Senate Majority Leader Mitch McConnell on Monday called for Alabama candidate Roy Moore to drop out of the race for the Dec. 12 election. File Photo by Greg Whitesell/UPI | License Photo
Nov. 13 (UPI) -- Senate Majority Leader Mitch McConnell said Monday that candidate Roy Moore should drop out of his Senate race -- because he believes the women who've made sexual accusations against him.
Later Monday, a fifth woman came forward accusing the Republican of making sexual or romantic advances toward as a teenager in the 1970s. Beverly Young Nelson at a news conference in New York said she was 16 when Moore sexually assaulted her.
McConnell, a Republican from Kentucky, spoke to reporters after visiting a plant in Louisville.
McConnell had previously said the Alabama hopeful should drop out of the race if the accusations were true.
On Monday, McConnell said "I believe the women, yes," and Moore "should step aside."
McConnell said he was looking into a write-in effort to beat Moore on the ballot. Alabama law doesn't allow candidates to remove their name within a month of the the election. Alabama Gov. Kay Ivey said Sunday that she "is not considering and has no plans to move the special election," set for Dec. 12.
After McConnell's comments, Moore posted to Twitter that "the person who should step aside is @SenateMajLdr Mitch McConnell. He has failed conservatives and must be replaced. #DrainTheSwamp."
The new accuser appeared with her attorney, Gloria Allred. Nelson turns 56 Tuesday.
Nelson said Moore sexually attacked her when he was a prosecutor in Etowah County, Ala. Nelson said she first met him when she was 15 and working as a waitress at a restaurant.
One night when she was 16, he offered to give her a ride home, she said in the statement.
"Moore reached over and began groping me, putting his hands on my breasts," she recalled in a statement. "I tried to open my car door to leave, but he reached over and locked it so I could not get out. 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."
She said Moore "you are a child. I am the District attorney of Etiwah County" and warned her that "no one will believe you" if she told anyone about the encounter in his car.
Years later, Nelson told her younger sister, her mother and her husband before they married what happened.
Nelson displayed to reporters a copy of a page from her 1977 high school yearbook that included this inscription: "To a sweeter more beautiful girl I could not say 'Merry Christmas' Christmas 1977 Roy Moore, D.A. 12-22-77 Olde Hickory."
"I thought that I was Mr. Moore's only victim," she said in the statement. "I would probably have taken what Mr. Moore did to me to my grave, had it not been for the courage of four other women that were willing to speak out about their experiences with Mr. Moore. Their courage has inspired me to overcome my fear."
In an afternoon statement before the news conference, Moore's campaign said Allred was "a sensationalist leading a witch hunt, and she is only around to create a spectacle."
Moore, who was twice removed in his career as chief justice in Alabama, has vowed to remain in the race. His senior campaign adviser Brett Doster said Sunday, "nothing is getting him out. He's not going anywhere."
In Huntsville Sunday, Moore called the initial Washington Post report "fake news" and a "desperate attempt to stop my political campaign."
"This was leaked by political opponents and that the reporting was an overly aggressive attempt by the Washington Post to create a fictional story," Doster said. "The campaign hopes to have this information out in the near future."
Moore said he planned to sue the Post over its reporting. Public officials like Moore must prove actual malice in libel lawsuits.
The Washington Post report last week was based on interviews with more than 30 people -- including Leigh Corfman, now 53, who said Moore had sexual contact with her when she was 14 in 1979. The report also cited three other women who said Moore pursued them when they were teenagers.
Moore is not facing criminal charges, but some Republican senators and President Donald Trump have called on him to drop out of the race if the women's claims are true. The National Republican Senatorial Committee has also stopped raising money for Moore's campaign.
Moore's Democratic opponent, Doug Jones, leads the race 46 percent to 42 percent, according to a JMC Analytics survey. A total of 575 people were surveyed with a 4.1 percent margin of error.
In prior JMC polling from Sept. 30-Oct. 1, Moore had an 8-point lead.