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Monday November 20th, 2017 4:01PM

The Latest: Moore denies new accusation of sexual misconduct

By The Associated Press
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WASHINGTON (AP) — The Latest on Roy Moore, Alabama's Republican nominee for the U.S. Senate (all times local):

7 p.m.

Senate candidate Roy Moore of Alabama says the latest accusation against him of sexual misconduct is "absolutely false."

Standing by his wide at a hastily called news conference, Moore says he did not know Beverly Young Nelson and "never did what she said I did."

Nelson said Monday that Moore assaulted her in the late 1970s when she was a 16-year-old waitress.

Moore says the accusations against him are a "political maneuver."

Moore says he is unfamiliar with the restaurant where the woman said Moore was a regular customer. Nelson had shown reporters her high school yearbook that she said Moore signed in 1977.

Kayla Moore defended her husband, saying he is the "most gentle, most kind man that I have ever known."

Moore did not take questions from reporters.

__

6:50 p.m.

Alabama Sen. Luther Strange says it's "highly unlikely" he will launch a write-in candidacy to retain his Senate seat despite the scandal enveloping Republican nominee Roy Moore.

Strange lost to Moore in a September runoff for the GOP nod. But amid a firestorm of controversy involving allegations that Moore molested teenage girls decades ago, several Republicans have urged Strange to consider a write-in bid.

But Strange says it's "going to really be up to the people of our state to sort this out."

Strange adds, "Let the facts unfold. I think right now, a write-in candidacy is highly unlikely."

A new accuser came forward Monday, alleging that Moore assaulted her when she was 16. Moore calls that new allegation part of a "witch hunt" against him.

___

4:55 p.m.

The Democrat in Alabama's Senate race says that Republican Roy Moore will be "held accountable by the people of Alabama."

Doug Jones' campaign issued a Monday statement about the accusations of sexual misconduct being made against Moore. Jones' campaign is applauding what it calls "the courage" of Moore's accusers. And it says Moore will be held accountable "by the people of Alabama for his actions."

The Washington Post reported that Moore, when he was in his 30s, tried to initiate a sexual encounter with a 14-year-old girl and pursued romantic relationships with three other teenagers. A new accuser on Monday said Moore assaulted her when she was a 16-year-old waitress.

Moore has denied any allegations of sexual misconduct.

Moore faces Jones in a Dec. 12 special election.

___

3:30 p.m.

The head of the Senate Republican campaign committee says if Roy Moore wins his race in Alabama, the Senate should vote to expel him.

Sen. Cory Gardner of Colorado says in a statement that he believes the women who accused Moore of sexual misconduct and that they spoke with "courage and truth." Gardner says what they recounted proves Moore is unfit to serve in the Senate and should not run for office.

Gardner says if Moore refuses to withdraw from the Alabama race and wins, "the Senate should vote to expel him, because he does not meet the ethical and moral requirements of the United States Senate."

A new accuser has come forward, alleging that Moore assaulted her when she was 16. Moore calls that new allegation part of a "witch hunt" against him.

___

3:05 p.m.

Republican Senate candidate Roy Moore of Alabama says the latest allegations against him are a "witch hunt."

Moore's campaign sent out a statement before a news conference Monday held by lawyer Gloria Allred and the latest accuser, Beverly Young Nelson.

The statement says Allred "is a sensationalist leading a witch hunt." It says Moore is innocent and "has never had any sexual misconduct with anyone." The statement reiterates that Moore "will pursue all legal options against these false claims."

Nelson says Moore assaulted her when she was 16 and he offered her a ride home from a restaurant where she worked.

Her statement follows a Washington Post report that the 70-year-old More had sexual contact with a 14-year-old girl and pursued three other teenagers decades earlier.

___

3 p.m.

The latest accuser of Alabama Republican Roy Moore says the Senate candidate assaulted her when he offered her a ride home one night in the late 1970s.

Beverly Young Nelson cried at a news conference in New York with attorney Gloria Allred.

Nelson says she was a 16-year-old high school student working at a restaurant where Moore was a regular. She says Moore groped her, touched her breasts and locked the door to keep her inside his car. She said he squeezed her neck while trying to push her head toward his crotch and that he tried to pull her shirt off.

She said he finally relented and, as she fell or was pushed out of the car, warned her no one would believe her if she spoke about the encounter.

She said she was a student at Southside High School and worked at the Olde Hickory House and that Moore was a regular customer. He sat in the same seat night after night.

Moore called the allegations a "witch hunt" in a statement shortly before the news conference.

___

2:45 p.m.

A second woman has come forward to accuse Alabama GOP Senate nominee Roy Moore of sexual misconduct when she was a minor.

Beverly Young Nelson says Moore sexually assaulted her when she was 15 and 16. She held a news conference Monday with attorney Gloria Allred.

Moore called the allegations a "witch hunt" in a statement shortly before the press conference. Her statement follows a Washington Post report that the 70-year-old More had sexual contact with a 14-year-old girl and pursued three other teenagers decades earlier.

Moore has refused to quit the race even with pressure mounting, including from Senate Majority Leader Mitch McConnell.

The Associated Press does not typically identify people who say they are victims of sexual assault unless they speak publicly, which the women have done.

___

1:10 p.m.

Alabama's governor says there are no plans to change the date of the special election for the Senate.

Alabama Gov. Kay Ivey said Monday: "The election date is set for Dec. 12."

The governor office has said since Saturday that she is not considering moving the election.

Ivey says she plans for now to vote for Republican Senate candidate Roy Moore, but added that "there may be some more facts to come out."

The Washington Post reported that a woman said Moore, at age 31, initiated a sexual encounter with her when she was 14. The paper quoted other women who said Moore pursued romantic relationships with them between the ages of 16 and 18.

___

12:56 p.m.

Alabama Republican Roy Moore says it's Mitch McConnell who should quit, not him.

Moore is responding to McConnell, the Senate majority leader, who says he believes Moore's accusers and thinks he should drop out of the race for Senate. At issue is a Washington Post story saying Moore had sexual contact with a 14-year-old girl and pursued romantic relationships with other teenage girls decades ago.

Moore says on Twitter: "The person who should step aside is @SenateMajLdr Mitch McConnell. He has failed conservatives and must be replaced. #DrainTheSwamp."

The election is Dec. 12 and Moore's name remains on the Alabama ballot.

Moore's "drain the swamp" hashtag is popular with President Donald Trump and his supporters.

___

11:15 a.m.

Senate Majority Leader Mitch McConnell says that Republican Senate candidate Roy Moore of Alabama "should step aside" in light of allegations he had sexual contact with a 14-year-old girl decades ago.

McConnell spoke to reporters Monday after visiting a plant in Kentucky. He says he believes the women who were quoted in a Washington Post story about Moore's past relationships with them as young women.

Previously McConnell had said Moore should step aside if the allegations were proven true.

He says Republicans are looking at a write-in option in Alabama.

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