FIRST ACCUSER IN: Counting the Washington Post's accusers!


Part 3—One accuser, or four?
On Friday morning, November 10, Leigh Corfman became first accuser in.

In that day's hard-copy Washington Post, a front-page report described Corfman's accusation against Roy Moore. Back in 1979, Moore molested her, Corfman said, when she was 14 years old.

The Post's report had appeared on-line on Thursday, November 9.

We know of no reason to doubt Corfman's accusation. That said, should her claim have been believed right away, or should wiser heads perhaps have waited a day or three to see what else might occur?

We would have voted for the wisdom of delay. In part, we recalled Kathleen Willey, whose accusation against Bill Clinton had produced a stampede of heartfelt belief in March 1998.

In the ensuing months and years, other events brought Willey's credibility into rather obvious question. Too late! The lovesick boys of the mainstream "press" had long since professed true belief.

Why else would have voted for the wisdom of delay? We also remembered the accuser in the Duke lacrosse case. Beyond that, we recalled the stampede of belief in Jackie, the accuser at UVa.

We recalled the disaster of the McMartin and other preschool cases. We recalled the way accusers were rashly believed back in Salem Village.

As a general matter, it seems to us that it makes sense to wait at least a couple of days before professing belief in serious claims against people, even against people you'd like to defeat in elections you don't otherwise know how to win. But back on November 10, Corfman's accusation was received in the traditional way:

In many pseudoliberal warrens, her accusation set off a stampede of heartfelt belief. This stampede included silly name-calling directed at those who suggested delay.

Let us say it again! We know of no reason to doubt Corfman's statements. Assuming her statements are acurate, we're glad she decided to push back this week against Moore's persistent denials.

Also this:

Three days later, on November 13, Beverly Nelson Young became second accuser in. She accused Moore of a violent sexual assault, an assault she said he committed when she was just 16 years old. By normal standards of reasoning, this second claim served as "supporting evidence" in support of the first accusation—although, of course, a second claim can't typically serve as proof of the first.

We know of no reason to doubt Corfman's claim. That said, some accusers do come forward with claims which are utterly false. With that in mind, it seemed to us that it made good sense—indeed, that it still makes good sense—to acknowledge the difficulty of assessing such claims.

The part of our brains which wants to stampede despises such nuance and niceties. This brings us to a peculiar part of that initial Post report, the report which appeared on November 10.

That Post report didn't present a stand-alone claim by Corfman. To many stampeding eyes, the report included four accusers, not just one.

In effect, many stampeders believed the Post had presented three supporting witnesses. Because it's all anthropology now, it's worth exploring that perception, which launched a thousand claims.

Clearly, that initial Post report included at least one main accuser. From its headline on down, the report centered on Corfman's accusation—an accusation we know of no reason to doubt.

("Woman says Roy Moore initiated sexual encounter when she was 14, he was 32")

Corfman's accusation formed the centerpiece of that Post report. But the Post quoted three other women by name—women who said they had interacted with Moore during the period on question.

We know of no reason to doubt their claims, though we might disagree with some aspects of their current judgments. More significantly, it's worth considering the journalistic judgment of the Washington Post, and the judgment of the stampeding mobs who began to cite these additional women as accusers.

Corfman was accusing Moore of a statutory sexual assault. Three days later, Nelson accused Moore of a violent sexual assault.

Each woman was accusing Moore of committing a serious felony. By way of possible contrast, the other three women in that first Post report were accusing Moore of taking them out on dates, or of asking them out on a date!

Indeed, he hadn't just taken them out on dates. In the case of two of these "accusers," he'd taken them out on dates with their full consent, and with the enthusiastic permission of their mothers! And not only that:

In the course of several months of dating, Moore had kissed two of these women—had done so several times! These were the people the Post presented, apparently as additional "accusers" in support of Corfman's account.

Wild horses of the Osage will be angry with us by this point. They'll feel that we're omitting the point that does, in fact, define these additional woman as accusers.

They'll claim that Moore's misconduct becomes clear in the Post's full account of their accusations. With that in mind, here is one such account from the Post's report:
MCCRUMMEN, REINHARD AND CRITES (11/10/17): Gloria Thacker Deason says she was 18 and Moore was 32 when they met in 1979 at the Gadsden Mall, where she worked at the jewelry counter of a department store called Pizitz. She says she was attending Gadsden State Community College and still living at home.

"My mom was really, really strict and my curfew was 10:30 but she would let me stay out later with Roy,"
says Deason, who is now 57 and lives in North Carolina. "She just felt like I would be safe with him. . . . She thought he was good husband material."

Deason says that they dated off and on for several months and that he took her to his house at least two times. She says their physical relationship did not go further than kissing and hugging.

"He liked Eddie Rabbitt and I liked Freddie Mercury," Deason says, referring to the country singer and the British rocker.

She says that Moore would pick her up for dates at the mall or at college basketball games, where she was a cheerleader. She remembers changing out of her uniform before they went out for dinners at a pizzeria called Mater's, where she says Moore would order bottles of Mateus Rosé, or at a Chinese restaurant, where she says he would order her tropical cocktails at a time when she believes she was younger than 19, the legal drinking age.

"If Mother had known that, she would have had a hissy fit," says Deason, who says she turned 19 in May 1979, after she and Moore started dating.
The key point there is supposed to be Deason's age. During the several months when she dated Moore, she was 18, then 19 years old. He was 32.

Is it a good idea for someone who's 19 to date a man who's 32? Our nation's Dimmesdales have always known how to answer such questions.

Setting that question aside for another day, we'll lay out the apparent structure of the Post's initial report:
Central accusation: When I was 14, Roy Moore met me behind my mother's back and committed a statutory sexual assault on my person.

Supporting accusation: When I was 19, Roy Moore dated me for several months, kissing me several times. My mother, who was thrilled, was hoping we'd get married.
To what extent does that second accusation sound like supporting evidence? To what extent does it sound like an "accusation" at all?

Because it's all anthropology now, we'll be exploring that second question all next week. We'll do so through an exploration of American culture as of 1979—the year when the film Manhattan was widely acclaimed, one year after Pretty Baby appeared to some minor critical clatter.

For today, we'll only say this. That "supporting accusation" almost sounds like the type of witness statement a defense attorney might have presented in court had Moore been charged with a crime for his alleged treatment of Corfman.

In the "accusations" by the two women Moore dated, he snuck around behind nobody's back; he barely so much as kissed them. In what way would these accounts support the claim that he had molested a 14-year-old at some point this same year?

We know of no reason to doubt Leigh Corfman's account. We know of no compelling reason to doubt Beverly Young Nelson's account.

Each woman has accused Moore of a serious crime. But in that original report, the supporting witnesses accused Moore of taking them out on dates and of kissing them several times as their mothers cheered him on.

Because it's all anthropology now, the way we liberals stampeded in the wake of these supporting stories may tell us more about ourselves than it does about Roy Moore. With Donald J. Trump careering more and more toward his upcoming nuclear war, none of this really matters any more. But if we might borrow what Luther once said:

If we knew Donald Trump would be ending the world today, we would continue to work in our anthropological garden.

We think the Post showed some shaky journalistic judgment in the way it presented that first report. This helps explain why Donald J. Trump is now in a position from which he may soon end the world.

As for our own self-impressed liberal tribe, we started our self-impressed "resistance" after Trump was elected and sworn. According to many anthropologists, we slept soundly for several decades before we started stampeding.

Tomorrow: One quick additional question

Next week: Welcome to your nation's culture in the last mid-century


  1. Yeah, but Fox and Republicans are worse so they should be the subject of discussion.

  2. Somerby apparently thinks that legal activities mitigate illegal ones, perhaps even disprove them.

    He thinks that because Moore "dated" some girls who were very young, but of age, it is no big deal that he is also accused of "dating" some who were too young, committing felonious sexual assault.

    Somerby doesn't appear to be able to understand that human behavior occurs within a context. He doesn't understand that there are norms for human behavior. Those norms describe what is statistically average or typical and what is deviant. People as a society also describe what they consider deviant and they make laws to reduce behavior that is considered not just odd but also harmful to others.

    When Moore "dates" too young girls, he is doing something that is harmful TO THEM. He is breaking the law. But when he "dates" young girls, he is also showing a pattern of behavior that is part of his own sexual life, part of who he was back then. He reveals himself through those actions.

    That's why most people consider his barely legal activities to be part of a pattern that supports the accusations against him. As Somerby notes, there is no reason not to believe those accusing him of the felonies. There is also no reason not to believe he attempted to date barely legal girls. Those latter activities provide the context for the accusations against him. That means they ARE support for the accusations because behavior doesn't occur in a vacuum, even if such activities are not admissible in court. Public opinion is not a court of law and it does not operate based on strictly legal principles. People form their judgments based on all of the evidence available with respect to the credibility of accusations.

    Somerby wants us to be legalistic. Why? It goes against the way people function in life. It makes it seem like Somerby has some special reason for defending Moore, either because he is a conservative with sympathy for that party's goals, or because he himself knows what it is like to prefer very young girls and believes that there but for fortune might he go. Neither is a very appealing explanation for why Somerby has leaned over backwards to urge that the press not hold Moore accountable for past behavior that is bad for children.

    1. Lol yes, older men pining for fertile young women. So deviant and abnormal.

      Your line of reasoning is the same for the long history of distrusting perverts and sexual deviants like homosexuals and transvestites. Yet here we are today celebrating their bravery in the face of sexual and social norms. GTFO with your faux Victorian morality, tis ridiculous.

    2. Yes, older men pining for fertile young women, who happen to be children, is deviant and abnormal.

      Aren't you late for your NAMBLA meeting? Are the sister wives keeping your dinner warm for you?

    3. lol yeah right after I drop by the folsom street fair with my 13 year old gender queer child, playboy and britney spears "baby hit me one more time" cd in hand. free condoms from the "abstinence education is stupid" center of progressive liberation in my back pocket

      the left has 0 room to speak on sexual degeneracy and youth and you know that.

      "troll harder" as they say

    4. 10:23 PM,
      Nice. That's why I never listen to the cries of "Lock her up!", from people who wave away Wall Street fraud. Those people have 0 room to speak about criminality/ the penal system, and everyone knows that.

    5. Children are by definition not fertile. Whatever, Moore is a psychological deviant in Moore ways than one.


    6. Take that back. 14-year olds, fertile or not, are children. I was speaking cynically from the point of view of our long evolutionary history, and child-marriage has been a long and storied part of that. Check your Bible!

      I wonder: what is the true origin of age-of-consent laws? I briefly researched it, and ran across this:


      What I didn’t glean from the article was whether this social evolution was secular or religious.

      I’m guessing secular. Cuz those religious folks, well, they can justify just about any goddamn thing with the Bible. No puzzle, I suppose, coming from the Bible. Bronze-Age primitive tribes, at least as far as the glorious Old Testament goes.

      Sorry for any confusion on my stance on this issue.


    7. oh look it came from the same people who were also for prohibition. in other words: victorian moralists. if the left wants to suddenly become social conservatives, feel free but kiss off with the condescension unless you want to go after perverts and sexual deviants on your own side, otherwise it is blatant tribalism and really rather dull and just as insane as birtherism or "obama is a muslim antichrist" boomers.

      to recap: the side who has been fervently pushing the limits of expressionable sexuality, publicly and privately, since at least the 60s are now suddenly upset over a 13 or 14 year difference in dating? And of legal age? no, they don't get to do that. its ridiculous. its no different than "he's a faggot, of course he can't be a boy scout, he's predisposed to molest the children!"

  3. This isn't about the speed with which the press published the accusations about Moore. Somerby is upset because they published them at all.

    He keeps saying that there is no reason to disbelieve the accusations against Moore, then he goes on to suggest that those accusations be suppressed. Why? Because some accusations in the past turned out to be mistaken. Somerby ignores the many more accusations in the past that have been correct. Accusations against grown men who have abducted young teens (because God told them they should be together), raped them, held them captive. More often than not, accusations made by these very young girls against grown men are correct, accurate, true. Somerby doesn't think that fact merits mention. He doesn't think the young girls in question are real people with their own rights, concerns, desire to prosecute the men who harmed them. He doesn't seem to be able to empathize with them at all -- or with any of the women harmed by men in these latest accusations now receiving public attention. He focuses only on the rights of the guys.

    Sad to be able to empathize with only half of the population -- the half with a penis. What would Malala say?

    1. Perhaps men are inherently incapable of understanding why being kissed and groped are harmful to women? Perhaps they believe at some level that such attentions should be welcomed, should be appreciated, because after all, what have the women lost?

      What have they lost, besides autonomy, control over their own bodies, the right to say yes or no, their hopes for job and promotion based on merit, the prospect of being taking seriously in their career, the ability to look their boss and others in the eye thereafter, the sense of not having a defiled body, trust in men in general, and the ability to relax and enjoy relations with other men (especially a spouse or boyfriend), and the ability to admire a coworker who has turned out to be a creep, the ability to encourage other women to work there, and the sense that they are interesting or desirable for their intellect and ability and not for their bodies. That's what men take from women when they engage in a little "innocent" groping.

      But hey, women have no sense of humor. They should lighten up and not ruin some guy's career just because he flirts a little in the workplace. They're just out for a payday they haven't earned. And who's to say these things even happened? Not Somerby.

    2. "...then Somerby goes on to suggest that those accusations be suppressed"

      We must thank you for signaling your insanity so early and so clearly, Anonymous of 11:12.

    3. Nona, Somerby is complaining because these accusations are being discussed in the press so soon after being made. To hold them and not discuss them in public would amount to suppression of them. It would also deny those women access to the press in favor of more powerful men who are being accused. They have the right to make their claims in public, just as the men have the right to provide their side of things to the press.

      Somerby seems to think no such accusations should be aired until proven, but he doesn't think any proof is possible, so it amounts to not airing them at all, which is suppression in my opinion. But hey, call me crazy if it makes you feel better.

    4. "Somerby is complaining because these accusations are being discussed"

      No, not "because" are being discussed. It is the facts about the particular, peculiar way they are being discussed which is problematic.

      Your reading comprehension is poor, or your will to misrepresent is strong -- it hardly matters which...

  4. "This helps explain why Donald J. Trump is now in a position from which he may soon end the world."

    Stop being a zombified moron, Bob.

    The psycho-witch banksters' asslicker is a far more likely world-ender than the Donald.

    Listen to Susan Sarandon, she understands...

    1. Жанна КогулькоNovember 30, 2017 at 12:30 PM

      ор, укравший ноутбук профессора шведского университета Umeå, вернул все его содержимое на флэшке. Когда профессор обнаружил пропажу ноутбука, он впал в состояние шока, ведь там были записи 10 лет работы. Однако вор оказался настолько порядочным, что некоторое время спустя вернул профессору флэшку, куда была скопирована вся информация.

  5. Well Bob, you're wrong that Moore did not sneak around the 14 year old's mother's back...Her story was that the arrangement Moore made was she would leave the house on a pretext and he would pick her up at a nearby intersection.

    1. Unknown writes:

      "Well Bob, you're wrong that Moore did not sneak around the 14 year old's mother's back..."

      Try again- you've completely missed the point that Somerby was making. Here's what he wrote at the head of this thread:

      [QUOTE] Central accusation: When I [Leigh Corfman] was 14, Roy Moore met me behind my mother's back and committed a statutory sexual assault on my person.

      Supporting accusation: When I [Gloria Thacker Deason] was 19, Roy Moore dated me for several months, kissing me several times. My mother, who was thrilled, was hoping we'd get married.

      To what extent does that second accusation sound like supporting evidence? To what extent does it sound like an "accusation" at all?...

      For today, we'll only say this. That "supporting accusation" almost sounds like the type of witness statement a defense attorney might have presented in court had Moore been charged with a crime for his alleged treatment of Corfman.

      In the "accusations" by the two women Moore dated [Gloria Thacker Deason and Debbie Wesson Gibson], he snuck around behind nobody's back; he barely so much as kissed them. In what way would these accounts support the claim that he had molested a 14-year-old at some point this same year?...

      Each woman [Leigh Corfman and Beverly Nelson Young] has accused Moore of a serious crime. But in that original report, the supporting witnesses accused Moore of taking them out on dates and of kissing them several times as their mothers cheered him on.... [END QUOTE]

    2. He snuck around with the 14 year old because what parent in their right mind would allow a 14 year old to date a 32-year old man?

      The other women are not evidence of sneaking around but of his attraction to women far younger than his own age. They exemplify his interest in barely legal girls. It doesn't matter whether the moms thought he was a catch or not. The grown man's interest in teenage girls is the issue.

      CMike, why are you quoting again? It wastes space. Just summarize the point you want to make.

    3. Why am I quoting again? In part to aggravate you.

    4. libs: children and or teenagers CAN pick where they are on the gender spectrum, take hormones and perhaps have gender reassignment surgery, abort their unwanted fetuses, become heavily sexualized pop stars and actresses, if 18 also become strippers and pornographic actresses, encouraged to become consumers of this heavily sexualized media, have the cognizance to take tens of thousands of dollars in tax payer guaranteed student loans per year, have access to free birth control, etc, etc.

      libs: teenagers CAN'T choose who they want to date, especially older conservative white men.

      Oh and guys in their 30s are supposed to repress every evolutionary instinct to reproduce with fertile women by only being interested in older women. OH, AND homosexuals and transvestites are totally not sexual deviants and should be celebrated in main stream media and continued exposure to young children, who remember can then decide if they are gender queer as well. But its NOT OK if their sexuality disposes them to want to date an older straight guy. Specifically a straight guy, dating an older woman lesbian or transvestite is actually encouraged, like Rachel Maddow has been doing happily for, I think, over a decade.

    5. "Why am I quoting again? In part to aggravate you."

      Like any normal troll.

  6. Somerby misrepresents the original Washington Post article. The article did not say that the statements by the women (aside from Ms Corfman) were "accusations" of wrongdoing or that the women were "supporting witnesses." The reporters very clearly state that the other women allege no wrongdoing, but that they [the women] found the episodes "troubling as they got older" and that "they thought it was important for people to know about their interactions with Moore." (Are these the "aspects of their current judgment" that Somerby disagrees with? We must respect The Others, but call their judgment into question when the blogger disagrees with it?)

    And who was it that said "I believe the women" (emphasis on the plural)? None other than Mitch McConnell.

    I actually think a more interesting story here is the way right wing evangelicals, who tried like hell to bring down Clinton for his so-called sex crimes, are so willing to overlook very credible allegations of child molestation against one of their own. Talk about tribalism.

    1. Evangelical Christianity is the religion of bigots who send their kids to private school due to the horrors of desegregation.
      It has nothing to do with sexual mores.

  7. Moore is a God-bothering, religious wackadoodle. That alone should disqualify him from being anywhere near the levers of governmental power.
    The chasing of 14-year olds is just good-time fun for pointing out the hypocrisy of right-wing religious liars (remember, these same assholes needed feinting couches because Bill Clinton had a consensual sexual-affair with an adult).
    I even had someone try to deny that Evangelical Christians were just in it for the bigotry, and they really, really have a problem with sexual perversions. Can you imagine? Maybe this person was used to talking to the stupid liberals Somerby is always going on about, but any rational thinking adult isn't going to fall for such blatant bullshit.

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