On Wednesday night, The Washington Post published the accounts of women who worked at Alabama Senate candidate Roy Moore’s local mall, where he was reportedly banned. Moore, the women allege, routinely used the mall as his stalking ground.
Gena Richardson, one of the women who spoke to The Post, shared a story that is consistent with the stories of Moore’s other accusers. Moore, in his 30s, began pursuing Richardson when she was 17-years-old and a clerk in the mens department at Sears. His predatory behavior was so well-known, one of Richardson’s managers apparently warned new hires to “watch out for this guy.”
Moore persistently asked to date Richardson, which she repeatedly refused because her father, a Southern Baptist preacher, would have never approved. Moore was unrelenting, however, and at one point called Richardson when she was in class at Gadsden High:
“I said ‘Hello?’” Richardson recalls. “And the male on the other line said, ‘Gena, this is Roy Moore.’ I was like, ‘What?!’ He said, ‘What are you doing?’ I said, ‘I’m in trig class.’”
When Richardson finally agreed to go on a date with Moore, it ended in a nightmare situation and one that recalls Beverly Nelson’s description of her encounter with Moore. Nelson alleged that Moore groped her and attempted to force her head into his crotch after he offered her a ride home from work. Richardson told The Post that after she saw a movie with Moore, he offered to drive her to her car. When she tried to get out of his car, Moore forced himself on her:
“I just explained to him that my dad’s a minister, and you know, I just can’t sneak around because that’s wrong,” she recalls. “So I thanked him and started to get out and he grabbed me and pulled me in and that’s when he kissed me.
“It was a man kiss — like really deep tongue. Like very forceful tongue. It was a surprise. I’d never been kissed like that,” she says. “And the minute that happened, I got scared then. I really did. Something came over me that scared me. And so I said, ‘I’ve got to go, because my curfew is now.’”
Richardson’s account was corroborated by Kayla McLaughlin, who also worked at Sears and attended Gadsden High School. Phyllis Smith, who also worked in the mall during the 70s, detailed the techniques girls would use to avoid a scouring Moore. “Just make yourself scarce when Roy’s in here, he’s just here to bother you, don’t pay attention to him and he’ll go away,’” Smith recalled her teenaged coworkers saying.
Separately, two other woman described their experience with Moore in an interview with AL.com. Tina Johnson, who was 28-years-old at the time, said that Moore groped her when she was at his law office to sign custody papers:
Once the papers were signed, she and her mother got up to leave. After her mother walked through the door first, she said, Moore came up behind her.
It was at that point, she recalled, he grabbed her buttocks.
“He didn’t pinch it; he grabbed it,” said Johnson.
Another woman, Kelly Harrison Thorp, said she was 17-years-old when Moore approached her to go on a date. Thorp recalled asking Moore if he knew how old she was, to which he reportedly responded: “Yeah. I go out with girls your age all the time.”
Meanwhile, Moore has continued to deny the accusations. One of his lawyers, Phillip Jauegui, even suggested that Moore’s signature in a yearbook belonging to Nelson was forged. In an open letter to Sean Hannity, who has defended him, Moore claimed his accusers were a part of some orchestrated conspiracy to ruin his campaign.
“A month prior to the general election for the U.S. Senate in Alabama, I have been attacked by The Washington Post and other liberal media in a desperate attempt to smear my character and defeat my campaign,” his letter read. “I adamantly deny the allegations of Leigh Corfman and Beverly Nelson, did not date underage girls, and have taken steps to begin civil action for defamation.