New accuser claims sexual assault by US Senate hopeful Roy Moore

Wednesday, 15 November 2017, 07:55:32 AM. A new accuser alleges US Republican Senate hopeful Roy Moore sexually assaulted her in a locked car in the 1970s.

Beverly Nelson reacts as she reads a statement to reporters. Photo: Beverly Young Nelson (left) said Roy Moore told her no-one would believe her. (Reuters: Lucas Jackson)

A new accuser has said that as a teenager in the 1970s she was sexually assaulted by Roy Moore in a locked car, further rocking the Alabama Republican's race for an open Senate seat.

In tears, Beverly Young Nelson said that when she was 16, Mr Moore offered her a ride home from the restaurant where she worked.

She accused him of touching her breasts and locking the door to keep her inside his car. She said he squeezed her neck while trying to push her head towards his crotch and tried to pull her shirt off.

Mr Moore finally stopped and as she fell or was pushed out of the car, he warned her no-one would believe her because he was a county district attorney, Ms Nelson said.

The allegation came on Monday when Senate Majority Leader Mitch McConnell said Mr Moore should quit the contest. Mr Moore fired back that it was Senator McConnell who should step down.

Even before the news conference by Ms Nelson, Mr Moore's campaign released a statement saying attorney Gloria Allred, who is representing Nelson, "is a sensationalist leading a witch hunt".

Republican nominee for Alabama Roy Moore Photo: Roy Moore is an outspoken Christian conservative and former state Supreme Court judge. (Reuters: Jonathan Ernst)

It said Mr Moore was innocent and, "has never had any sexual misconduct with anyone".

Before Monday, Mr Moore was already battling allegations reported last week by The Washington Post that he had sexual contact with a 14-year-old girl decades ago when he was in his 30s and pursued romantic relationships with three other teenagers.

"I believe the women," Senator McConnell said, adding Mr Moore should step aside for another GOP candidate.

When the Post's story first broke, Senator McConnell had said Mr Moore should step aside if the allegations were true.

Shortly after Mr McConnell made his remarks, Mr Moore tweeted:

External Link: Twitter: "The person who should step aside is Mitch McConnell. He has failed conservatives and must be replaced"

The crossfire escalated a GOP civil war over Mr Moore's Senate candidacy in a December 12 special election, which until last week's allegations was viewed as an inevitable Republican win in the deep-red state.

Involvement with minor allegations 'untrue'

Mr Moore has said a lawsuit would be filed over the Post report that detailed the allegations against him.

While pressure to quit the race four weeks before election day intensified from within the Republican Party, Mr Moore assured supporters at a Huntsville, Alabama gym the article was "fake news" and "a desperate attempt to stop my political campaign".

Mr Moore said allegations he was involved with a minor child were "untrue" and the newspaper "will be sued", drawing a round of applause.

He 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.

"Why would they come now? Because there are groups that don't want me in the United States Senate," he said, naming the Democratic Party and the Republican establishment and accusing them of working together.

"We do not plan to let anybody deter us from this race."

Mr Moore is an outspoken Christian conservative and former state Supreme Court judge.

Beverly Young Nelson points to a photograph of herself in her high school yearbook. Photo: Beverly Young Nelson points to a photograph of herself in her high school yearbook. (Reuters: Lucas Jackson)

AP

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