New sex assault allegation hits Moore; withdrawal calls grow

WASHINGTON — Yet another 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 a tearful Beverly Young Nelson’s allegations at 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.

In the latest day of jarring events, 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 remarkably 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, sensational accusation in the story.

She said Moore was a regular customer at the restaurant where she worked after school in Gadsden, Alabama. 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 crotch 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 incident 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 behaviour.”

McConnell, speaking Monday at an event in Louisville, Kentucky, 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.

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.

McConnell and Moore have had an openly antagonistic history for some time. 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, Alabama, 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 levelled 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.

Jones said in a statement Monday, “We applaud the courage of these women. Roy Moore will be held accountable by the people of Alabama for his actions.”

 

Photo by THE ASSOCIATED PRESS Beverly Young Nelson, the latest accuser of Alabama Republican Roy Moore, reads her statement at a news conference, in New York, Monday. Nelson says Moore assaulted her when she was 16 and he offered her a ride home from a restaurant where she worked. Moore says the latest allegations against him are a “witch hunt.”

Just Posted

WATCH: Property taxes in Red Deer will go up 2.02 per cent in 2018

City council passes a “tough” budget that maintains most service levels

Red Deer councillor balks at city getting stuck with more funding responsibilities

Volunteer Central seeks municipal funding after being cut off by government

Olds chicken barn burns to the ground, no livestock harmed

More than 100,000 chickens were saved as fire crews prevent the blaze from spreading

Bear video meant to promote conservation: zoo owner

Discovery Wildlife Park says it will look at other ways to promote its conservation message

Red Deer’s Soundhouse closing its doors on Record Store Day

The owners of The Soundhouse want to shut down their store on… Continue reading

NorAm Western Canadian Cross Country Ski Championships begin in Red Deer

The biggest cross-country skiing competition in Red Deer’s history is underway. Nearly… Continue reading

In photos: Get ready for Western Canadian Championships

Haywood NorAm Western Canadian Championships and Peavey Mart Alberta Cup 5/6 start… Continue reading

WATCH: Red Deer city council debates cost-savings versus quality of life

Majority of councillors decide certain services are worth preserving

Got milk? Highway reopened near Millet

A southbound truck hauling milk and cartons collided with a bridge

Stettler’s newest residents overcame fear, bloodshed to come here

Daniel Kwizera, Diane Mukasine and kids now permanent residents

Giddy up: Red Deer to host Canadian Finals Rodeo in 2018

The CFR is expected to bring $20-30 million annually to Red Deer and region

Ice dancers Virtue and Moir to carry flag at Pyeongchang Olympics

Not since Kurt Browning at the 1994 Lillehammer Games has a figure… Continue reading

Beer Canada calls on feds to axe increasing beer tax as consumption trends down

OTTAWA — A trade association for Canada’s beer industry wants the federal… Continue reading

Most Read


Five-day delivery plus unlimited digital access for $185 for 260 issues (must live in delivery area to qualify) Unlimited Digital Access 99 cents for the first four weeks and then only $15 per month Five-day delivery plus unlimited digital access for $15 a month