Alabama Senate candidate Roy Moore spent nine months in Galveston in the early 1980s, a period that corresponds with the time during which Moore is accused of sexually assaulting teenage girls in his home state.
But a close friend of Moore’s, his kickboxing coach, said there was no evidence Moore did anything wrong during his time on the island.
Moore trained as a kickboxer at Martial Arts America, run by Galveston resident Ishmael Robles, AL.com reported Monday. The gym has been open since 1975.
Moore also worked in construction while he was in Galveston, the Montgomery Advertiser reported in September. He came to the island after losing a bitter campaign for circuit court judge in Alabama’s Etowah County.
Moore came to Galveston in 1983, after Hurricane Alicia, which made landfall near the island in August. The campaign had drained him of his savings, and he had only $300 with him when he arrived, he wrote in a 2005 autobiography.
He came to Galveston in search of Robles, a renowned martial arts trainer to “learn the art of full-contact fighting,” he wrote his autobiography, “So Help Me God: The Ten Commandments, Judicial Tyranny, and the Battle for Judicial Freedom.”
He trained with Robles for less than a year, he wrote.
“For over nine months, I trained as I had never trained before,” Moore wrote. “I devoted every free minute to running, physical exercise and sparring.”
While he was here, Moore managed construction and maintenance at multiple storm-damaged condominiums in Galveston.
He returned to Alabama in 1984 to fight in a single martial arts match. He won and then traveled to Australia, Moore wrote.
In a phone interview on Tuesday, Robles said he had remained in touch with Moore over the years, even traveling to his swearing-in as the Chief Justice of the Alabama Supreme Court.
Moore did not date anyone while he was in Galveston, Robles said.
Robles said he does not believe the allegations that have been laid against Moore.
“He was here for about a year, and he became a good friend of our family,” Robles said. “My dad was dying of cancer and he would go see him every Sunday at the hospital. He was a great friend. I never saw anything peculiar or unusual.”
Robles said he thinks the allegations against Moore are politically motivated.
“It breaks my heart, because he’s got such a wonderful family,” Robles said.
Moore’s life in the late 1970s and early 1980s is under intense scrutiny after a Washington Post report that Moore had sexual contact with a 14-year-old girl in 1979, when he was 32, and that he pursued romantic relationships with three other teenage girls between 1979 and 1982.
The women made their accusations on the record, and the newspaper said its reporters spoke to more than two dozen sources before publishing.
On Monday, a fifth woman said Moore groped her when she was 16.
Moore has denied the molestation charges, but didn’t deny he had dated teenagers.
He told FOX News host Sean Hannity that dating teenagers “would have been out of my customary behavior.”
AL.com reported Monday that Moore was known to flirt with teenage girls at a mall in Gadsden, Ala., his hometown. The New Yorker magazine reported similar stories, and claims that Moore was banned from the mall for badgering teenage girls.
The allegations have caused some Republican leaders, including Texas Sens. Ted Cruz and John Cornyn, to rescind their support for Moore’s candidacy. He’s on the ballot for a Dec. 12 special election for the Senate position vacated by Attorney General Jeff Sessions.