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Calls for Republican senate nominee in Alabama to quit over sexual misconduct accusations

Roy Moore, a former judge, has denied explosive allegations from multiple women that he pursued them when they were 18 or younger.

world Updated: Nov 10, 2017 21:51 IST
HT Correspondent
Roy Moore, the Republican party’s nominee for the US senate in Alabama.
Roy Moore, the Republican party’s nominee for the US senate in Alabama.(Reuters)

Republican leaders are calling for Roy Moore, the party’s nominee for the US senate in Alabama, to quit the race if allegations of his initiating a sexual encounter with a minor are true.

The woman, Leigh Corfman, who is now 53, told The Washington Post she first met Moore aged 14 outside a courthouse where she and her mother waiting for a custody hearing. Moore, then 32, offered to sit with her as the mother went for the hearing. He asked her for his phone number shortly.

Corfman said he picked her up from her house after a few days, drove her to his house and kissed her. She said on the second visit, he took off his and her shirt and pants and touched her over her undergarments and guided her to touch him too.

“I wanted it over with — I wanted out,” she told the Post. “Please just get this over with. Whatever this is, just get it over.” She asked Moore to drop her home, and he did. That was the last encounter she spoke about.

The Washington Post spoke to four other women who have alleged Moore either dated them or had asked them out when they were under 18.

Moore denied the allegations. “These allegations are completely false and are a desperate political attack by the National Democrat Party and the Washington Post on this campaign,” he said in a statement.

His campaign followed up with more vitriol. “This garbage is the very definition of fake news and intentional defamation,” it said in a statement.

Moore, a former Alabama state supreme court chief justice, is infamous for comparing the Quran to Adolf Hitler’s Mein Kampf. He has also said Muslims must not be elected to congress, believes homosexuality should be illegal, and continued to hold on to the utterly fact-free notion that former president Barack Obama was not born in the United States, even after everyone else had moved on.

Republicans were already concerned about Moore, who beat a candidate backed by President Donald Trump in the primaries, and may have reached the end of their forbearance.

“Like most Americans, the president does not believe we can allow a mere allegation, in this case one from many years ago, to destroy a person’s life. However, the president also believes that if these allegations are true, Judge Moore will do the right thing and step aside,” White House press secretary Sarah Sanders said.

Mike Pence’s spokesperson said the vice president believes that if the allegation are true, “this would disqualify anyone from serving in office”.

Senate majority leader Mitch McConnell said in a statement, “If these allegations are true, he must step aside.”

Senior party leader John McCain said: “The allegations against Roy Moore are deeply disturbing and disqualifying. He should immediately step aside and allow the people of Alabama to elect a candidate they can be proud of.”

But Moore has said he is not stepping down.