Alabama Senate candidate Roy Moore has been accused of assault by a fifth woman as GOP leaders increase calls for him to “step aside”.
Beverly Young Nelson, 56, has revealed she was 16 years old when Roy Moore allegedly tried to force himself on her after offering a ride home from her job as a waitress.
The woman said: “I tried fight him off while yelling at him to stop.”
She also said that he locked his car to prevent her escape.
Roy Moore, now 70, denies the allegations, describing them as a “witch hunt”.
However, Senator Cory Gardner, the National Republican Senatorial Committee chairman, said on November 13 he believes Roy Moore’s accusers “spoke with courage and truth” and the former Alabama Supreme Court judge should be expelled if he is elected.
“If he refuses to withdraw and wins, the Senate should vote to expel him, because he does not meet the ethical and moral requirements of the United States Senate,” Cory Gardner said.
Beverly Young Nelson’s accusation comes after four other women detailed allegations of assault by the conservative firebrand while they were teenagers in Alabama.
The woman said she met Roy Moore during the late 1970s at the Olde Hickory House restaurant in Gadsen, Alabama, where she worked as a waitress while she was a teenager.
Beverly Young Nelson claimed Roy Moore, a 30-year-old deputy district attorney at the time, offered to sign her high school yearbook and wrote: “To a sweeter more beautiful girl I could not say Merry Christmas.”
He signed it “Love, Roy Moore, DA”, according to a copy of the yearbook page provided to reporters by her attorney, Gloria Allred.
About a week or two later, Roy Moore allegedly offered to drive her home and instead drove to the back of the restaurant car park.
At a news conference on November 13, Beverly Young Nelson told reporters: “I was terrified. He was also trying to pull my shirt off. I thought he was going to rape me.”
“At some point he gave up and he then looked at me and he told me, <<You’re just a child>>, and he said, <<I am the district attorney of Etowah County. If you tell anyone about this, no one will believe you>>,” she said, adding that her neck was bruised in the struggle.
“He finally allowed me to open the door and I either fell out or he pushed me out.”
Roy Moore Campaign Chairman Bill Armistead denied the charges, calling the candidate “an innocent man”.
“This is a witch hunt against a man who has had an impeccable career for over 30 years and has always been known as a man of high character,” he said.
Roy Moore’s wife also vehemently denies the allegations, contending that her husband’s accusers are being paid.
Also on November 13, Senate Republican leader Mitch McConnell said that he believed the women accusing Roy Moore of inappropriate behavior.
Mitch McConnell told reporters in his home state of Kentucky that party officials have considered whether another Republican could challenge Roy Moore in next month’s election, through a so-called write-in challenge.
He said Luther Strange, whom Roy Moore beat in the Republican primary earlier this year, was a possible option.
Last week’s Washington Post story quoted four women by name, including one who alleged Roy Moore initiated contact with her when she was 14 – beneath the legal age of consent in Alabama – while he was a prosecutor in his 30s.
Roy Moore has said the Washington Post story is a fabricated smear by his political opponents, calling it “a prime example of fake news”.
Mitch McConnell previously said Roy Moore should step aside only if the allegations were proven true.
On November 13, he said flatly: “I believe the women. Yes.”
Roy Moore replied in a tweet: “The person who should step aside is @SenateMajLdr Mitch McConnell. He has failed conservatives and must be replaced. #DrainTheSwamp.”
Roy Moore, an outspoken Christian conservative, had been a heavy favorite to win the December 12 election against Democrat Doug Jones.
However, an opinion poll after the allegations surfaced suggested the race was tightening. Alabama has not elected a Democratic senator in a quarter of a century.