Alabama Rep. Ed Henry said Friday his family has become the target of death threats, a day after he suggested that a woman who accused Republican U.S. Senate candidate Roy Moore of sexual misconduct should be prosecuted.
In a Thursday Washington Post report, the woman said Moore initiated a sexual encounter with her when she was 14. The report also included claims by three other women that Moore pursued romantic relationships with them when they were teenagers decades ago.
Henry, R-Hartselle, said his wife, Wendi, and his children were at home and received several threats after his comments were published and shared on social media.
He said the FBI was being notified of the threats.
In an interview with The Times on Thursday, Henry questioned the motivation of women coming forward during Moore's run for a U.S. Senate seat, just weeks before the Dec. 12 special election where Moore, a Republican, will face Democratic nominee Doug Jones.
Henry said no evidence has surfaced in Moore's long and well-publicized political career indicating he had behaved inappropriately with women.
Henry said the intent of his original statement was to say that anyone who falsely accuses another person of sexual misconduct should be held legally accountable.
"I do not believe accusers in sex offense cases should be prosecuted because they made the accusation," Henry said Friday. "I'm concerned when there is not a case, but accusations are made for the wrong reasons."
Henry reiterated his comments during an appearance on Anderson Cooper 360 on CNN Friday night.
Alabama state Rep. Ed Henry: "I believe that in this instance that Roy Moore is the victim. He is the victim of a political hack job" https://t.co/3vySIsMFSe— Anderson Cooper 360° (@AC360) November 11, 2017
Alabama state Rep. Ed Henry on Republicans pulling their endorsement of Roy Moore: "It's sad that we have that many cowards in Washington, D.C." https://t.co/CxBwlvUyE9— Anderson Cooper 360° (@AC360) November 11, 2017
Alabama state Rep. Ed Henry on Roy Moore sexual misconduct allegations: "If you are part of silencing and keeping (silent) a crime then you are culpable" https://t.co/0dsaM7gkmF— Anderson Cooper 360° (@AC360) November 11, 2017
Alabama state Rep. Ed Henry says he doesn't believe the women making allegations against Roy Moore: "If he had anything like this in his past, it would've come out by now ... It is political at every level" https://t.co/fLrE0ndIKz— Anderson Cooper 360° (@AC360) November 11, 2017
Henry said he still believes Moore is a victim because there is no history of sexual misconduct, and because of the story’s timing.
Only one woman, Leigh Conform — who said she was 14 at the time — told The Washington Post that Moore had made sexual advances.
"The political climate is nasty, and that's why I'm getting out of this mess," Henry said. "We used to have a lot of common ground nationally in politics, and it's not there anymore."
Henry announced earlier that he would not seek re-election to the Alabama House.
"I just don't believe this happened the way it was portrayed and Roy Moore said it didn't happen,” Henry said. "No evidence of anything like this has ever surfaced in his career. In this case, I believe the accused is the victim. You can never un-ring this bell once it's sounded. It stays with you."