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That time Roy Moore refused to convict a child molester who abused a 4-year-old

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Roy Moore has had a month or so to forget. Last week, the Washington Post broke the news that he sexually pursued a 14-year-old girl back when he was in his 30s. Since then, a total of five women have accused the Alabama senatorial candidate of harassment and abuse.

The allegations speak for themselves, although one case Moore recently heard as a state judge—when he refused to convict a child molester who abused a 4-year-old—sheds light on his backward views of sexual assault.

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In 2015 when Moore was chief justice of the Alabama Supreme Court, he and eight other judges heard the case of Eric Lemont Higdon, a 17-year-old childcare worker accused of raping a four-year-old boy in his care. A local court convicted Higdon on two counts of sodomy, one for statutory rape and another for forcible rape. An appeals court later overturned the forcible rape charge, and the case eventually reached the state Supreme Court.

Eight of the justices in Montgomery ruled that the appeals court had erred and voted to leave the two convictions as originally ruled. The one judge who dissented? Roy Moore.

Alabama’s archaic definition of “forcible rape” requires that the victim fear for his or her life or suffer severe injury, and Moore, a strict constructionist in the tradition of Antonin Scalia, saw no evidence of this in the Higdon case. He wrote, “because there was no evidence in this case of an implied threat of serious physical injury…or of an implied threat of death, Higdon cannot be convicted of sodomy in the first degree ‘by forcible compulsion.’”

In Moore’s view, the child was not injured in the course of the assault (at least not according to Alabama’s narrow definition, which ignores the psychological damage and trauma sexual assault victims can suffer), and because the 4-year-old trusted Higdon, he was not afraid for his life.

Ever the small-government literalist, Moore wrote in his dissent that “although this may be a noble cause in certain situations, policymaking is beyond the role of this Court.” He feared the Higdon ruling would set a precedent that could muddy future cases of nonconsensual sex between children: “This Court has potentially opened the door to cases in which a 10-year-old could be convicted of ‘first-degree sodomy by forcible compulsion’ for intercourse with an 8-year-old, or a 6-year-old with a 4-year-old, or a 16-year-old with a 14-year-old.”

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Note the disparity between the examples cited and the 13-year age difference between Higdon and his preschool-age victim.

As Mark Joseph Stern writes at Slate, by no means should we assume that Moore projected his own penchant for pedophilia onto the Higdon case. To “suggest that judges may be projecting their own crimes upon certain defendants” is a “ridiculous logical leap that would turn many judges into secret murderers.”

Fair enough. But this case does teach us something about Moore’s thinking in the context of the numerous allegations against him. Clearly, Moore is of the mind that children are not physically harmed by sexual abuse unless they bleed or suffer broken bones. But we didn’t need the Higdon case to reveal this—we already knew that Moore doesn’t think rape is a big deal.

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WATCH: Franklin Graham tells Jeanine Pirro coronavirus pandemic is because of people sinning

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Franklin Graham blamed sinners for the COVID-19 coronavirus epidemic during a Saturday night appearance on Fox News.

Host Jeanine Pirro noted the growing death toll and wondered how God could let that happen.

"Well, I don't think it's God's plan for this to happen," Graham said.

"It's because of the sin that's in the world, judge," he argued.

"Man has turned his back on God, we have sinned against him, and we need to ask for God's forgiveness and that's what Easter's all about," he continued.

"This pandemic, this is the result of a fallen world that has turned its back on God," he added.

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Drought causing water shortage amid coronavirus crisis in Chile

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With historically low river flows and reservoirs running dry due to drought, people in central Chile have found themselves particularly vulnerable to the coronavirus pandemic.

Years of resource exploitation and lax legislation have allowed most reservoirs in that part of the country to run dry.

"There are now 400,000 families, nearly 1.5 million people approximately, whose supply of 50 liters of water a day depends on tankers," Rodrigo Mundaca, spokesman for the Movement for the Defense of Water, the Earth and the Protection of the Environment, told AFP.

One of the main pieces of advice to protect people against coronavirus is to wash your hands regularly.

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Trump warns of ‘tough week’ ahead — after the United States surpassed 300,000 coronavirus victims

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US President Donald Trump warned Americans on Saturday to brace for a "very horrendous" number of coronavirus deaths in the coming days as the total number of global fatalities from the pandemic soared past 60,000.

As confirmed COVID-19 cases in the United States surpassed 300,000 with more than 8,300 deaths, there was some encouraging news in Italy and Spain.

Europe continues to bear the brunt of the epidemic, however, accounting for over 45,000 of the worldwide deaths, and Britain reported a new daily high in fatalities.

There are now more than 1.17 million confirmed coronavirus cases around the world and there have been 63,437 deaths since the virus emerged in China late last year.

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