Leigh Corfman, the first woman to accuse failed U.S. Senate candidate Roy Moore of sexual misconduct, is suing him for defamation.
In a story published in The Washington Post in November, Corfman told of dating Moore in 1979, when she was 14 and he was 32. She said that at one point they were alone together in his home and he touched her in a sexual manner and attempted to make her do the same to him.
Moore, the homophobic former chief justice of the Alabama Supreme Court, called Corfman’s allegations “politically motivated,” “completely false,” and “malicious.” He denied ever having known her and said he took a polygraph test to back up that statement. But the accusations by Corfman and other women, along with Moore’s extremist record, help derail his Senate ambitions. Moore, the Republican candidate, lost to Democrat Doug Jones in a December special election.
Moore’s comments about Corfman were defamatory, she claims in the suit, filed today in Montgomery County, Ala., the Post reports. The suit “represents a fledgling legal strategy where people who say they were victimized long ago are litigating their claims through defamation lawsuits,” the paper notes. “The strategy allows them to proceed even after the statute of limitations has run out for criminal charges or for lawsuits seeking damages for sexual abuse, as it has in Corfman’s case.” Women have also sued Donald Trump and Bill Cosby for defamation after those men claimed the women were lying when making accusations of sexual abuse.
She issued a statement saying the suit allows her “to do what I could not do as a 14-year-old — hold Mr. Moore and those who enable him accountable,” according to the Post. Corfman seeks no financial compensation besides her legal expenses, her attorney, Neil Roman, told the paper. She instead seeks “ a declaratory judgment of defamation, a public apology from Moore, and a court-enforced ban on him or his campaign publicly attacking her again,” the Post reports.
Brett Doster, a spokesman for Moore, responded to the suit by telling the Post, “We look forward to transparently discussing these matters in a court of law.”
Several other women have said Moore sought relationships with them when they were teenagers, including one who accused him of sexual assault.