An Alabama woman, Beverly Young Nelson, is now the fifth woman to accuse Roy Moore of sexual assault. She says he groped her 40 years ago when she was 16 years old and told her, “no one will believe you, you’re only a child.” USA TODAY
MONTGOMERY, Ala. — Another Alabama woman came forward Monday to accuse Senate candidate Roy Moore of assaulting her when she was a minor.
Moore, then 30, was a regular patron of the Olde Hickory House diner where Beverly Nelson, 16 years old in 1977, worked in Gadsden, Ala. Moore, then an assistant district attorney, offered her a ride home one evening.
“He stopped his car,” Nelson said before reporters in New York. “He parked his car in-between the dumpster and the back of restaurant where there was no light. The area was dark and it was deserted. I was alarmed, and I immediately asked him what he was doing.”
Moore began grabbing her breasts, Nelson said. Then he locked the car door when she tried to get out.
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Nelson said Moore squeezed her neck and “attempted to force my head into his crotch.”
“I thought he was going to rape me,” said Nelson, sitting next to lawyer Gloria Allred at a press conference. “I was twisting, and I was struggling and I was begging him to stop. At some point he gave up.
“And he looked at me and told me, ‘You’re just a child, and I am the district attorney. If you tell anyone about this, no one will ever believe you,” Nelson said. Moore was assistant district attorney in Gadsden, in northeast Alabama, from 1977 to 1982.
Nelson became the fifth woman in less than a week to accuse Moore of inappropriate contact with teenagers in the late 1970s and early 1980s. In a story published Thursday, four women told The Washington Post that Moore pursued relationships with them as teens.
One, Leigh Corfman, said she was 14 in 1979 when Moore took her to his home, removed their clothes and guided her hand over his crotch. The age of consent in Alabama, then and now, is 16.
Moore has called the charges false and questioned the motivations of the accusers and The Washington Post. Moore campaign chairman Bill Armistead accused Allred of leading a “witch hunt.”
“We’ve said this before and we’ll say it again: Judge Moore is an innocent man and has never had any sexual misconduct with anyone,” Armistead’s statement said.
Moore has threatened investigations and a lawsuit against The Washington Post.
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The women all have stood by the Post’s stories. Allred and Nelson brought a yearbook to the press conference that Moore had signed a few weeks before Nelson’s alleged attack.
Allred, who has represented woman who have accused President Trump and comedian Bill Cosby of sexual misconduct or assault, said Nelson would be willing to testify before the Senate Judiciary Committee about the incident involving Moore.
Nelson said she would have taken the story “to her grave” without the other women coming forward.
“I want Mr. Moore to know he has no longer has any power over me, and I no longer live in fear of him,” she said.
Another woman, Gloria Deason, earlier said she was 18 when Moore took her on a date and bought her wine. The legal drinking age was 19 at the time.
Appearing Friday on Sean Hannity’s conservative radio talk show, Moore called the Post report “completely false” and denied the incident with Corfman though he acknowledged knowing two of the other women
He said it was “not my customary behavior” to date teenagers.
“I’m not going to dispute anything, but I don’t remember anything like that,” he said. “I don’t remember dating any girl without the permission of her mother.”
The allegations have led several national Republicans, including Senate Majority Leader Mitch McConnell, R-Ky., to distance themselves from Moore. The National Republican Senatorial Committee ended a fundraising agreement with Moore.
Speaking in his home state Monday, McConnell told reporters that he believes the women and called for Moore to step aside.
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The chairman of the GOP Senate fundraising committee, Sen. Corey Gardner, R-Colo., said Moore should not be seated if he wins.
“If he refuses to withdraw and wins, the Senate should expel him,” Gardner said in a statement.
Sen. Pat Toomey, R-Pa., urged Moore to drop out of the race. He said Moore’s explanations had been inadequate and that Republicans should consider Sen. Luther Strange as a write-in candidate to run against Moore. Strange lost the Republican primary to Moore in September.
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Even if Moore were to step aside, his name likely would remain on the ballot. And any effort to add Strange as a write-in candidate would threaten to divide the GOP vote in a way that would give the Democratic candidate a greater chance of winning.
Moore is facing Democratic nominee Doug Jones in a Dec. 12 special election. Jones expressed support for the women in a statement Monday.
“We applaud the courage of these women,” Jones’ statement said. “Roy Moore will be held accountable by the people of Alabama for his actions.”
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Some Alabama Republicans have publicly defended Moore, but prominent members of the state party, including Alabama Gov. Kay Ivey, have been cautious. The Alabama Republican Party has not issued a statement on the allegations.
“Isn’t it strange after 40 years of constant investigation, that people have waited four weeks before a general election to bring their complaint?” Moore said at an event Saturday. “That’s not a coincidence.”
Contributing: The Associated Press. Follow Brian Lyman on Twitter: @lyman_brian
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