In the 1980s, Roy Moore had a reputation for allegedly “badgering teenage girls” and “cruising for high-school dates” at an Alabama mall, according to The New Yorker.
More than a dozen people who worked or spent time at the Gadsden Mall during that time told The New Yorker‘s Charles Bethea of widespread rumors that Moore, now the GOP Alabama Senate candidate, was on a list of people banned from the mall.
A former manager who worked at the mall in the late ’80s confirmed the existence of a ban list to The New Yorker, but said he did not recall Moore being on the list during the manager’s tenure. The people who told The New Yorker they’d heard Moore was on the list include five members of the local legal community, two cops who worked in the town, several people who hung out at the mall at the time, and a number of former mall employees.
The two police officers who worked in Gadsden in the 1980s told The New Yorker that Moore was known for trying to find “high-school dates” at the mall.
“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 officer said. “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.”
The report comes five days after The Washington Post revealed the first sexual misconduct allegations against Moore, including from one woman who said he initiated sexual contact with her when she was 14 and he was 32. The Post also interviewed three other women who alleged that Moore pursued them when they were between the ages of 16 and 18 and he was in his early 30s. On Monday, a fifth woman, Beverly Young Nelson, came forward to allege that Moore sexually assaulted her when she was 16.
“These allegations are completely false and misleading,” he said during an appearing on Sean Hannity’s radio show last week. He later said “it would have been out of my customary behavior” to date women that young when he was in his thirties.
Two of the women who spoke with the Post said they first met Moore at the Gadsden Mall.
Greg Legat, who worked at the mall in the 1980s, told The New Yorker that he remembers Moore being banned from the mall starting around 1979. He says a local police officer, J.D. Thomas, often asked Legat to alert him if he saw Moore at the shopping center. Thomas was contacted by The New Yorker but he declined to comment.
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Glynn Wilson of Alabama’s New American Journal also reported that sources told him that “Moore was actually banned from the Gadsden Mall and the YMCA for his inappropriate behavior of soliciting sex from young girls.”
Moore has not commented on the allegations regarding the mall. His campaign did not immediately reply to PEOPLE’s request for comment.
Despite overwhelming calls for Moore to step aside in the Senate race, including from many members of his own party, the Republican has refused to drop out.
He tweeted Tuesday afternoon: “The good people of Alabama, not the Washington elite who wallow in the swamp, will decide this election!”