finch, Moore supporter

“At first, I really wasn’t sure how I felt about the situation,” said Dottie Finch, “but then I look at it this way: I don’t have the best past, and to have it be brought up after years of speculation and never anything being said about it, I don’t know just because he’s trying to prove himself that now people want to come out of the closet and accuse him of things.

“And if it has happened, I believe the good Lord has forgiven him and he has the right to continue to prove himself.”

She said that she stands by him “100%” and that she will continue to support him even if the allegations are true.

“I think that would just be between him and his good Lord,” she said. “Even if they prove to be true, I still would support Roy Moore because I feel as if that happened in the past.”

She added, “I would power forward and keep on supporting him, just like I have with Donald Trump as our president.”

Bill Armistead, Roy Moore’s campaign chair

01:15 - Source: CNN
Merrill: Disqualifying if Moore claims are true

Moore campaign chair Bill Armistead said that The Washington Post editorial board had endorsed Moore’s opponent and engaged in a “systematic campaign to distort the truth.”

“Judge Roy Moore is winning with a double-digit lead. So it is no surprise, with just over four weeks remaining, in a race for the US Senate with national implications, that the Democratic Party and the country’s most liberal newspaper would come up with a fabrication of this kind.

“This garbage is the very definition of fake news and intentional defamation,” he added.

Jim Zeigler, state auditor

Alabama state auditor Jim Zeigler used Biblical examples to argue that Moore’s relationships were not inappropriate.

“Take the Bible: Zechariah and Elizabeth, for instance,” Zeigler said. “Zechariah was extremely old to marry Elizabeth and they became the parents of John the Baptist. Also take Joseph and Mary. Mary was a teenager and Joseph was an adult carpenter. They became parents of Jesus. There’s just nothing immoral or illegal here. Maybe just a little bit unusual.”

In the Bible, Joseph was the husband of Mary, but Jesus is conceived through the Holy Spirit. Although Joseph is often popularly depicted as an old man and Mary as a youthful virgin, the Bible does not explicitly mention their ages.

Zechariah and Elizabeth, the parents of John the Baptist, are both described in Luke as “well stricken in years,” according to the King James Bible.

Jerry Moore, brother of Roy Moore

Roy Moore’s brother claims Democrats “are definitely behind” the allegations against the Senate candidate.

“God is taking care of it. It’s false allegations,” Jerry Moore said.

His brother “wasn’t a dater,” Jerry Moore said, adding that he doesn’t recall Roy Moore dating anyone but his wife.

Carol Callis, Republican voter

Callis, a Gadsden resident, said she has known Corfman for years, but that she only learned of the alleged encounter from Washington Post story. Callis voted for Roy Moore in the primary. She said she wouldn’t be doing that again.

“Before I’m a Republican, I am a mother of daughters,” she said. “I can’t vote for him now. I just can’t.”

Alphonso Bradford, voting for Moore

“I don’t think he’s done nothing like that,” said Alphonso Bradford, who said he plans to vote for Moore. “Why didn’t it come up seven to eight months ago when he was running? All of a sudden two weeks from now, all this stuff comes up. I believe it’s a lot of BS. I really do.”

“I don’t believe it’s true,” he added. “I really don’t.”

Bruce Jenkins, pastor

Pastor Bruce Jenkins of Young’s Chapel Congregational Methodist Church said he’s known Moore to be a fair man.

“I don’t know what’s happened in this country where a man isn’t innocent until proven guilty,” he said. “It’s not fair to comment until it’s proven or disproven.”

“It’s a pretty convenient time for this to come out, and it has not changed my opinion and won’t, unless true,” he added.

David Hall, Marion County GOP chair

Marion County GOP chair David Hall told The Toronto Star that the allegations were irrelevant because of the time that has passed.

“It was 40 years ago,” he told the Star. “I really don’t see the relevance of it. He was 32. She was supposedly 14. She’s not saying that anything happened other than they kissed.”

Jerry Pow, Bibb County GOP chair

Jerry Pow, the Bibb County Republican chairman, also told The Toronto Star that he would still vote for Moore over his Democratic opponent, Doug Jones.

“I would vote for Judge Moore because I wouldn’t want to vote for Doug. I’m not saying I support what he did,” Pow said.

Christopher Word, attorney

Christopher Word, an attorney in Gadsden, said his opinion on Moore’s candidacy hasn’t changed – but that was “more so to do with Doug Jones than Judge Moore himself.”

“Whatever he did 40 years ago is irrelevant to the person he is now,” Word said. “He could be the single most conservative in the US Senate. If anyone is going to work to clean up the mess … it’s him.”

CNN’s David Wright, Chris Youd, Ann Roche, Alex Marquardt, Ella Wilkie, Miranda Green, Daniel Burke, Ashley Fantz, Erica Henry and Kyung Lah contributed to this report.