MONTGOMERY, Ala. (CN) – Leigh Corfman, who accused Roy Moore of molesting her when she was 14, sued the twice-dismissed Alabama Supreme Court judge and his Senate campaign Thursday, accusing them of defamation.
Corfman, who claims “that Mr. Moore sexually abused her in 1979 when she was a 14-year-old high school freshman and he was a 32-year-old assistant district attorney,” seeks no money other than legal fees, in her lawsuit in Montgomery County Circuit Court. She demands only retraction of Moore’s allegations that her statements were “false and malicious,” and a public apology.
“Mr. Moore has not stopped denigrating Ms. Corfman or prioritizing his political ambitions over the truth,” the complaint states. “To the contrary, he has sought out the broadest of public forums to impugn Ms. Corfman.”
Corfman’s lead counsel is Melody Eagan with Lightfoot, Franklin & White in Birmingham, assisted by Covington & Burling in New York City.
Moore lost the Dec. 12 special election for U.S. Senate by 20,700 votes to Doug Jones, who became the first Democratic senator from Alabama in a generation. Moore refused to accept defeat, claiming massive vote fraud, though his lawsuit was rejected and Moore took the oath of office Wednesday, with appointed Minnesota Democratic Senator Tina Flint Smith, reducing the Republicans’ control of the Senate to a single seat, 51-49.
Corfman was one of nine women who spoke up during the campaign to accuse Moore of molesting or annoying them when they were teenagers and he was in his 30s and a prosecutor. Corfman’s accusations were the most graphic.
She said during the campaign, and in her 29-page lawsuit, that she met Moore in the Etowah County courthouse in 1979. She said she went out with Moore twice, after he called her. She was 14 and he was 32.
“On the second visit to the house, Mr. Moore sexually abused Ms. Corfman,” she says on page 2 of the lengthy complaint. “He provided Ms. Corfman with alcohol, flattered her, laid blankets and pillows on the floor, and took off her and his outer clothing. Wearing only undershorts, Mr. Moore touched Ms. Corfman’s private parts through her bra and underpants and guided her hand to touch his penis. Ms. Corfman resisted Mr. Moore and asked him to take her home.”
Corfman said she “immediately told friends,” one of whom she identifies in the lawsuit, and eventually her mother.
“Until Fall 2017, Ms. Corfman did not disclose her experience with Mr. Moore beyond friends and family because of fear of retaliation and other personal circumstances, including a desire to protect her children,” the complaint states.
Moore denied the allegations, and the complaints from other women.
The Washington Post published Corfman’s allegations on Nov. 9. On the next day, Moore denied them in an interview with Fox News’ Sean Hannity.
“I don’t know Ms. Corfman from anybody,” Moore said. “I’ve never talked to her, never had any contact with her. Allegations of sexual misconduct with her are completely false. I believe they’re politically motivated.”
Corfman says that statement, and others by Moore, are defamatory.
Moore was dismissed from the state supreme court twice for religiously linked reasons, once for refusing to remove a multi-ton Ten Commandments monument from courthouse grounds, and the second time for ordering state officials not to issue same-sex marriage licenses, in defiance of the U.S. Supreme Court.
Corfman says in her lawsuit that Moore’s claim that she denounced him as a ploy to support Democrats’ dirty tricks also is defamatory, an attack upon her character.
“Mr. Moore made these statements knowing they are false,” the complaint states. “Alternatively, if Mr. Moore does not remember Ms. Corfman — including perhaps because he pursued other minors and teenagers when he was in his 30s — he made these false statements with reckless disregard of their truth.”
Should the case go to trial, the question of whether Corfman is a public figure will sure be brought up. Public figures must prove actual malice to prevail in defamation lawsuits.
Corfman also claims that the campaign ordeal caused her to take a leave of absence from her job, costing her lost wages.
She published an open letter to the Moore campaign on Nov. 28, asking them to stop damaging her name. She never received a reply.
During the campaign, pastors and political leaders traveled to Alabama to say that the allegations against Moore were political smears. President Donald Trump also endorsed him.
Corfman says she was not paid for speaking out, nor was she part of any political campaign.
“Ms. Corfman is a private citizen whose only motivation is to clear her name and to stop Mr. Moore and the Moore Campaign Committee from continuing their defamatory attacks on her,” the complaint states. “Ms. Corfman wishes that defendants had heeded her requests to cease their defamation of her and seeks judicial intervention as a last resort to hold defendants accountable for their misconduct.”
Days after the allegations of sexual misconduct surfaced in November, the Moore campaign threatened to sue Alabama’s largest newspaper consortium, Alabama Media Group. Moore demanded a retraction, which the newspapers refused.
Neither the Moore campaign nor Moore’s nonprofit, The Foundation for Moral Law, responded to requests for comment on Corfman’s lawsuit.