A fifth woman came forward Monday to level accusations of sexual misconduct against Roy Moore, the Republican nominee for Alabama’s open Senate seat in an election next month.
Prominent Republican Sens. John McCain, Jeff Flake and Susan Collins are calling for the embattled conservative to drop out of the race, after accusations that Moore made sexual advances toward teenage girls, the youngest aged 14 at the time, as reported by The New York Times. That list also includes Senate Majority Leader Mitch McConnell, who said he “believe[s] the women” and that Moore “should step aside.”
But what are the accusations against Moore — and who is accusing him?
The Washington Post published a story Thursday that included four of the five allegations against Moore. The most explosive accusation in that story came from Leigh Corfman, who says she was just 14 in 1979 when Moore, then 32 years old, “took off her shirt and pants and removed his clothes. He touched her over her bra and underpants, she says, and guided her hand to touch him over his underwear,” The Washington Post reported.
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Moore, according to the Post, also “pursued” three other teenage girls: Wendy Miller, 16 at the time, Debbie Wesson Gibson, 17 at the time, and Gloria Thacker Deason, 18 at the time. Miller said she never went on a date with Moore, but Gibson and Deason said they did.
Corfman is the only person whose alleged experience with Moore went beyond just kissing, the Post reported.
Moore called that Thursday story “fake news,” then Beverly Young Nelson came forward in a press conference Monday to say that Moore would often visit a restaurant she worked at when she was just 15, pulling her hair and complimenting her looks.
She says Moore signed her school yearbook on Dec. 22, 1977, when she left it sitting on the end of a counter. “To a sweeter more beautiful girl I could not say ‘Merry Christmas.’ Christmas 1977. Love, Roy Moore D.A. 12-22-77 Olde Hickory House,” it read.
“I took the yearbook home with me at the end of my shift that day,” she said. “I felt honored that Mr. Moore, who was such an important person, would write in my yearbook.”
Young said that on another day Moore offered to give her a ride home after work. But instead of taking her home, Young, 16 at the time, said that Moore, then 30, began to grope her inside of his locked car, and after she asked him to stop, “began squeezing my neck attempting to force my head onto his crotch.”
She alleged Moore gave up and told her, “you are a child. I am the District attorney of Etiwah County. If you tell anyone about this, no one will believe you.” Then, Young said, she “either fell out or [Moore] pushed” her out of the car before he drove away.
Moore has denied the allegations, threatening to file a lawsuit against the Post and questioning why the decades-old allegations are just coming to light before the election for Alabama’s open Senate seat, the Chicago Tribune reported.
Moore said he doesn’t “even know” Young, and that he isn’t familiar with the restaurant Young said he frequented. He told Sean Hannity that he “dated a lot of young ladies” and recognized Debbie Wesson Gibson and Gloria Thacker Deason’s names — but that “these allegations are completely false, false and misleading.”
"Let me ask you this. You do remember these girls. Would it be unusual for you as a 32-year-old guy to have dated a woman as young as 17?” Hannity asked him. “That would be a 15-year difference for a girl 18. Do you remember dating girls that young at that time?"
"Not generally, no," Moore responded. "If I did, you know, I'm not going to dispute anything but I don't remember anything like that."
Moore currently leads Democratic challenger Doug Jones by two points, 48.3 percent to 46.3 percent, in the race for Alabama’s open Senate seat, according to RealClearPolitics.
The special election is on Dec. 12. No Democrat has won a statewide race in the deep red state since 2008, according to FiveThirtyEight, and the last Democrat to win a U.S. Senate race in Alabama did so in 1992.