Republican Senate candidate Roy Moore faced criticism on Friday after soliciting donations based on reports he molested a 14-year-old girl.
In an email, he described the shocked reactions to the allegations as "an all-out war on our conservative values."
In the face of allegations that he sexually molested an underage girl, Roy Moore responds by...asking voters for money https://t.co/I4Sx1RelWy— Mark Follman (@markfollman) November 9, 2017
#RoyMoore is using allegations of child molestation as a platform for political fundraising. The year is 2017.— Pedro da Costa (@pdacosta) November 10, 2017
In a bombshell report by the Washington Post on Thursday, four women alleged that Moore pursued them when they were teenagers and he was an adult man. Leigh Corfman, who was 14 when she met Moore, then an assistant district attorney in Alabama, said he molested her.
Moore denied the allegations on Thursday before asking his supporters for donations. In his fundraising email, he called the allegations "the most vicious and nasty round of attacks against me that I've ever faced" at the hands of "the Obama-Clinton machine's liberal media lapdogs."
The former Alabama supreme court judge added that "the forces of evil are on the march in our country" and asked supporters, "Will you take a stand by chipping in a donation to let me know you've got my back in our all-out war against the Obama-Clinton machine?"
Meanwhile, right-wing media outlets and Republican politicians have jumped to Moore's defense amid the allegations, with Alabama state auditor Jim Zeigler comparing Moore's abuse of a minor to relationships portrayed in the Bible. "Take Joseph and Mary," Zeigler said. "Mary was a teenager and Joseph was an adult carpenter. They became parents of Jesus."
On his radio program, Fox News host Sean Hannity asserted that the "encounter" between Moore and Corfman was "consensual," before walking back the statement later and saying he was "not totally clear" in his remarks.
The age of consent in Alabama was and is still 16. A 14-year-old cannot legally consent to sexual activity, regardless of whether he or she participates in the activity willingly. In the state, sexual contact between an adult over the age of 19 with anyone between the ages of 12 and 16 is considered second degree sexual abuse.
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On social media, journalists and Moore critics shared their shock at the Senate candidate's use of the allegations as a fundraising opportunity as well as the brazen defenses of Moore from the right.
Wow. Roy Moore is fundraising off of sexual misconduct allegations. That takes a lot of very non-Ten Commandments like nerve. https://t.co/GN8aWHKQ6M— Joyce Alene (@JoyceWhiteVance) November 10, 2017
Instead of answering questions, instead of making an apology, resigning, changing his name -- instead of all of those things #RoyMoore is FUNDRAISING off of allegations he sexually abused a CHILD. Making money. Is this not sin stacked upon sin in the pursuit of power? https://t.co/WsMLs1TxTI— Nick Walden Poublon (@NWPinPDX) November 10, 2017
The GOP: Where 39-year-old Donald Trump Jr is "just a kid" but the 14-year-old Roy Moore sexually abused is an adult— Sarah Kendzior (@sarahkendzior) November 10, 2017
Would love to introduce the Sean Hannity who talked about Roy Moore to the Sean Hannity who talked about Anthony Weiner— Chase Mitchell (@ChaseMit) November 10, 2017