A woman on Monday accused Roy Moore of attempting to rape her when she was 16.
Beverly Young Nelson is the fifth woman to accuse the Alabama Republican candidate for Senate of sexual misconduct and the first woman to accuse him of attempted rape. During a press conference with attorney Gloria Allred, Nelson said Moore trapped her in his car 40 years ago, choked her, and tried to take off her clothes before she fought him off.
Nelson said she first met Moore at the Olde Hickory House restaurant in Gadsen, Alabama, where she said she began working at age 15.
“Mr. Roy Moore was a regular customer,” she said. “He came in almost every night and he would stay until closing time. He sat at the counter in the same seat, night after night. And I remember exactly where he sat.”
Moore complimented Nelson on her looks but she did not encourage or respond to his flirtations, she said. “I was not interested in having a dating or sexual relationship with a man that was twice my age,” Nelson said.
One night at the restaurant, Nelson said Moore, 30, signed her high school yearbook: “To a sweeter more beautiful girl I could not say Merry Christmas. Christmas 1977. Love, Roy Moore, D.A. 12-22-77 Olde Hickory House.”
At least a week later, Nelson said Moore offered to give her a ride home after her shift ended. Nelson said she accepted the offer and planned to call her boyfriend after she arrived home. Instead of getting on the highway, she alleged, Moore parked in the back of the restaurant. Nelson said she then asked Moore what he was doing.
“Instead of answering my question, Mr. Moore reached over and began groping me, putting his hands on my breasts,” Nelson said through tears.
“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. I continued to struggle. I was determined that I was not going to allow him to force me to have sex with him. I was terrified. He was also trying to pull my shirt off. I thought that he was going to rape me. I was twisting and struggling and begging him to stop. I had tears running down my face.
“At some point he gave up. He then looked at me and said, ‘You are a child. I am the District Attorney of Etowah County. ‘If you tell anyone about this, no one will believe you,’” she continued. “He finally allowed me to open the car door and I either fell out or he pushed me out. I was on the ground as he pulled out of the parking area behind the restaurant. The passenger door was open as he burned rubber pulling away leaving me laying there on the cold concrete in the dark.”
Nelson said she didn’t want to tell her boyfriend because he had a “very violent temper” and feared he would get himself into trouble. (Two years later, Nelson said she told her younger sister. Nelson’s mother and now-husband were also told, she said.)
Nelson said she was left bruised by the alleged assault.
“When I got home, I went to my room, and the following morning, my neck was black and blue and purple,” Nelson said.
Allred said she wants the Senate Judiciary Committee to investigate Nelson and other women’s allegations against Moore.
Nelson said she and her husband both supported Donald Trump for president.
“This has nothing whatsoever to do with the Republicans or the Democrats. It has everything to do with Mr. Moore’s sexual assault when I was a teenager,” Nelson said.
Allred went on to say that Nelson is not looking into criminal charges or lawsuits but wants the opportunity to testify under oath at a hearing.
“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,” Nelson said. “Their courage has inspired me to overcome my fear.”
Four women told The Washington Post last week that Moore pursued relationships with them when he was an adult and they were teenagers. One woman, Leigh Corfman, told the Post when she was 14, Moore, then 32, approached her outside of her mother’s custody hearing in 1979. Days later, she said Moore picked her up, brought her to his home, and fondled her and placed her hand on his penis over his underwear.
Moore denied knowing Corfman during an appearance on Sean Hannity’s radio show on Friday, but admitted he “dated a lot of young ladies.” Moore and his allies have said the Post story is a manufactured political hit job engineered to derail his candidacy weeks out from the special election to fill the seat of Jeff Sessions, who left the Senate to become attorney general in January. Moore has threatened to sue his accusers.
As the days have passed since the initial story broke, Republican senators have called for Moore to back out of the race, at first using the “if true” qualifier. Senate Majority Leader Mitch McConnell said on Monday, “I believe the women” accusing Moore and that he should step aside.
As soon as Nelson’s press conference ended, Sen. Cory Gardner, chairman of the National Republican Senatorial Committee, said Moore should be expelled from the Senate if he wins the Dec. 12 election against Democrat Doug Jones.
“I believe the individuals speaking out against Roy Moore spoke with courage and truth, proving he is unfit to serve in the United States Senate and he should not run for office,” Gardner said in a statement.