Under the Dome

NC Republican on Alabama’s Roy Moore: ‘accusations do not prove guilt’

Former Alabama Chief Justice and U.S. Senate candidate Roy Moore during speaks during his election party in September in Montgomery, Ala.
Former Alabama Chief Justice and U.S. Senate candidate Roy Moore during speaks during his election party in September in Montgomery, Ala. AP

A Republican N.C. House member says he supports Alabama Senate candidate Roy Moore, who’s accused of sexual misconduct by several women.

State Rep. Michael Speciale represents an Eastern North Carolina district. His Facebook page on Wednesday reposted a resolution in support of Moore passed by the God and Country Christian Alliance in New Bern, where he lives. The resolution was first published online by Jerry Schill, the group’s leader, and Speciale “liked” the post.

After the N&O published this story, Speciale on Friday wrote a Facebook post that criticized the N&O and clarified his position: He “wholeheartedly” supports Moore.

“I am a member of the God & Country Christian Alliance who was in attendance when this resolution was voted on, and I wholeheartedly support it!” Speciale wrote.

“If the accusations against Roy Moore are proven, then I will withdraw my support but accusations do not prove guilt,” he said. “This is still America and we are still innocent until proven guilty!”

SpecialeResponse

Moore, 70, is a Southern Baptist former Alabama chief justice known for refusing to remove a plaque of the Ten Commandments from the state judicial building and for advising judges to defy a U.S. Supreme Court ruling legalizing same-sex marriage. He’s in a tight race against Democrat Doug Jones for an open U.S. Senate seat.

One woman told the Washington Post that Moore sexually assaulted her in the late 1970s, when she was 16. Another said he had made inappropriate contact with her when she was 14 and he was 32. Three more have said he pursued relationships with them when they were teenagers.

The accusations have divided not only Republican politicians but also leaders in the Christian faith community. Many Republicans in the N.C. General Assembly have stayed quiet about Moore. Both of North Carolina’s U.S. senators – Richard Burr and Thom Tillis – have said Moore should immediately withdraw from the race.

As for the Christian group in New Bern, Moore was a keynote speaker at its banquet in 1999. Its resolution states that the group is opposed to any candidate for public office who has admitted to or been proven guilty of sexually assaulting or harassing children and will support Moore “unless or until there is credible evidence that such assault or harrassment has occurred.”

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Rep. Michael Speciale (Rep) speaks as the N.C. House debated a sales tax bill during a session at the Legislative Building in Raleigh in August 2014. Speciale recently posted a resolution on Facebook that supports controversial U.S. Senate candidate Roy Moore of Alabama. Chris Seward cseward@newsobserver.com

Prior to Friday, Speciale didn’t respond to an email or calls requesting comment on his posts about Moore.

This isn’t the first time Speciale has addressed a national controversy in a Facebook post. In January, Speciale referred to the Women’s March protests as “a joke,” saying they were more about pushing a liberal agenda than promoting women’s rights.

“Pro-life women not allowed! There were, however, women dressed as vaginas, and little girls holding signs with the “F” word and more,” Speciale wrote on Facebook.

Paul A. Specht: 919-829-4870, @AndySpecht

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