An Alabama woman accused Roy Moore, the Republican nominee for Alabama's open US Senate seat, of sexually assaulting her and bruising her neck in the late 1970s when she was 16.
This new allegation follows an extensive report published last week by the Washington Post that detailed allegations that Moore initiated a sexual encounter with a 14-year-old girl when he was 32. The story also described his relationship with three other girls who were between the ages of 16 and 18 at the time. Moore has denied the allegations.
Beverly Young Nelson, now 55, said that she got to know Moore, now 70, in the late 1970s when she was a waitress at the Old Hickory House restaurant in the northeastern Alabama town of Gadsden, where Moore lived.
Nelson said that Moore, then the district attorney of Etowah County, was a regular at the restaurant and would sometimes compliment her looks or touch her long red hair.
She showed a copy of her high school yearbook that she said Moore signed on December 22, 1977, with the inscription, "To a sweeter more beautiful girl I could not say 'Merry Christmas'."
On a cold night about a week or two after that, Nelson alleges, Moore offered to give her a ride home from work after her shift ended at 10pm. Instead of taking her home, Nelson said, Moore pulled the two-door car into a dark and deserted area between a dumpster and the back of the restaurant.
When she asked what he was doing, Nelson alleges, Moore put his hands on her breasts and began groping her. When she tried to open the car door and leave, Nelson said, he locked the door. When she yelled at him to stop and tried to fight him off, she alleges, he tightly squeezed the back of her neck and tried to force her head toward his lap. He also tried to pull her shirt off, she said. "I was determined that I was not going to allow him to force me to have sex with him. I was terrified. I thought that he was going to rape me."
Moore denied the latest accusations. "I can tell you without hesitation this is absolutely false," Moore said, according to the Anniston Star. "I never did what she said I did. I don't even know the woman. I don't know anything about her. I don't even know where the restaurant is or was."
Earlier in the day, Bill Armistead, the chairman of Moore's Senate campaign, accused Nelson's lawyer, Gloria Allred, of being "a sensationalist leading a witch hunt". Nelson is the fifth woman to publicly accuse Moore of pursuing her when she was a teenager.
Earlier in the day, Senate Majority Leader Mitch McConnell said he believes the women who have accused Moore and called on Moore to end his Senate campaign. While other GOP lawmakers have called on Moore to step down, McConnell is the highest-ranking Republican to do so.