Delaware Public Media

Sen. Coons may investigate Alabama child molestation allegations if Roy Moore wins Senate seat

Dec 7, 2017

Sen. Chris Coons could have a say in Alabama Senate candidate Roy Moore’s future in the Senate if Moore is elected to the chamber next week. He's vice chair of the Senate’s Ethics Committee.

Several women have accused the Republican of dating or assaulting them when they were teenagers. He’s denied the allegations.

Coons said the ethics committee can’t prevent Moore from being seated in the Senate.

“The Senate only gets to choose only gets to review did he meet the very narrow qualifications," he said. "Is he the right age; is he a citizen; was he elected?”

But if elected, senators could file an ethics complaint against Moore that would trigger an investigation by the ethics committee.

It can review behavior that happened before a senator was elected and can recommend disciplinary action or expulsion from office.

Coons said he can’t comment on matters that may come before the committee. But he hopes voters will not elect Moore to the Senate.The Alabama special election is Tuesday.

“I am really struck by recent polling that suggests that 70 percent of Republican voters don’t believe the allegations despite them being very well sourced by a reputable national newspaper over many interviews and indicating a pattern of really reprehensible behavior over many years,” he said.

Democratic Sen. Al Franken, who was facing an ethics investigation for alleged sexual misconduct announced his resignation Thursday. Democratic Rep. John Conyers of Michigan also announced his resignation this week after multiple sexual harassment complaints.

A Quinnipiac University poll released yesterday found 77 percent of Democrats feel lawmakers with multiple sexual harassment complaints should resign - while 51 percent of Republicans felt the same way.