Roy Moore’s staunchest defenders are attacking and threatening his alleged victims

Alabama State Rep. Ed Henry of Hartselle, AL. (AP Photo/Dave Martin)

Within hours after the public first learned about Alabama senate candidate Roy Moore’s alleged sexual misconduct with a 14-year-old child and three other teenaged girls when he was in his 30s, his most ardent supporters rushed to defend Moore and his campaign. Some have suggested that the story in the Washington Post was fabricated, even though all four victims gave their stories on the record. Others have tried to defend his behavior as something other than child molestation, even though Alabama state law defines Moore’s alleged transgressions as a crime punishable with a prison sentence.

But his closest allies are already taking their defense of Moore and his candidacy a step further, attacking and threatening the four women who told their stories to the Washington Post.

First was Moore’s brother Jerry, who compared Roy to Jesus and falsely accused the women of being paid by the Democratic Party. That sentiment was elevated by far-right fake news sites like Gateway Pundit, which shared anonymous tweets accusing the Washington Post of paying Moore’s alleged victims to fabricate their stories. On Friday, Alabama State Rep. Ed Henry went a step further, baselessly insinuating to a reporter from local paper, The Cullman Times, that the women from the story were liars and deserved to be prosecuted.

“If they believe this man is predatory, they are guilty of allowing him to exist for 40 years,” he told the paper. “I think someone should prosecute and go after them. You can’t be a victim 40 years later, in my opinion.”

As the recent revelations against powerful men like Harvey Weinstein and Bill O’Reilly have demonstrated, victims of sexual assault often wait years before they come forward with their stories, if they come forward at all. Many fear retaliation, and others fear the exact kind of reaction that Rep. Henry displayed. The Post’s story even addressed this head on. One victim, Trump voter and lifelong Republican Leigh Corfman, said she was still reluctant to tell her story even 40 years later because she feared that her personal life — three divorces, a shoddy financial history — would be used as ammunition to undermine her credibility. Unfortunately but unsurprisingly, Rep. Henry is proving Corfman right.