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UPDATE: Moore Denies New Accusation Of Sexual Misconduct

According to a Washington Post story an Alabama woman said Roy Moore made inappropriate advances and had sexual contact with her when she was 14. Moore is denying the allegations

THE LATEST on the debate over Roy Moore, Alabama’s Republican nominee for the U.S. Senate, who faces allegations that he initiated sexual contact with a 14-year old girl decades ago. (all times local):

Republican Senate candidate Roy Moore of Alabama.

7:30 p.m.

The mother of Senate candidate Roy Moore’s latest accuser tells The Associated Press she believes her daughter’s claim of assault, calling her a “very credible person.”

Ruth Young said Monday that Beverly Young Nelson told her about the alleged attack by the Alabama Republican in either 2011 or 2012.

“She has always told me the truth even when it hurt,” Ruth Young said at her Gadsden, Alabama, apartment.

Young says she’s been told to refer questions to her daughter’s attorney. That lawyer, Gloria Allred, held a news conference Monday in New York with Beverly Young Nelson, who says Moore assaulted her in the late 1970s, when she was 16.

Moore denies the claims as “absolutely false” and denies other claims of sexual misconduct.

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7 p.m.

Senate candidate Roy Moore of Alabama says the latest accusation against him of sexual misconduct is “absolutely false.”

Standing by his wide at a hastily called news conference, Moore says he did not know Beverly Young Nelson and “never did what she said I did.”

Nelson said Monday that Moore assaulted her in the late 1970s when she was a 16-year-old waitress.

Moore says the accusations against him are a “political maneuver.”

Moore says he is unfamiliar with the restaurant where the woman said Moore was a regular customer. Nelson had shown reporters her high school yearbook that she said Moore signed in 1977.

Kayla Moore defended her husband, saying he is the “most gentle, most kind man that I have ever known.”

Moore did not take questions from reporters.

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6:50 p.m.

Alabama Sen. Luther Strange says it’s “highly unlikely” he will launch a write-in candidacy to retain his Senate seat despite the scandal enveloping Republican nominee Roy Moore.

Strange lost to Moore in a September runoff for the GOP nod. But amid a firestorm of controversy involving allegations that Moore molested teenage girls decades ago, several Republicans have urged Strange to consider a write-in bid.

But Strange says it’s “going to really be up to the people of our state to sort this out.”

Strange adds, “Let the facts unfold. I think right now, a write-in candidacy is highly unlikely.”

A new accuser came forward Monday, alleging that Moore assaulted her when she was 16. Moore calls that new allegation part of a “witch hunt” against him.

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4:55 p.m.

The Democrat in Alabama’s Senate race says that Republican Roy Moore will be “held accountable by the people of Alabama.”

Doug Jones’ campaign issued a Monday statement about the accusations of sexual misconduct being made against Moore. Jones’ campaign is applauding what it calls “the courage” of Moore’s accusers. And it says Moore will be held accountable “by the people of Alabama for his actions.”

The Washington Post reported that Moore, when he was in his 30s, tried to initiate a sexual encounter with a 14-year-old girl and pursued romantic relationships with three other teenagers. A new accuser on Monday said Moore assaulted her when she was a 16-year-old waitress.

Moore has denied any allegations of sexual misconduct.

Moore faces Jones in a Dec. 12 special election.

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3:30 p.m.

The head of the Senate Republican campaign committee says if Roy Moore wins his race in Alabama, the Senate should vote to expel him.

Sen. Cory Gardner of Colorado says in a statement that he believes the women who accused Moore of sexual misconduct and that they spoke with “courage and truth.” Gardner says what they recounted proves Moore is unfit to serve in the Senate and should not run for office.

Gardner says if Moore refuses to withdraw from the Alabama race and wins, “the Senate should vote to expel him, because he does not meet the ethical and moral requirements of the United States Senate.”

A new accuser has come forward, alleging that Moore assaulted her when she was 16. Moore calls that new allegation part of a “witch hunt” against him.

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3:05 p.m.

Republican Senate candidate Roy Moore of Alabama says the latest allegations against him are a “witch hunt.”

Moore’s campaign sent out a statement before a news conference Monday held by lawyer Gloria Allred and the latest accuser, Beverly Young Nelson.

The statement says Allred “is a sensationalist leading a witch hunt.” It says Moore is innocent and “has never had any sexual misconduct with anyone.” The statement reiterates that Moore “will pursue all legal options against these false claims.”

Nelson says Moore assaulted her when she was 16 and he gave her a ride home from a restaurant where she worked.

Her statement follows a Washington Post report that the 70-year-old More had sexual contact with a 14-year-old girl and pursued three other teenagers decades earlier.

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3 p.m.

The latest accuser of Alabama Republican Roy Moore says the Senate candidate assaulted her when he gave her a ride home one night in the late 1970s.

Beverly Young Nelson cried at a news conference in New York with attorney Gloria Allred.

Nelson says she was a 16-year-old high school student working at a restaurant where Moore was a regular. She says Moore groped her, touched her breasts and locked the door to keep her inside his car. She said he squeezed her neck while trying to push her head toward his crotch and that he tried to pull her shirt off.

She said he finally relented and, as she fell or was pushed out of the car, warned her no one would believe her if she spoke about the encounter.

She said she was a high school student at Gadsen High School at the Olde Hickory House and Moore was a regular customer. He sat in the same seat night after night.

Moore called the allegations a “witch hunt” in a statement shortly before the news conference.

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2:45 p.m.

A second woman has come forward to accuse Alabama GOP Senate nominee Roy Moore of sexual misconduct when she was a minor.

Beverly Young Nelson says Moore sexually assaulted her when she was 15 and 16. She held a news conference Monday with attorney Gloria Allred.

Moore called the allegations a “witch hunt” in a statement shortly before the press conference. Her statement follows a Washington Post report that the 70-year-old More had sexual contact with a 14-year-old girl and pursued three other teenagers decades earlier.

Moore has refused to quit the race even with pressure mounting, including from Senate Majority Leader Mitch McConnell.

The Associated Press does not typically identify people who say they are victims of sexual assault unless they speak publicly, which the women have done.

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1:10 p.m.

Alabama’s governor says there are no plans to change the date of the special election for the Senate.

Alabama Gov. Kay Ivey said Monday: “The election date is set for Dec. 12.”

The governor office has said since Saturday that she is not considering moving the election.

Ivey says she plans for now to vote for Republican Senate candidate Roy Moore, but added that “there may be some more facts to come out.”

The Washington Post reported that a woman said Moore, at age 31, initiated a sexual encounter with her when she was 14. The paper quoted other women who said Moore pursued romantic relationships with them between the ages of 16 and 18.

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12:56 p.m.

Alabama Republican Roy Moore says it’s Mitch McConnell who should quit, not him.

Moore is responding to McConnell, the Senate majority leader, who says he believes Moore’s accusers and thinks he should drop out of the race for Senate. At issue is a Washington Post story saying Moore had sexual contact with a 14-year-old girl and pursued romantic relationships with other teenage girls decades ago.

Moore says on Twitter: “The person who should step aside is @SenateMajLdr Mitch McConnell. He has failed conservatives and must be replaced. #DrainTheSwamp.”

The election is Dec. 12 and Moore’s name remains on the Alabama ballot.

Moore’s “drain the swamp” hashtag is popular with President Donald Trump and his supporters.

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11:15 a.m.

Senate Majority Leader Mitch McConnell.

The top Republican in the Senate said Monday GOP candidate Roy Moore should quit his Alabama race amid allegations he had sexual contact with a 14-year-old girl and pursued romantic relationships with other teenage girls decades ago. “I believe the women,” said Majority Leader Mitch McConnell.

McConnell, questioned at a tax event in Louisville, said a write-in effort by another candidate was a possibility.

“That’s an option we’re looking at … whether or not there is someone who can mount a write-in campaign successfully,” McConnell said. Asked specifically about current Sen. Luther Strange, the loser to Moore in a party primary, he said, “We’ll see.”

On the Democratic side, one of the Senate’s moderate members is helping Moore’s challenger raise campaign funds, underscoring the party’s wary approach in an Alabama race that until recently was viewed as a virtually certain win for the GOP.

In fact, the fundraising bid by Sen. Joe Donnelly, D-Ind., doesn’t mention allegations about Moore.

“Doug’s opponent, Roy Moore, is an extremist with a record of putting political ideology above the rule of law,” Donnelly wrote in a weekend email soliciting contributions for Democrat Doug Jones. Moore and Jones face a Dec. 12 special election to replace Strange, who was appointed to replace Jeff Sessions when Sessions was named U.S. attorney general.

Donnelly’s email also cites Jones’ background as “the son of a steelworker” and a prosecutor who “worked to lock away members of the KKK and terrorists for despicable acts of violence.”

Donnelly faces re-election next year in Indiana and is considered one of his party’s most endangered incumbents.

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A defiant Roy Moore on Saturday insisted the allegations of sexual misconduct decades ago were false and voters in Alabama would “see through this charade.”

The Republican Senate candidate showed no signs of backing down despite the demand of a growing number of Washington Republicans for him to step aside.

Moore made his first public appearance on Saturday since The Washington Post on Thursday published interviews with four women who said Moore had tried to have sexual or romantic relationships with them decades ago – when they were teenagers and Moore was in his 30s and an established attorney.

A wave of national Republican leaders, including Senate Majority Leader Mitch McConnell, called for Moore to drop out of the race if the allegations are true. Trump, who is in Asia and said he was too busy to keep up with the news about Moore, referred to a prior statement given to reporters that said Trump believes Moore will “do the right thing…” if the allegations are true.

That did not sit well with some Moore supporters.

“I’m really upset at my own party for condemning him so quickly,” said Tom Byars, who came to hear Moore speak at the Mid-Alabama Republican Club at a library in Vestavia Hills, Alabama, on Saturday. “Even with the president, you know, he had some trouble, too, and he’s turned around and tried to condemn Roy Moore to step down?”

Moore’s speech in Vestavia Hills on Saturday was his first public appearance since the report, although he had also denied the story Friday to conservative radio host Sean Hannity. Moore used the occasion to accuse the Post of engaging in a “desperate attempt to stop my political campaign for United States Senate.”

The staunch GOP audience – which included state Supreme Court Justice Glenn Murdock and members of Alabama’s Republican National Committee – gave Moore a standing ovation when he finished speaking.

Moore denied claims in the story that he had provided beer and wine to women too young to buy it themselves, or that he’d had sexual contact with a 14-year-old girl.

“I have not provided alcoholic beverages, beer or anything else, to a minor,” Moore said. “I have not been guilty of sexual misconduct with anyone.”

Moore also said it was “strange” that women would wait 40 years to make such accusations shortly before a general election. Moore is running against Democrat Doug Jones to fill the U.S. Senate seat previously held by U.S. Attorney General Jeff Sessions.

“That’s not a coincidence. It’s an intentional act to stop the campaign,” Moore said.

But a lawyer for one of the women quoted in the Post report said the women whom Moore victimized were young teenagers while he was a powerful prosecutor.

“They likely feared that he would publicly persecute them … precisely as he has done this week,” Attorney Paula Cobia said in an email to The Associated Press.

Jones, speaking at an event Saturday in Tuscaloosa, said Moore needed to do more to address the allegations. “These are very serious allegations that he needs to significantly try to address,” Jones said, according to the Tuscaloosa News reported.

Before Moore’s speech, his opponents gathered outside the library, carrying signs and chanting anti-Moore slogans.

A group consisting mostly of women gathered to oppose Moore. Cheryl Knowles, a Vestavia Hills Democrat, held up a sign that said “#NoMoore” outside the library where Moore spoke.

“Please tell the people of America that some of us are so embarrassed,” said Knowles.

Moore also said there would be new “revelations” in connection with the newspaper report that brought allegations of sexual misconduct to light.

“In the next few days there will be revelations about the motivations and the content of this article that will be brought to the public,” he said. “We fully expect the people of Alabama to see through this charade.”

A spokesman for Moore declined to provide further information about what information those revelations might contain.

In the hours following the Post report Thursday, some Republicans speculated that Alabama Gov. Kay Ivey would delay the Dec. 12 special election.

However, Ivey spokesman Josh Pendergrass said Saturday that Ivey “is not considering and has no plans to move the special election for U.S. Senate.”

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