Update: Another woman has come forward with allegations of sexual assault against Roy Moore, the Republican campaigning for the Senate in Alabama.
On Monday, Beverly Young Nelson joined her lawyer Gloria Allred for a press conference in New York. Nelson, who is from Alabama, explained that Moore allegedly groped her, choked her, and forced her head near his crotch without her consent.
She said she was 16 years old at the time and that even though Moore, then an assistant district attorney, was a regular at the restaurant where she worked, there was no relationship between them beyond that.
During the press conference, she also said she supported President Trump in the past presidential election, and that she was coming forward because she wasn't afraid of Moore anymore.
Before Nelson came forward with her allegations, Senate Majority Leader Mitch McConnell said he believed Moore's accusers and that the candidate should step aside. Maine Sen. Susan Collins, a Republican, also called for Moore to withdraw from the race.
"I have now read Mr. Moore’s statement and listened to his radio interview in which he denies the charges," she posted on Twitter. "I did not find his denials to be convincing and believe that he should withdraw from the Senate race in Alabama."
I have now read Mr. Moore’s statement and listened to his radio interview in which he denies the charges. I did not find his denials to be convincing and believe that he should withdraw from the Senate race in Alabama.— Sen. Susan Collins (@SenatorCollins) November 13, 2017
Update, Nov. 10, 2017: In the wake of the sexual misconduct allegations against him, Republican candidate Roy Moore is using the opportunity to fundraise for his campaign.
On Tuesday, four women told The Washington Post that Moore had allegedly pursued relationships with them when they were teenagers and he was in his thirties. At least one of the women, who was 14 years old when she met Moore, said their encounter turned sexual. The candidate has denied the allegations, and in a fundraising email to his supporters he called the story an effort to "shut up Christian conservatives like you and me."
"Their goal is to frustrate and slow down our campaign's progress to help the Obama-Clinton Machine silence our conservative message," Moore said in the email. "That's why I must be able to count on the help of God-fearing conservatives like you to stand with me at this critical moment."
Several Republicans in Washington distanced themselves from Moore, many calling the allegations disturbing and saying that if they are true, he should step down from his candidacy. Among them was President Trump, who faced a slew of sexual assault allegations during the 2016 presidential election. In a statement, press secretary Sarah Huckabee Sanders said: "Like most Americans, the President believes we cannot allow a mere allegation, in this case one from many years ago, to destroy a person's life. The President also believes that if these allegations are true, Judge Moore will do the right thing and step aside."
But while the leadership in D.C. took that stance, local Alabama officials stood by Moore and said they would vote for him regardless of the allegations. Alabama State Auditor Jim Zeigler went so far as to compare Moore pursuing and inappropriately touching a 14-year-old to Biblical marriages.
"Zachariah and Elizabeth for instance. Zachariah was extremely old to marry Elizabeth and they became the parents of John the Baptist," he told The Washington Examiner. "Also take Joseph and Mary. Mary was a teenager and Joseph was an adult carpenter. They became parents of Jesus."
This story was originally published on November 9, 2017.
Four women alleged that Roy Moore, the Alabama Republican candidate vying for a U.S. Senate seat, pursued relationships with them when they were teenagers and Moore was an adult man in his 30s, The Washington Post reported. At least one of the women said that an encounter she had with Moore when she was 14 turned sexual in nature, even though he was at least 18 years older than her.
The women said Moore didn't force them into having a relationship or any type of sexual contact with him. However, they told the Post that although as teens they found the attention flattering, they now find Moore's behavior troubling. The candidate has denied the allegations.
The most troubling story in the Post's reporting is Leigh Corfman's. She was 14 in 1979 when she met Moore, then a 32-year-old assistant district attorney, outside a courtroom in Etowah County, AL. Moore offered to look after her when Corfman's mother went inside for a child custody hearing.
According to the Post, Moore then asked for phone number. On one occasion when they met, he allegedly also took her to his home, undressed, touched her over her bra and underpants, and then tried to get her to touch his penis. She recounted to the Post that she just wanted it to be over; she got dressed and asked Moore to take her home, which he did.
Three other women told the Post that Moore pursued a relationship with them: Wendy Miller, Debbie Wesson Gibson, and Gloria Thacker Deason. The candidate was between 32 and 34 when he allegedly pursued relationships with these women in their teens.
Moore is an extreme-right conservative aiming to fill the Senate seat left empty by Attorney General Jeff Sessions. The special election will take place on December 12. Some of his most controversial positions include comparing same-sex relationships to bestiality, using the slurs "reds" and "yellows" to refer to Native Americans and Asians when speaking about racial division in the country, falsely claiming that former President Barack Obama wasn't born in the U.S., and saying that Rep. Keith Ellison, who is Muslim, shouldn't have been allowed to join Congress.
It's yet to be seen how Alabama voters will react to allegations that Moore pursued a sexual encounter with a 14-year-old girl when he was in his 30s, in addition to initiating relationships with other teenage girls.
In a statement Thursday, Senate Majority Leader Mitch McConnell said, "If these allegations are true, he must step aside." Republican Sen. John McCain said on Twitter that the allegations against Moore are "deeply disturbing and disqualifying" so he should step down and "allow the people of Alabama to elect a candidate they can be proud of."
Moore's campaign denied the allegations, claiming in a statement the Post's story is a "fabrication" and "the very definition of fake news and intentional defamation."
The Post reported that according to campaign reports, none of the women interviewed have made donations or campaigned for either Doug Jones, Moore’s Democratic opponent, or Luther Strange, who ran against Moore in the primary. Corfman, who is now 53, said she voted for Republicans in the past three presidential elections, including President Donald Trump in the 2016 election.
If you have experienced sexual violence and are in need of crisis support, please call the RAINN Sexual Assault Hotline at 1-800-656-HOPE (4673).