Another woman has come forward to accuse Republican U.S. Senate candidate Roy Moore of sexual misconduct. The new accuser alleges Moore sexually assaulted her outside of a restaurant where she worked as a waitress in 1977.
Beverly Young Nelson said in a tearful press conference on Monday that Moore offered her a ride home from work when she was a 16-year-old high school student. Moore, at the time, was in his early 30s and a regular customer at the restaurant, where he would compliment her hair and other looks. She said she never invited the attention.
Instead of taking her home, Moore pulled around to the back of the restaurant and groped her, Nelson said, against her will.
Moore tried to force her head down into his crotch and remove her shirt, she said.
"I thought he was going to rape me," Nelson said, visibly shaken. "I was twisting, and I was struggling, and I was begging him to stop."
Eventually, he did stop, she said.
Nelson lived in Gadsden, Alabama, in Etowah County, where Moore was working as an upstart district attorney. Several days before the alleged assault, Moore asked to sign her yearbook.
“To a sweeter more beautiful girl I could not say ‘Merry Christmas.’ Christmas 1977. Love Roy Moore DA, 12-22-27 Old Hickory House," the inscription read. Nelson said she told her mother, sister and husband about the alleged assault but has never disclosed it publicly.
He would later go on to become a circuit court judge and serve two unfinished terms as Alabama Supreme Court chief justice. Both times he was removed from the position for defying federal courts.
Republican leaders in Washington have descended on Moore, urging him to drop out of the race. He has thus far refused, denying the allegations. His campaign has said the allegations are politically motivated.
"We’ve said this before and we’ll say it again: Judge Moore is an innocent man and has never had any sexual misconduct with anyone," his campaign chairman Bill Armistead said. "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."
Senate Majority Leader Mitch McConnell said Monday that he believed the women who have accused Moore and said, "I think he should step aside," according to Politico.
Several other Republican senators, including Sen. Mike Lee of Utah, a conservative leader in the Senate who had endorsed Moore, have called for him to step aside. Senate Majority Whip John Cornyn, R-Texas, who had also endorsed Moore, announced Monday he was withdrawing his support.
Sen. Cory Gardner, R-Colorado, who chairs the National Republican Senatorial Committee, said he believes the Senate should expel Moore if he doesn't drop out of the race and goes on to win.
“I believe the individuals speaking out against Roy Moore spoke with courage and truth, proving he is unfit to serve in the United States Senate and he should not run for office," Gardner said. The NRSC, founded in 1916, works to elect Republicans to Congress.
So far, Alabama GOP leaders have not urged Moore to step down. Most have remained supportive of Moore, despite the mountain accusations.
Moore won a September runoff against Sen. Luther Strange, R-Alabama, to become the Republican nominee in a special election scheduled for Dec. 12. Nelson, who is being represented by Gloria Allred, is the fifth woman in recent days to accuse Moore of pursuing them in their teenage years. She is the second to allege sexual assault. She said the other women coming forward gave her the courage to tell her story.
In a bombshell report by the Washington Post last week, Leigh Corfman said Moore pursued her outside of an Etowah County courtroom in 1979 when she was 14 years old and he was 32.
The age of consent in Alabama was then and is now 16 years old.
After speaking with her while her mother went inside for a custody hearing, Moore later picked Corfman up near her home and took her to his country house where he initiated sexual contact with her, she said.
She said he took off her shirt and removed his clothes. He touched her over her underwear and bra and guided her to touch his underwear, she said, and she pulled away when he tried to get her to touch him. She then asked him to take her home, and he did, she said.
“I wanted it over with — I wanted out,” she said, recalling the incident. “Please just get this over with. Whatever this is, just get it over.”