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Nihilism and Disgrace: Mo Brooks and Roy Moore

Representative Brooks, you’ve disgraced yourself. Not only as a member of Congress and a powerful political figure in Alabama, but as a former prosecutor and an attorney beyond that. I have no idea what kinds of cases you were responsible for, either as an assistant in the Tuscaloosa office or the state attorney general’s office, but I hope you never had the opportunity to interact with a victim of child sexual abuse.

I heard your callous and stupid claim that “as an attorney I know I accusations are easy.”

I’m an attorney, Rep. Brooks, and I was a victim. I can assure you, accusations are anything but “easy.”

I heard your baseless comparison of these allegations to the infamous “Duke Lacrosse” case, one brought by a woman so tragically mentally ill she was not prosecuted for false accusations as it’s suspected she might actually have believed them.

Most recently, I’ve heard your increasingly desperate sounding stream of buzz-words (“mainstream leftwing socialist Democrat news media”) that you’re hoping will embolden the very worst in your own constituents to deny an ugly truth nevertheless as clear as glass.

I’ve spent my legal career fighting the pandemic that is child sexual abuse and exploitation. The allegations of sexual misconduct and abuse leveled against Roy Moore are among the most patently believable, compellingly articulated and thoroughly corroborated I’ve seen in two decades of professional life. The original Washington Post piece detailing Moore’s sexual abuse of Leigh Corfman (and the pursuit of three other teenagers) was a model of thorough, painstaking reporting. Over 30 witnesses, all on record, support the accounts. Since that original piece, Beverly Young Nelson has accused Moore of a sexually violent act against her when she was 16, appearing on camera to recite the attack in heartbreaking, profound detail. Following this, yet another woman, Tina Johnson, reported that Moore grabbed her buttocks on the way out of his law office when she was 28, he 44. That’s three completely unconnected women, either apolitical or Republicans themselves, accusing Moore of acts of sexual abuse. Another seven confirm he pursued teenaged girls as a 30-something Assistant District Attorney. Moore himself would not deny dating teenagers as prosecutor despite a risible series of softballs thrown at him by Sean Hannity.  Were Moore’s crimes not barred by statute, I’d leap at the chance to prove them in a court of law.

I suspect, though, that you’re not nearly as ignorant as you sound. I suspect your true belief and your position in spite of it are likely closer to those of Kay Ivey, the governor of Alabama. Ivey claims she has no reason to disbelieve Moore’s victims. None. She’s simply made it clear—from the bully pulpit of the governor’s mansion—that she’ll vote for Moore because it’s crucial, apparently, to have a Republican vote in the U.S. Senate regarding things like judicial appointments. You, too, have cited the importance of keeping a senate seat away from a Democrat. Any Democrat. Never mind that, long before these powerful allegations, Moore was already a disgrace to the bench as a scofflaw, a theocrat, and a hateful and divisive ideologue. What matters is that he’ll bear the right letter beside his name and toe the party line.

God help the both of you.

You, Ivey, and every other Republican politician in Alabama and beyond will be remembered for this perfidiousness, this scorched-earth stratagem. Whatever good you accomplish will be overshadowed by this cravenness, this appeal to the very lowest in your own voters. Alabama is already a wounded place, set back decades by the vicious stupidity and attendant violence and murder of Jim Crow. Roy Moore, for the sake of his own ego and abetted by this cynicism, will set it back further.

But no one will feel the sting of this faithlessness more than the women victimized by Roy Moore. Following them are the millions of child victims, past and present, both within Alabama and without, who continue to suffer in silence exactly because of despicable choices like the ones being made by you, Morris “Mo” Brooks and your ilk.

But you should know this: The time has arrived we’ll be silent no longer.