McCain: Roy Moore ‘Should Immediately Step Aside’ From Alabama Senate Race

WaPo reports Moore pursued relationships with four teenaged girls while in his 30s

Roy Moore / Getty Images

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Sen. John McCain (R., Ariz.) called on Alabama Republican Senate candidate Roy Moore to "immediately step aside" on Thursday in the wake of a report that he initiated a sexual encounter with a 14-year-old when he was a 32-year-old assistant district attorney.

The Washington Post reported Thursday on the on-the-record allegation by Leigh Corfman, who says the incident occurred in Alabama in 1979. The Post also interviewed three other women who say Moore pursued relationships with them as teenagers when he was in his 30s.

"The allegations against Roy Moore are deeply disturbing and disqualifying," McCain wrote. "He should immediately step aside and allow the people of Alabama to elect a candidate they can be proud of."

The Post reported:

Alone with Corfman, Moore chatted with her and asked for her phone number, she says. Days later, she says, he picked her up around the corner from her house in Gadsden, drove her about 30 minutes to his home in the woods, told her how pretty she was and kissed her. On a second visit, she says, he took off her shirt and pants and removed his clothes. He touched her over her bra and underpants, she says, and guided her hand to touch him over his underwear.

[…]

Aside from Corfman, three other women interviewed by The Washington Post in recent weeks say Moore pursued them when they were between the ages of 16 and 18 and he was in his early 30s, episodes they say they found flattering at the time, but troubling as they got older. None of the women say that Moore forced them into any sort of relationship or sexual contact.

Wendy Miller says she was 14 and working as a Santa’s helper at the Gadsden Mall when Moore first approached her, and 16 when he asked her on dates, which her mother forbade. Debbie Wesson Gibson says she was 17 when Moore spoke to her high school civics class and asked her out on the first of several dates that did not progress beyond kissing. Gloria Thacker Deason says she was an 18-year-old cheerleader when Moore began taking her on dates that included bottles of Mateus Rosé wine. The legal drinking age in Alabama was 19.

Moore, the former Alabama chief Supreme Court justice, defeated Sen. Luther Strange (R., Ala.) in a runoff in September, and he currently leads Democratic challenger Doug Jones in the polls. Moore has been expected to win the race in the red state that went handily for President Donald Trump in 2016.

Moore, who is now 70, called the reports "completely false."

"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 statement.

Senate Majority Leader Mitch McConnell (R., Ky.) and other Republicans have called on Moore to step aside from the race as well, although conditioning their remarks by saying that should happen if the allegations are true.

While former White House strategist Steve Bannon backed Moore's campaign, Strange was the preferred candidate of Trump and McConnell. Trump endorsed Moore after he beat Strange in the runoff; the seat previously belonged to Attorney General Jeff Sessions.

Moore was already a controversial figure due to making inflammatory remarks in his career, such as stating he didn't believe Barack Obama was born in America, saying Muslim Rep. Keith Ellison (D., Minn.) should be prevented from taking the congressional oath, and suggesting homosexual conduct should be illegal.

He's been twice suspended from his supreme court position.

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