Less than one month until his Senate special election in Alabama, Republican candidate Roy Moore is facing numerous allegations of sexual misconduct with underage women.
Five women have now come forward with the sexual harassment and assault allegations against Moore, claiming they took place decades ago when he worked in the Etowah County District Attorney’s Office.
While four of the accusers came forward with their allegations against Moore in a story by The Washington Post, the fifth, Beverly Young Nelson, told her story during a press conference alongside her lawyer, Gloria Allred, on Monday.
Nelson, 56, said she was 16-years old and working as a waitress at a restaurant in Alabama when Moore sexually assaulted her. She described him as being a regular at the restaurant and very flirtatious. On one occasion, she said Moore offered to give her a ride home after a shift. She claims that instead of driving toward her house, though, Moore drove to the back of the restaurant and proceeded to sexually assault her.
Moore’s on the ballot for the special election to replace former Senator Jeff Sessions on December 12. He defeated Luther Strange, who served in the seat after Sessions was appointed attorney general, in a primary election. Moore is going against against Democrat Doug Jones in the general election.
Here’s what you need to know about Nelson’s accusations against Moore:
1. Nelson Claims Moore Wrote She Was a ‘Beautiful Girl in Her Yearbook & Was Very Flirtatious
Nelson told her story at the press conference in Madison, New York on November 13. She opened by describing her background, saying she was born in Santa Maria, California before moving to Alabama with her family when she was young.
As a teenager, she started working as a waitress after school at the Old Hickory House, a restaurant in Gadsden that Moore frequented, she said. She worked there when she was 15-16 years old and said she’d often work until 7-10 p.m. Moore would come into the restaurant “nearly every day,” sitting in the same seat and oftentimes staying until the restaurant closed.
Nelson burst into tears as she described how Moore complimented her appearance, saying he was very flirtatious with her. On occasion, she said Moore would touch her long, red hair.
“I did know that he was an important person, and I always treated him with respect,” Nelson said. “When he was at the restaurant, he would speak to me and would sometimes pull the ends of my long hair as I walked by him.”
Watch her full, emotional press conference in the video below:
Nelson said she was accustomed to men flirting with her because she was “well developed and competed in beauty pageants.” She claims that she never responded to Moore’s flirtatious behavior because she had a boyfriend at the time and wasn’t interested in having a relationship “with a man who’s twice my age.”
One time, she said that she brought her high school yearbook to the restaurant. Moore saw it and asked her if he could sign it.
“I felt flattered, and I said yes,” she said.
Nelson claims that Moore wrote in a note that she was a “beautiful girl” and signed it: “Love, Roy Moore, D.A.” Nelson and Allred displayed the yearbook at the press conference.
2. Nelson Claims Moore Groped Her in His Vehicle & Forced Her Head Down on His Crotch
Nelson’s alleged sexual encounter with Moore took place in December 1977, she said. As she left the restaurant after a shift and awaited her boyfriend to pick her up, she said Moore approached her outside. With her boyfriend running late, she said Moore offered her a ride home and she agreed because she trusted him.
“I thought he was simply doing something nice by offering to drive me home,” she said. “I did not want to wait outside in the cold, so I agreed.”
Because cell phones didn’t exist back then, she said she intended on calling her boyfriend to let him know she got a ride once she got home.
Instead of driving on the highway, though, she claims Moore drove to the back of the restaurant between dumpsters and parked where there were no lights. Nelson said she questioned what he was doing, and he suddenly started putting his hands on her against her will.
“I tried to open my car door to leave, but he reached over and he locked it so I could not get out,” she described. “I tried fighting him off, while yelling at him to stop. But instead of stopping he began squeezing my neck, attempting to force my head onto his crotch. I continued to struggle. I was determined that I was not going to allow him to force me to have sex with him. I was terrified, he was also trying to pull my shirt off. I thought that he was going to rape me. I was twisting and struggling and I was begging him to stop. I had tears running down my face.”
She said that at some point, Moore gave up and threatened her, saying: “You’re just a child, I am the district attorney of Etowah County. And if you tell anyone about this, no one will ever believe you.”
Nelson said that Moore allowed her to open the door and leave, but wasn’t sure if he pushed her out. Either way, she claims she was on the ground as Moore sped away with the passenger-side door open. As she got up and went back to the front of the restaurant, her boyfriend arrived and picked her up.
“It was late, it was dark and I didn’t say anything to him as to what occurred,” Young said about what she said to her boyfriend. “When I got home, I went to my room, and the following morning my neck was black and blue and purple. In the days following, I covered the bruising on my neck with makeup. I did not tell anyone what had happened. I was scared. I felt that if I told anyone that Mr. Moore would do something to me or my family.”
Nelson said that one day after the alleged assault, she quit the restaurant and never went back.
In the years that followed, Nelson said she only told close family members about what happened.
Calling for a Senate Hearing
Allred said that her client is willing to testify under oath in front of the Senate Judiciary Committee. She said that they want Moore to be subpoenaed and want the hearing to be held as soon as possible — within two weeks — or she will speak out to the media.
Prior to the press conference, Moore released a statement once again denying the claims and referring to Allred as a “sensationalist” who was “leading a witch hunt” against him.
“We’ve said this before and well say it again: Judge Moore is an innocent man and has never had any sexual misconduct with anyone,” the statement said.
3. Nelson Worked as an Interior Designer & Said She Is a Trump Supporter
Nelson said at the press conference that she’s been married to John Nelson for the last 13 years, adding that he works as a truck driver and took time off to be with her as she disclosed the allegations. She said they’re both Donald Trump supporters and voted for him during the 2016 presidential election. According to Alabama voting records, Nelson’s voter profile is “inactive.”
According to the Alabama Secretary of State, being an “inactive voter” means that they didn’t respond to a mailing requesting to update their information and are still eligible to vote as a normal voter.
Inactive voter registration status means that a voter is able to vote as a normal voter on election day but they will also be asked to update their voter registration information when they visit the polls on election day.
Nelson’s LinkedIn account says she now resides in Anniston, Alabama and is a “housewife.” Prior to that, though, she spent nearly 30 years as an interior designer of a business that she founded. In addition, her LinkedIn account also says she owned a painting business starting in 1987 and did so for nearly 15 years until 2001. Nelson’s social media profiles indicated that she attended from Gadsden State Community College in Gadsden, Alabama.
Nelson’s Attorney Has Represented Clients in Several High-Profile Cases
Allred, a registered Democrat, is an American Women’s rights attorney known for taking on high profile — and sometimes controversial — cases primarily involving the protection of women’s rights.
“She is a tireless and successful advocate for victims whose rights have been violated,” a description of Allred says on her website. “Her high-profile legal battles have led to many landmark precedent-setting court decisions and hundreds of millions of dollars for her clients.”
In 2002, after entertainer Michael Jackson dangled his son from a balcony in Berlin, Allred wrote a letter to California’s Child Protective Services and asked for a full investigation into the safety of his children.
Allred is also representing at least 28 women who accuse comedian Bill Cosby of sexual misconduct. Most recently, she represented three women who accused President Trump of sexual misconduct. Trump denied the claims, which surfaced during his 2016 presidential campaign. He called the stories of the women “totally false and ridiculous” and vowed to sue those three women.
“This is just another attempt by the Clinton campaign to defame a candidate who just today is number one in three different polls,” the Trump campaign said in a statement. “Anyone who would pay thugs to incite violence at a rally against American citizens, as was released on video, will stop at nothing. Just another example of the Clinton campaign trying to rig the election.”
In her response, Allred accused Trump of bullying the women who came foward.
“If Mr. Trump thought that such bullying tactics would silence his accusers and prevent other women from coming forward, he will be sorely disappointed,” Allred said at a news conference. “Women will not be intimidated into silence by Donald Trump. If he sues them, we are confident that an army of lawyers will step forward to represent them, and we believe that the public will financially support their legal defense.”
Allred is the mother of attorney Lisa Bloom, who’s similarly represented women accusing men of sexual misconduct. Bloom, however, initially decided that she would represent Harvey Weinsetein when dozens of women came forward with sexual misconduct allegations.
Just days after making the decision, though, she announced that she resigned as his legal counsel. Bloom, who’s recent clients include Kathy Griffin and Blac Chyna, called the decision to represent Weinstein a “colossal mistake.”
“I can see that my just being associated with this was a mistake,” Bloom said to BuzzFeed News. “All I can say is, from my perspective, I thought, ‘Here is my chance to get to the root of the problem from the inside. I am usually on the outside throwing stones. Here is my chance to be in the inside and to get a guy to handle this thing in a different way.’ I thought that would be a positive thing. But clearly it did not go over at all.”
4. 4 Other Women Came Forward With Sexual Misconduct Allegations Against Moore
Four other women came forward saying they had relationships with Moore decades ago in a story that was published by The Washington Post on November 9. One of the women, Leigh Corfman, said she was just 14-years old when Moore initiated a sexual encounter between the two.
In her story, Corfman said that Moore approached her when she was outside of a courtroom in Etowah County, Alabama. Moore was a 32-year-old assistant district attorney at the time, and Corfman claims she gave her phone number to him.
Corfman said that just a few days later, Moore picked her up from her house and they went to his home. On the first date, Corfman says the two kissed. Things escalated on the second, she claims. After Moore picked her up, she said he touched her over her bra and underwear. She added that Moore took her hand and put it over his underwear.
“I wasn’t ready for that,” she told The Post. “I had never put my hand on a man’s penis, much less an erect one.”
In addition, Corfman said Moore of gave her alcohol during that encounter, though the legal drinking age in Alabama at the time was 19.
“I wanted it over with — I wanted out,” she told the newspaper. “Please just get this over with. Whatever this is, just get it over.”
Corfman said that Moore took her home following the encounter, calling him “charming and smiley.”
Another woman, Gloria Thacker Deason, told The Post she entered a relationship with him when she was 18. Deason said that Moore would often pick her up for dates from the community college she attended or the jewelry store she worked at.
The two went out on numerous dates, she said, and drank alcohol although she was underage. Deason’s mother was strict and typically wouldn’t allow her to meet past 10:30 p.m., but because she thought highly of Moore, “she just felt like I would be safe with him,” Deason said in her account of their relationship.
Deason said the two dated off and on for “several months,” adding she took her to his home more than once. However, their physical relationship never got any further than kissing and hugging, she said.
5. Moore Has Threatened Lawsuit & Claims the Women Were Paid to Come Forward
Since the allegations came to light, Moore denied them, saying they were “fake news” and a “desperate attack” by Democrats trying to ruin his campaign ahead of the December 12 special Senate election.
“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. “If any of these allegations were true, they would have been made public long before now.”
On November 12, Moore threatened to sue The Post over the allegations.
“The Washington Post published another attack on my character and reputation because they are desperate to stop my political campaign,” he said during a campaign speech. “These attacks said I was with a minor child and are false and untrue — and for which they will be sued.”
The next day, hours before Nelson’s press conference, Moore’s wife, Kayla Moore, wrote in a lengthy post on her personal Facebook account that the Moore campaign is continuing to gather evidence which shows all of the accusers against her husband were paid to come forward.
“We knew something was coming, just did not know what next,” she wrote. “This is the same Gloria Allred that did the very exact same thing to Trump during his campaign. Going on two months now they’ve been on a witchhunt here in Etowah County and our state advertising people to step forward with accusations and we are gathering evidence of money being paid to people who would come forward.”
Politicians Telling Moore to Suspend his Campaign
Many prominent lawmakers have called for Moore to suspend his Senate campaign. On November 13, Senate Majority Leader Mitch McConnell spoke out to media members, saying that he believes the accusers and that Moore should step aside from the Senate special election. But Moore’s campaign fired back at McConnell, tweeting that he’s the person who should “step aside.”
Other GOP lawmakers have had much of the same things as McConnell to say regarding Moore’s Senate campaign. Republican Sen. David Perdue of Georgia advised Moore to “step aside” if the allegations are true.
Among the most powerful statements came from Senator John McCain, who called the allegations “deeply disturbing and disqualifying.”
Trump has been asked about his opinion on the allegations against Moore and has largely sidestepped questions. White House Legislative Director Marc Short said on NBC’s Meet the Press that he expects Trump to “give the matter more attention” when he returns back to the United States following his trip through Asia.
“I think the president’s obviously on a very important trip, and when he returns I think we’ll have that conversation,” Short said. “If more evidence comes out that can prove that he did this, then sure, by all means he should be disqualified. But that’s a huge if.”
The National Republican Senate Committee announced it’s no longer raising money for Moore. It’s too late to replace Moore on the ballot, but some lawmakers, such as Sen. Lisa Murkowski of Alaska, have floated the idea of a write-in campaign — potentially by Strange.
NRSC Chairman Cory Gardner went further, saying that if Moore doesn’t withdraw and wins the election against Jones, the Senate “should vote to expel him.”