2nd teen sex as­sault al­le­ga­tion hits Moore

McCon­nell be­lieves GOP can­di­date should ‘step aside.’

The Palm Beach Post - - MORE OF TODAY’S TOP NEWS - By Alan Fram and Bruce Schreiner

WASHINGTON — A se­cond 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, Moore said, 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.”

Two other Se­nate GOP lead­ers — No. 2 John Cornyn of Texas and No. 3 John Thune of South Dakota — with­drew their en­dorse­ments of Moore. And Texas Sen. Ted Cruz took back his sup­port and said the al­le­ga­tions merit “crim­i­nal pros­e­cu­tion” though the statute of lim­i­ta­tions has ex­pired.

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.

McCon­nell, speak­ing Mon­day at an event in Louisville, Ken­tucky, said Moore “should step aside.”

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.

One night when she was 16, Moore of­fered to drive her home, she said, but in­stead parked 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.

“I thought that he was go­ing to rape me,” she said.

Moore fi­nally stopped and as she got out of the car, he warned that no one would be­lieve her be­cause he was a county pros­e­cu­tor, Nel­son said. She said her neck was “black and blue and pur­ple” the next morn­ing and she im­me­di­ately quit her job.

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 be­hav­ior.”

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 also said he would sue the news­pa­per.

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

But Strange told re­porters late Mon­day “a write-in can­di­dacy is highly un­likely.”

“I made my case dur­ing the elec­tion,” Strange said.

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.

The tu­mult comes with Repub­li­cans hold­ing a scant 52-48 Se­nate ma­jor­ity..

SPENCER PLATT/ GETTY IM­AGES

Bev­erly Young Nel­son (left) speaks to the me­dia with her lawyer Glo­ria Allred.

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