It turns out there’s some precedent for Roy Moore’s stance on child predators, and it comes from a pretty recent case.
Just two years ago, during Moore’s second term — already once removed for defying a higher court’s order, but before he was removed again for doing the same — his role on the Alabama Supreme Court required him to hear the case of Eric Lemont Higdon, a man who had already been convicted of forcibly raping and sodomizing a 4-year-old child.
The assault took place at a Christian daycare center in Clay, Alabama. Although Higdon was convicted of only the two sodomy charges he faced in the attack on the one child, parents of other children in the same daycare had also accused him of the same thing. Those charges were dismissed due to lack of evidence — already a hard pill to swallow, knowing that he was convicted of the attack on the 4-year-old.
The two specific convictions for Higdon were “first-degree sodomy of a child less than 12 years old,” followed by “first-degree sodomy by forcible compulsion” — basically the difference between “statutory rape” and “forcible rape,” the penalties for which are very different, as you might imagine.
Higdon’s second conviction, the more serious of the two, was overturned on appeal. But the state prosecutor at the time wouldn’t stand by and watch that happen. He appealed that appeal. That state prosecutor? The man that Roy Moore just defeated in the Alabama primary election, Luther Strange.
It was this final appeal that Moore’s Supreme Court heard: Whether or not to reinstate the more serious of two convictions for Eric Higdon, a man who was proven to have raped a child, even if this one conviction of the two remained overturned.
The Court took very little time to come to the conclusion that the initial appeals court had made a mistake. The previous appeal had succeeded on a technicality, and the Alabama Supreme Court correctly decided to remedy that flaw.
All except Roy Moore, that is.
He cast the only vote on the entire court in favor of the offender, and in his dissent, he wrote:
Because there was no evidence in this case of an implied threat of serious physical injury…or of an implied threat of death, Higdon cannot be convicted of sodomy in the first degree ‘by forcible compulsion.’”
That’s right — Roy Moore thought that in a case where it was proven that Eric Higdon had sexually assaulted a four-year-old child, there was no “implied threat of injury or death.”
The fact that Moore would hold the definition of “forcible rape” up to the standard of “credible fear of DEATH” is gross enough. But the fact that he applied that to an assault by a man of a child so young is just plain disgusting.
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