WHAT DO THE COURT DOCUMENTS SAY?
by Jerry A. Kane, ©2017
(Dec. 11, 2017) — The Washington Post’s (WaPo) November 9 story, “Woman says Roy Moore initiated sexual encounter when she was 14, he was 32” leaves out crucial information and hides the truth from readers.
The Post reported that Leigh Corfman, who was 14 years old in February 1979, was with her mother when she met 32-year-old Roy Moore outside a courtroom in Etowah County, Alabama.
According to the Post, Corfman and her mother, Nancy Wells, said that Moore approached them, introduced himself, started talking, and offered to watch the girl while the mother went into the courtroom for a child custody hearing.
The Post story then transitions to Moore’s alleged conversation with Corfman outside the courtroom and doesn’t mention the custody hearing again except briefly near the end of the piece where the Post verified through divorce records that Wells attended a hearing at the courthouse in February 1979.
The Post did not report any details involving the child custody hearing because the hearing involved the custody of Corfman who had become a problem child for Wells, who came to court that day to sign over custody to her father.
The Post failed to tell its readers:
- that Wells had been divorced from Robert R. Corfman since 1974,
- that the case to change custody was amicable and involved a joint petition by both parents, and
- that the court ordered the 14-year-old Corfman to move in with her father beginning March 4, 1979.
The Post story did not mention the court documents that show Corfman was exhibiting “disciplinary and behavioral problems,” which were cited in the joint petition to change custody as the reason for the court-ordered move.
The documents also show that Corfman’s father lived in Ohatchee, about 22 miles from Gadsden where Corfman and Wells lived, and that he and Wells agreed that moving Corfman to Ohatchee to live with him would be better for the girl.
The Post reported that Corfman said her alleged sexual encounter with Moore had caused her to become reckless in her behavior as a teenager.
“I felt responsible. I felt like I had done something bad. And it [sexual encounter with Moore] kind of set the course for me doing other things that were bad,” Corfman said.
According to the Post, Corfman’s “teenage life became increasingly reckless with drinking, drugs, boyfriends, and a suicide attempt when she was 16.”
The Post would have readers believe the custody hearing, where Moore allegedly met Corfman and arranged meetings with her outside her mother’s home, was something extraneous that had nothing to do with Corfman’s allegations or added anything important to them.
Had the Post reported what went on in the custody hearing, the information contained in the court documents would have contradicted and refuted Corfman’s claim that her reckless behavior as a teenager resulted from her alleged sexual encounters with Moore.
Over a year later, Wells filed a new petition, which stated that Corfman’s “disciplinary problem has improved greatly,” and that she wanted custody of her daughter again. The court agreed and custody was granted October 15, 1980.
Corfman’s improved behavior described in Wells’ petition for custody clearly refutes what Corfman told the Post. The Post reported Corfman said that after her alleged sexual encounter with Moore in ’79, her life “became increasingly reckless with drinking, drugs, boyfriends, and a suicide attempt when she was 16.”
There was but one court case in February 1979, and it was February 21 when Wells voluntarily gave up custody of Corfman to Corfman’s father.
The Post’s November 9 story left out pertinent information contained in the court documents detailing what had taken place that day in a custody hearing when a 14-yar-old girl and her mother claim they met Roy Moore.
It’s shameful that the Post would omit such crucial information to hide the truth from readers. It matters not if the omission of information was intentional or if it was the result of negligence and shoddy research. Such reporting is inexcusable.
Yet the Post’s top editor, Marty Baron, came out and defended the reporting, calling it a “meticulously reported story about Roy Moore.”
Is is any wonder President Trump and Roy Moore call The Washington Post “fake news?”