#MeAt14 shows how hideous Moore's case is

Will Moore bow to calls to quit AL senate race?
Will Moore bow to calls to quit AL senate race?


    Will Moore bow to calls to quit AL senate race?


Will Moore bow to calls to quit AL senate race? 03:29

Story highlights

  • Areva Martin: As kids, we're taught to respect our elders: to obey police, teachers and people in positions of authority
  • That's why the Moore allegations are disgusting: that he could have used his position to prey on vulnerable teens, she writes

Areva Martin is a CNN legal analyst, a civil rights attorney and managing partner of Martin & Martin LLP in Los Angeles. The views expressed in this commentary are solely those of the author.

(CNN)Just when I thought the sexual harassment and assault allegations against men such as Harvey Weinstein, James Toback and Louis C.K. couldn't get any more repulsive or any creepier, I then hear the sickening allegations swirling around Alabama senatorial candidate Roy Moore, and learn that I am wrong. Five women have now come forward to accuse the judge of pursuing them or sexually abusing them as teenagers, with one of the victims, Leigh Corfman, claiming she was just 14 years old when the then 32-year-old Moore drove her to his house in the woods, and then kissed and inappropriately touched her body.

"I wanted it over with -- I wanted out," Corfman told the Washington Post she remembers thinking at the time. "Please just get this over with. Whatever this is, just get it over."
Areva Martin
In response to the Moore allegations, I was one of many women who posted pictures of myself at age 14 using the twitter hashtag #MeAt14, a social media movement begun to give Moore's die-hard supporters a visual aid as to just how young 14 is, and just how reprehensible Moore's alleged behavior was.
    To allow Moore to serve in the Senate sends a message to victims of sexual harassment and abuse that men in positions of power can act with impunity. It also normalizes adult relationships with teenagers. Fourteen-year-olds cannot consent to any kind of relationship with an adult without criminal implications. It's time to stop giving men like Moore the benefit of the doubt.
    And just in case Moore's defenders, who are growing fewer but more dug-in, need an even clearer picture, I remember what it was like to be a 14-year-old girl, filled with doubt and insecurities, experiencing the adolescent changes going on with my body. I remember enjoying jumping rope, roller skating, singing in the church choir, reading Jane Austen novels, hanging out with my friends— all the things a kid likes to do. Nowhere on my list of preferred activities, or that of my friends, was being pursued by a grown man in his 30s!
    As kids, we're taught to respect our elders: to answer to and obey police officers, teachers and people in positions of authority. That's what makes the Moore allegations so disgusting: that he could have knowingly used his position as a district attorney in Alabama to prey on vulnerable teen girls and intimidate them into silence.
    Areva Martin
    That's exactly the scenario described by Beverly Young Nelson, who says when she was a 16-year-old waitress in Gadsden, Alabama, Moore offered her a ride home, then sexually assaulted her in his car. After the alleged assault, Nelson says Moore used his position as a district attorney to scare her into silence.
    Nelson recounted at a Monday press conference that Moore allegedly said, "You're a child. I am the district attorney of Etowah County and if you tell anyone about this, no one will ever believe you." Moore has denied the allegations made in the Post and by Nelson.
    Moore's interests in very young girls when he was a district attorney seems to be corroborated by Teresa Jones, a former prosecutor who once worked alongside Moore in the early 1980s. Jones told CNN it was well known at the time that Moore dated high school girls and that people wondered why someone his age would be at high school football games or the mall.
    In a move that is either politically savvy or a rare display of political courage, Senate Majority Leader Mitch McConnell, joined by several of his Senate colleagues, has said he believes Moore's accusers, and has called on the former judge to drop out of the race. This is an important first step for McConnell. But it is hardly enough.
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    McConnell and every member of the United States Senate owes a duty to this country to prevent Moore from ever representing this country. Alabama Republicans and white evangelical Christians who are standing by Moore and concocting illogical explanations — comparing his relationship with a 14-year-old to that of Joseph and Mary — are entitled to their opinions, but they are not entitled to allow an alleged predator to be part of the Senate. As a senator, Moore would not just represent Alabama, he would be drafting and voting on laws that impact the entire country.
    We are at an inflection point in this country in the battle to end sexual assault and harassment. The spate of allegations against powerful men in Hollywood, the tech industry and even local and state governments have ignited new forms of activism and scrutiny of how sexual harassment complaints are treated and the consequences that predators face.
    There is a tremendous amount of work that needs to be done, but Moore's presence in the Senate would be like the proverbial slap in the face to victims and activists who have taken a stance against sexual assault and child molestation.