Roy Moore was supposedly banned from his local mall for trying to pick up teenagers

Last Thursday, The Washington Post published a story in which Alabama Senate candidate Roy Moore was accused of molesting a then-14-year old girl in 1979. Moore has denied the accusation, but since it dropped, stories about his predilection for underage girls have started to come out. Charles Bethea of The New Yorker spent some time in Moore’s hometown of Gadsden, where Moore was supposedly banned back in the early 1980s from the local mall, specifically for his habit of cruising for teenage girls.

“The general knowledge at the time when I moved here was that this guy is a lawyer cruising the mall for high-school dates,” one police officer told Bethea. “I was told by a girl who worked at the mall that he’d been run off from there, from a number of stores. Maybe not legally banned, but run off.”

Another police officer, who voted for Moore in the primary but now says he’ll write in Luther Strange for the upcoming special election, said he heard Moore had indeed been outright banned from the mall. No official record of such a ban seems to exist, but the rumors persist, some of them from people such as Greg Legat, who worked in the Gadsden mall at the time of the alleged ban. From The New Yorker:

Legat says that he saw Moore there a few times, even though his understanding then was that he had already been banned. “It started around 1979, I think,” Legat said. “I know the ban was still in place when I got there.” Legat recalled a Gadsden police officer named J. D. Thomas, now retired, who worked security at the mall. “J. D. was a fixture there, when I was working at the store,” Legat said. “He really looked after the kids there. He was a good guy. J. D. told me, ‘If you see Roy,let me know. He’s banned from the mall.’ ” Legat recalled Thomas telling him, “If you see Moore here, tell me. I’ll take care of him.’ ” Legat said that his boss, Eddie Hill, also told him to look for Moore. A phone call to Hill’s number was not returned.

Thomas himself refused to confirm such a ban, but he didn’t deny it either, telling Bethea, “I don’t have anything to say about that.”

It seems entirely possible, indeed likely, that Moore was never officially banned from the mall. Rather, what these stories show is that the man was apparently known among those in his hometown as a prowler who would target teenage girls. A characterization that lines up with his former colleague’s recounting that it was “common knowledge” Moore liked to date high school girls and that he was known for hanging out “at high school football games and the mall.”

Moore’s name may never have appeared on an actual list of banned guests, but he certainly had a reputation and didn’t appear to be welcome.

[The New Yorker | Photo: Getty]

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