A woman says GOP Alabama Senate candidate Roy Moore sexually assaulted her when she was 14.
Leigh Corfman, now 53, told The Washington Post in an article published Thursday that Moore, then a 32-year-old assistant district attorney, took off her shirt and removed his clothes in the 1979 incident. He touched her over her bra and led her hands to touch him over his underwear, she said.
“I wanted it over with — I wanted out,” Corfman told the paper. “Please just get this over with. Whatever this is, just get it over.”
Three other women said Moore also made sexual advances to them when they were teenagers around the same time, according to the newspaper. Wendy Miller said she was working as a Santa’s helper at a mall when she was 14 when Moore first approached her. By the time she was 16, she said Moore was asking her out on dates.
The age of consent was and continues to be 16 in Alabama.
Moore, in a written statement to the Post, denied doing anything inappropriate.
“These allegations are completely false and are a desperate political attack by the National Democrat Party and the Washington Post on this campaign,” Moore said.
In a series of tweets Moore posted on Thursday evening, he blamed “the Obama-Clinton Machine’s liberal media lapdogs” for launching a “vicious and nasty” round of attacks, and vowed not to back out of the Alabama race.
“We are in the midst of a spiritual battle with those who want to silence our message,” Moore said. “Rest assured, I will never give up the fight.”
A Moore spokesman called the accusations “garbage” and “fake news.”
“Judge Roy Moore has endured the most outlandish attacks on any candidate in the modern political arena, but this story in today’s Washington Post alleging sexual impropriety takes the cake,” campaign chairman Bill Armistead told HuffPost in a statement. “National liberal organizations know their chosen candidate Doug Jones is in a death spiral, and this is their last ditch Hail Mary.
“This garbage is the very definition of fake news and intentional defamation,” Armistead added.
A special election for the U.S. Senate seat in Alabama vacated by now-Attorney General Jeff Sessions takes place Dec. 12. Moore is up against Democrat Doug Jones.
In a statement released to HuffPost, Jones said, “Roy Moore needs to answer these serious charges.”
It’s unclear whether the allegations will affect Moore’s candidacy. The Alabama GOP didn’t immediately respond to HuffPost’s request for comment.
Alabama’s Republican secretary of state, John Merrill, had no comment on whether Moore should withdraw, but noted Moore’s name will still appear on the ballot in December. He called the allegations “just another piece of information” voters will have to consider.
Other Moore supporters in the state were more direct. Huntsville Mayor Tommy Battle ― who’s running for governor and recently came under fire for offering his support to Moore ― told HuffPost, “The allegations made against Roy Moore are very serious. If the allegations are true, then he does not need to be the Republican candidate for Senate.”
Senate Republicans quickly moved to distance themselves from Moore. Sen. John McCain (R-Ariz.) called the report “disqualifying,” saying in a statement that Moore should immediately quit the race. Other GOP senators called on Moore to withdraw if the allegations are true, including Sens. Jeff Flake of Arizona, Lisa Murkowski of Alaska, David Perdue of Georgia, and in Moore’s home state of Alabama, Richard C. Shelby.
Senate Majority Leader Mitch McConnell (R-Ky.), meanwhile, told reporters Moore should step down “if these allegations are true.”
James Lomax, an Alabama Republican who has attended party functions supporting Moore, told HuffPost that if the allegations are true, Moore should be removed from the race.
“If Roy Moore has had a bosom in one hand and a Bible in the other, he needs to immediately remove himself from this race and go find the God that he is always peddling,” Lomax said. “No amount of pithy campaign slogans can cover up these sins if real. Alabama politics have reached the height of hypocrisy.”
Moore has railed against same-sex marriage, referred to Islam as a “false religion,” and said the Sept. 11 terror attacks were punishment for the United States’ godlessness. He rose to chief justice of the Alabama Supreme Court before being kicked off the bench for telling judges to defy federal court orders allowing gay marriage.
“I have prayed over this,” Corfman told the Post. “All I know is that I can’t sit back and let this continue, let him continue without the mask being removed.”
According to Alabama reporter Beth Shelburne, Corfman told WBRC Friday she stands by her claims.
“I stand by my comments. The article is very detailed, anyone with questions should please re-read it. And I want to say thank you to my friends and others who have supported me and my story.”
This article has been updated with quotes from Twitter posts from Moore and comments from Corfman.