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Senate candidate accused of abusing young girl

Judge+Roy+Moore.+Photo+courtesy+of+Chicago+Tribune.+
Judge Roy Moore. Photo courtesy of Chicago Tribune.

Judge Roy Moore. Photo courtesy of Chicago Tribune.

Judge Roy Moore. Photo courtesy of Chicago Tribune.

Charles Harrison, Reporter

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The Washington Post released a story accusing Alabama Senate candidate Roy Moore of sexually abusing a 14-year-old girl named Leigh Corfman in 1974 on Nov. 9, 2017. Since this story broke, seven other women have come forward, claiming Moore initiated inappropriate relationships with them during their teenage years. The former Alabama State Supreme Court denied all of the allegations, but many people, including GOP leadership, remain unconvinced and it raises the question of what should happen now.

As these accusations have circulated, many people have floated various ideas, including criminal prosecution. In the event he wins the special election, there are recourses the Senate can then take as a punishment to Moore including, refusing to seat him or voting to have him removed from his seat after he assumes it.

Criminal prosecution seems the obvious choice to handle accusations like these. After all, Moore would have been 32-years-old when the alleged assault of the then 14-year-old Corfman occurred, yet there is no precedent to bring this to court, due to statute of limitations.
While Alabama Statute 15-3-1 says there is no existing statute of limitations on a sexual offense where the victim is under 16 years old, it doesn’t apply to this specific case. The statute passed in the middle of the 1980’s only applies to cases that have occurred since it became law, Therefore, there is no legal precedent to bring Moore to criminal court in Alabama, since his alleged indiscretions took place in 1979.

In the event Moore does win the special election and goes to assume his seat in the senate, he still may have to face these allegations.  An idea that is being discussed by various political pundits is that the Senate can refuse to seat Moore.  This is not actually possible due to Article 1 section 4 of the U.S. Constitution, which says that the Senate may not regulate an election in a state. However Article 1 Section 5 of the Constitution states that both bodies of Congress may disciplines their  members for indiscretions setting up a precedent that could leave to Moore’s removal.

A civil case is the last possible legal recourse for Moore’s accusers. . They could sue Moore for damages and he could be required by law to pay restitution to the victims if found guilty by a jury. This is the most likely going to be the most likely way to see a verdict handed down, unlike in criminal proceedings, where a person’s guilt must be proven beyond reasonable doubt. In a civil case, one must only convince a jury that what they said is, in fact, true without having to provide a confession or completely irrefutable evidence.

The real question in the coming weeks will be one for the voters alone as the wrestle with their own personal morality. Yes, this man is accused of sexually assaulting a minor, but in the United States we have a long standing precedent that an individual is innocent until proven guilty. With the Alabama election closing on Dec. 12 voters will soon decide.

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Senate candidate accused of abusing young girl