Roy Moore denies sexual misconduct allegations

MONTGOMERY, Ala. (BP) -- Republican U.S. Senate candidate Roy Moore, a Southern Baptist long known for his support of Judeo-Christian values in the public square, has denied allegations he initiated a sexual encounter with a 14-year-old girl decades ago.

Roy Moore, accused Nov. 9 of sexual misconduct decades ago, addressed supporters in September after winning Alabama's GOP Senate primary.
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The allegations were published Thursday (Nov. 9) by The Washington Post, which claims Moore, 70, also pursued dating relationships with three other teenagers when he was in his early 30s.

Moore's campaign said in a Nov. 9 statement, "After 40 years of public service, if any of these allegations were true, they would have been made public long before now.

"Judge Roy Moore is winning with a double-digit lead," the statement said. "So it is no surprise, with just over four weeks remaining, in a race for the U.S. Senate with national implications, that the Democratic Party and the country's most liberal newspaper would come up with a fabrication of this kind. This garbage is the very definition of fake news and intentional defamation."

U.S. Senate Majority Leader Mitch McConnell said in a statement on behalf of all Republican senators, "If these allegations are true, [Moore] must step aside" from the Dec. 12 special election to fill the seat formerly held by U.S. Attorney General Jeff Sessions.

By state law, a ballot in Alabama cannot be changed within 76 days of an election, The Post reported. But a candidate still can withdraw or be disqualified, and write-in candidates are permitted.

A former Alabama chief justice, Moore drew national media attention for controversial stands.

In 2003, Moore was removed from office for defying a federal court order to remove a Ten Commandments display from the Alabama Judicial Building. He was elected to the office again in 2012. But last year he was suspended for the remainder of his term for advising the state's 68 probate judges they had a duty not to issue same-sex marriage licenses until the Alabama Supreme Court clarified the relationship between state law and the U.S. Supreme Court's decision legalizing same-sex marriage.

Moore defeated Sen. Luther Strange in September's Alabama GOP Senate primary.

David Roach is chief national correspondent for Baptist Press, the Southern Baptist Convention's news service. BP reports on missions, ministry and witness advanced through the Cooperative Program and on news related to Southern Baptists' concerns nationally and globally.
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