Though Alabama's GOP Senate nominee Roy Moore and his supporters call allegations that he "dated" teen girls when he was in his 30's politically-motivated fake news, people from Gadsden, where Moore lived at the time of the allegations, say they remember him "badgering" girls.
In a report by The New Yorker, multiple locals claimed they remember Moore being banned from The Gadsden Mall when he was the assistant district attorney to Etowah County "because he repeatedly badgered teen-age girls." Two of the women who accused Moore of dating them when they were teens and he in his 30's said they met him at that mall.
The claims come from a variety of sources -- "five members of the local legal community, two cops who worked in the town, several people who hung out at the mall in the early eighties, and a number of former mall employees" -- and many said they'd heard "rumors" about why he wasn't welcome at the mall. A number spoke on the condition of anonymity, though a few went on record.
Greg Legat, a former employee at the mall, recalled an interaction with J.D. Thomas, a Gadsden police officer and security guard who told him to keep an eye out for Moore, who was already banned by the time Legat began working at the mall in 1981. He said he believes Moore was banned from the mall around 1979.
"'If you see Roy, let me know. He’s banned from the mall.’" Legat told The New Yorker of his exchange with the security guard. “'If you see Moore here, tell me. I’ll take care of him.'" Legat also said his supervisor at the mall told him to watch out for Moore.
"The general knowledge at the time when I moved here was that this guy is a lawyer cruising the mall for high-school dates,” a Gadsden police officer said. "I heard from one girl who had to tell the manager of a store at the mall to get Moore to leave her alone."'
Another officer said that although he voted for Moore and "liked the guy at one time," his comments in the wake of the allegations have left a sour taste in his mouth.
"The thing about how he’s never dated anybody without their mother’s permission, that appalled me," the second officer told The New Yorker. "That made me want to throw up. Why would you need someone’s permission to date somebody?"
"I’m probably gonna write-in Luther Strange," the officer concluded.