Alabama woman who accused Roy Moore of sexual abuse sues for defamation

By Chris Kenning

(Reuters) - An Alabama woman who accused former U.S. Senate candidate Roy Moore of sexually abusing her when she was 14 years old sued Moore and his campaign on Thursday for what she said was defamation.

Leigh Corfman's lawsuit, filed in Alabama's Montgomery County Circuit Court, cited negative attacks by Moore and his supporters after she made her accusations. The lawsuit, seen by Reuters, seeks a judgment of defamation, a public apology, and legal costs.

"By this lawsuit, I seek to do what I could not do as a 14-year-old — hold Mr. Moore and those who enable him accountable," Corfman said in a statement that was emailed by her attorneys.

Moore, Alabama's former chief judge, has denied the allegations, calling them "completely false and a desperate political attack." [nL1N1NF2I7]

Representatives of his campaign could not immediately be reached for comment on Thursday.

Moore, a Republican known for staunchly conservative views, was defeated in Alabama's special election for the U.S. Senate last month. Doug Jones became the first Democrat sent to the Senate from Republican stronghold Alabama in a quarter century. [nL1N1OE2H8]

Moore was a controversial candidate whose campaign was beset by allegations that he sexually assaulted or pursued teenage girls while he was in his 30s. He denied the misconduct allegations, saying they were a result of "dirty politics."

Reuters was unable to independently confirm any of the allegations.

Corfman's allegations came more than a month before the special election for the U.S. Senate seat on Dec. 12. [nL1N1OE2H8]

In a Washington Post article on Nov. 9, Corfman and three other women accused Moore of pursuing them when they were in their teens and he was in his 30s. Corfman alleged that she met Moore as a young teen in 1979 and that he sexually touched her.

In the lawsuit, Corfman accused Moore and his campaign of repeatedly calling her a liar at rallies and in the media, and questioning her motivation for publicly disclosing her allegations.

(Reporting by Chris Kenning in Chicago; Editing by Matthew Lewis)