New Yorker: Roy Moore Was Banned From Local Mall in the 70s “Because He Repeatedly Badgered Teen-age Girls”

This is, for now, just unconfirmed gossip, but Charles Bethea writes at the New Yorker that in the late 70s and early 80s, Roy Moore cruised his local mall so obsessively that at one point he got himself banned:

This past weekend, I spoke or messaged with more than a dozen people—including a major political figure in the state—who told me that they had heard, over the years, that Moore had been banned from the mall because he repeatedly badgered teen-age girls. Some say that they heard this at the time, others in the years since.

….Greg Legat, who is now fifty-nine and living in East Gadsden, was, from 1981 to 1985, an employee at the Record Bar, a store that was in the Gadsden Mall….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.”

….Two officers I spoke to this weekend, both of whom asked to remain unnamed, told me that they have long heard stories about Moore and 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 of the officers said. The legal age of consent in Alabama is sixteen, so it would not be illegal there for a man in his early thirties to date a girl who was, say, a senior in high school. But these officers, along with the other people I spoke to, said that Moore’s presence at the mall was regarded as a problem…. “I heard from one girl who had to tell the manager of a store at the mall to get Moore to leave her alone.”

This might all be completely factual, or it might be one of those things that lots of people have “heard,” but without any firsthand evidence. For now, though, I guess it’s safe to say that nobody will be surprised if this turns out to be true.

UPDATE: The news site AL.com has a similar story:

Roy Moore’s penchant for flirting with teen girls was “common knowledge” and “not a big secret” around Gadsden, according to some area residents….”Him liking and dating young girls was never a secret in Gadsden when we were all in high school,” said Sheryl Porter. “In our neighborhoods up by Noccalula Falls we heard it all the time. Even people at the courthouse know it was a well-known secret.

….Another former waitress, Victoria Beverstock, told AL.com today that she was 20 years old and working at The Poor House restaurant in 1992 when Moore came in a few times a week to eat and do paperwork. She said he made her and the other waitresses uncomfortable by staring at them and flirting.

“He watched us girls quite openly,” said Beverstock. “His eyes crawled over our shirts and our backsides. He was so open about it that I would try and handle his order as quickly as possible. “When you didn’t smile and flirt back with him, give him an opening, he became rude and demanding,” she said.

Et cetera.

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