On a sweltering Missouri day in the summer of 1989, a month or so before the start of our senior year of high school, my friend Bill and I decided to cool off with a dip in Mark Twain Lake, a popular destination for teens at the time. We threw a cooler full of refreshments, our swim trunks, and a pair of old towels into my car, then headed for Spalding Beach.

Travis Naughton

The beach was packed with people that day, and before long, Bill and I struck up a conversation with some cute girls whose sparkling personalities (and tiny bikinis) won us over. As the girls were getting ready to leave a short time later, they gave us their phone numbers and said to give them a call if we wanted to get together again soon. Bill and I were not exactly the smoothest guys in school when it came to the ladies, so naturally we were beyond excited at the prospect of a double date.

A few days later, Bill and I drove to a neighboring community to pick up our dates. The tentative plan was to drive around their small town and get to know them better as we saw the sights. When we arrived at the house where we were to meet, two young girls came out to our car. Bill and I were still young ourselves, not yet eighteen, but these girls looked quite a bit younger than that. My friend and I exchanged worried glances as our dates made their way to the back seat of the car.

Once underway, we struck up an awkward conversation. We drove around aimlessly as there was really nothing of any interest to see in the tiny hamlet. Eventually, Bill asked the unavoidable question that had been weighing on both our minds. “So how old are you girls, anyway?”

Fourteen. They were only fourteen years old. Bill and I must have been blinded to that very obvious fact by the beer we were drinking that day at the beach. Although we were only seventeen ourselves, there was no doubt in our minds that the girls were way too young for us to be dating. Wordlessly, Bill and I decided to take the girls back home, drop them off, and wish them well. And that is exactly what we did, because it was the right thing to do.

A recent allegation claims that when Roy Moore was a thirty-two year old assistant district attorney in Alabama, he asked a fourteen year old girl on a date. In his car, he removed the young girl’s pants and his own clothes. He then touched her inappropriately while forcing her hand to touch him inappropriately.

To put it bluntly, if these accusations are true, then Roy Moore is a child molester.

Roy Moore is also a former judge – the Chief Justice of the Alabama State Supreme Court – who is the Republican candidate for Alabama’s vacant Senate seat. The allegations against the self-professed evangelical Christian are even more troubling considering several other women have also come forward claiming that Moore directed sexual advances at them when they were teenagers and he in his thirties. Moore has, of course, denied the allegations.

While plenty of people from the GOP have condemned Moore, including John McCain, others have given some very disturbing defenses of their political ally. Alabama state auditor Jim Ziegler compared Moore’s attraction to teenaged girls to the situation between Mary and Joseph, the parents of Jesus. He also said, “There’s nothing immoral or illegal here. Maybe just a bit unusual.” In their home state of Alabama, sexual enticement of a minor is a felony offense.

The Republican governor of Alabama, Kay Ivey, has stated. “I certainly have no reason to disbelieve any of (Moore’s accusers).” Despite this, Ivey has vowed to vote for Moore anyway because, “We need to have a Republican in the United States Senate.”

To be clear, the governor of Alabama thinks it is better to vote for a child molester than a Democrat. Take a minute to let that sink in. In my humble opinion, anyone, regardless of political affiliation, who sexually preys on a child is a sub-human criminal who belongs in jail—not the United States Senate. But what does it matter what I think? I’m just a Democrat.

My daughter will turn fourteen this spring. I shudder to think she is growing up in a country where people find it more acceptable for a grown man to sexually assault her than it is to vote against the GOP. Is this how we’re going to “Make America Great Again”?