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New sex assault allegation hits Alabama Senate candidate; calls to withdraw from race grow

By The Associated Press

This article was originally published November 13, 2017 at 10:37 a.m. Updated November 13, 2017 at 6:03 p.m.

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The Associated Press MOORE: Former Alabama Chief Justice and U.S. Senate candidate Roy Moore waits to speak the Vestavia Hills Public library, Saturday in Birmingham, Ala. According to a Thursday Washington Post story an Alabama woman said Moore made inappropriate advances and had sexual contact with her when she was 14. Moore is denying the allegations.


WASHINGTON — A second woman abruptly emerged Monday to accuse Roy Moore of sexually assaulting her as a teenager in the late 1970s, this time in a locked car, further roiling the Alabama Republican's candidacy for an open Senate seat. Leaders of Moore's own party intensified their efforts to push him out of the race.

Anticipating Beverly Young Nelson's allegations during a New York news conference, Moore's campaign ridiculed her attorney, Gloria Allred, beforehand as "a sensationalist leading a witch hunt." The campaign said Moore was innocent and "has never had any sexual misconduct with anyone." He insisted he was in the race to stay.

Senate Republican leader Mitch McConnell and Moore essentially declared open war on each other. McConnell said the former judge should quit the race over a series of recent allegations of past improper relationships with teenage girls. No, said Moore, the Kentucky senator is the one who should get out.

Cory Gardner of Colorado, who heads the Senate GOP's campaign organization, said not only should Moore step aside but if he should win "the Senate should vote to expel him because he does not meet the ethical and moral requirements of the United States Senate."

McConnell took a personal swipe at his party's candidate for a Senate seat the GOP cannot afford to lose. "I believe the women," he said, marking an intensified effort by leaders to ditch Moore before a Dec. 12 special election that has swung from an assured GOP victory to one that Democrats could conceivably swipe.

Moore, an outspoken Christian conservative and former state Supreme Court judge, fired back at McConnell on Twitter.

"The person who should step aside is @SenateMajLdr Mitch McConnell. He has failed conservatives and must be replaced. #DrainTheSwamp," Moore wrote.

Nelson's news conference came after that exchange and injected a new accusation in the story.

She said Moore was a regular customer at the restaurant where she worked after school in Gadsden, Ala. She said he would talk to her and sometimes pull the ends of her hair, which she considered flirtatious but didn't bother her.

One night when she was 16, Moore offered to drive her home, she said, but instead parked the car behind the restaurant and touched her breasts and locked the door to keep her inside. She said he squeezed her neck while trying to push her head toward his groin area and tried to pull her shirt off.

Moore finally stopped, and as she got out of the car, he warned her no one would believe because he was a county prosecutor, Nelson said. She said she quit her job the following day.

Nelson said that shortly before that, days before Christmas, she'd brought her high school yearbook to the restaurant and Moore signed it. A copy of her statement distributed at the news conference included a picture of what she said was his signature and a message saying, "To a sweeter more beautiful girl I could not say, 'Merry Christmas.'"

Nelson said she told her younger sister about the assault two years later, told her mother four years ago and told her husband before they married. She said she and her husband supported Donald Trump for president.

Last Thursday, The Washington Post reported that in 1979 when he was 32, Moore had sexual contact with a 14-year-old girl and pursued romantic relationships with three other teenage girls around the same period. The women made their allegations on the record, and the Post cited two dozen other sources.

Moore has called the allegations "completely false and misleading," but in an interview last week he did not unequivocally rule out dating teenage girls when he was in his early 30s. Asked by conservative radio host Sean Hannity if that would have been usual for him, Moore said, "It would have been out of my customary behavior."

McConnell, speaking Monday at an event in Louisville, Ky., said Moore "should step aside" and acknowledged that a write-in effort by another candidate was possible. He said, "We'll see," when asked if the Republican alternative could be Sen. Luther Strange, whom Moore ousted in a September party primary.

But Strange told reporters late Monday that "a write-in candidacy is highly unlikely."

McConnell's comment pushed him further than he'd gone last Thursday, when he said Moore should exit the race if the allegations were true.

Moore was backed during his primary campaign by Steve Bannon, President Donald Trump's former chief White House adviser who is openly seeking GOP Senate challengers who will pledge to dump McConnell. A political action committee linked to McConnell spent heavily but unsuccessfully on Strange's behalf.

The tumult comes with Republicans holding a scant 52-48 Senate majority as the GOP rushes to push a massive tax cut through Congress by Christmas. Facing near-certain unanimous opposition by Democrats, Republicans can lose just two GOP senators, and a Democratic pickup in Alabama would narrow their margin of error to just one.

On the other hand, a Moore victory would open the party to relentless Democratic attacks in next year's midterm elections, when Republicans will be defending their House and Senate majorities.

No. 2 Senate GOP leader John Cornyn of Texas said he'd withdrawn his endorsement of Moore. He said the accusations are, "if true, disqualifying." He said Moore's political fate should be left to Alabama's voters.

By Monday afternoon, Moore was showing no signs of folding.

He assured supporters Sunday night at a Huntsville, Ala., gym that the Post article was "fake news" and "a desperate attempt to stop my political campaign."

He said allegations that he was involved with a minor are "untrue" and the newspaper "will be sued." The former judge also questioned why such allegations would be leveled for the first time so close to the special election in spite of his decades in public life.

Democrats in Washington seemed content to keep their distance from their Alabama candidate, prosecutor Doug Jones, who until recently seemed to have little chance.

"If they ask us for things, we're going to try to help them, but it's an Alabama race, and the Jones campaign is running it on its own," said Senate Minority Leader Chuck Schumer of New York.

The Jones campaign released a statement Monday saying: "We applaud the courage of these women. Roy Moore will be held accountable by the people of Alabama for his actions."

Read Tuesday's Arkansas Democrat-Gazette for full details.

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Comments on: New sex assault allegation hits Alabama Senate candidate; calls to withdraw from race grow

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ARMNAR says... November 13, 2017 at 12:01 p.m.

Bravo.

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RBear says... November 13, 2017 at 12:56 p.m.

This election is unraveling faster and faster for Moore who claims he has information that will vindicate him. My guess is that he's going to go after the victim and look at her life after the incident. Early signals from Alabama seem to point that direction. It's a tactic often used by trial attorneys and Moore is one of the biggest of those.
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McConnell is seeing that there appears to be growing credibility to the harassment stories and doesn't want to risk greater problems having Moore in the Senate, a move that could damage Republican credibility in the long term.

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gohogs17 says... November 13, 2017 at 3:05 p.m.

Why are they just now coming out with their stories? The timing seems duly suspect.

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RBear says... November 13, 2017 at 3:27 p.m.

This is snowballing against Moore. It's time for him to drop out if he can. A write-in is looking more feasible. "Strange" is much easier to spell than "Murchowski." These women are coming out in the wave of people having the courage to share their trauma from sexual abuse by people of fame and power. There is no coincidence other than being emboldened by the courage of others.

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JakeTidmore says... November 13, 2017 at 3:44 p.m.

I miss a week ago when I thought the sickest thing Republicans wanted to do to 14 year olds was uninsure them. - LOLGOP
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Just wait till you see who they draft for the midterms. Gonna be wall-to-wall axe murderers and cannibals. - Tommy Messina
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Hey Roy, I checked with Miss Manners and she says that generally it is frowned on to touch body parts while offering a compliment or to demonstrate sincerity of attraction by placing the hand of the person being complimented on one's erect member. - Lee Crandall
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The most lawless, homophobic politician in America v. a man who took on the KKK and won, twice. - LOLGOP

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Packman says... November 13, 2017 at 4:06 p.m.

Amgoo saying "Bravo" because as teenager was sexually assaulted. You are a truly despicable human being, amgoo. Truly despicable.
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Looks like Roy Moore at one time in his life liked young girls. He needs to do the right thing and pull out of the race.

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PopulistMom says... November 13, 2017 at 4:45 p.m.

Packman,

I think that he was saying "Bravo" for the young woman coming forward.

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BOLTAR says... November 13, 2017 at 4:52 p.m.

Here is earlier commentary from the same Packman, a great American who calls others despicable: m.arkansasonline. com/news/2017/sep/28 /arkansas-woman-arrested-rape-incest-child-porn-cha/

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ARMNAR says... November 13, 2017 at 5:38 p.m.

Bite me, Queenie. Any sane person knows that I was praising McConnell. Only a sick fcuk like you would twist it in such a perverted manner. Given your defensiveness on this topic and your general demeanor here, I'd wager you've abused an underage girl or two along the way. Your personality disorders are certainly in line with the textbook description of abusers.

You grow more pathetic by the day. Have you ever considered getting professional help for your anger issues? Perhaps you, gohogs and moz can get a bulk discount.

( | suggest removal )

RBear says... November 13, 2017 at 6:26 p.m.

Agree with PM. That was my impression when I read it this morning.

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