Sixth woman accuses US Senate candidate Moore of sexual misconduct

(Reuters) - A sixth woman came forward on Wednesday with allegations of sexual misconduct against embattled Republican U.S. Senate candidate Roy Moore, accusing him of groping her while she was in his Alabama law office on legal business in 1991, when he was married.

Unlike the earlier cases that involved teenagers, Tina Johnson was an adult when she visited Moore's office with her mother, who had hired Moore in a custody case involving Johnson's 12-year-old son.

Johnson told AL.com, an Alabama news website, that Moore grabbed her buttocks as she left.

"He didn't pinch it, he grabbed it," Johnson, who was 28 at the time, told AL.com. Reuters was unable to independently verify the allegation, and Moore's campaign did not immediately respond to a request for comment.

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Women who have accused Roy Moore of sexual assault
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Women who have accused Roy Moore of sexual assault
Beverly Nelson (L) shows a school year book with attorney Gloria Allread during a news conference announcing new allegations of sexual misconduct against Alabama Republican congressional candidate Roy Moore, in New York, November 13, 2017. REUTERS/Lucas Jackson
Gloria Deason
Wendy Miller
Gloria Deason
Wendy Miller
Gloria Deason
Accuser Beverly Young Nelson, reacts while reading a statement claiming that Alabama senate candidate Roy Moore sexually harassed her when she was 16, in New York, U.S., November 13, 2017. REUTERS/Lucas Jackson
Attorney Gloria Allred stands with accuser Beverly Young Nelson, holding a sketch of herself made when she was 16 after reading a statement claiming that Alabama senate candidate Roy Moore sexually harassed her when she was 16, in New York, U.S., November 13, 2017. REUTERS/Lucas Jackson
Beverly Nelson (L) reacts as she reads a statement to reporters with attorney Gloria Allred during a news conference announcing new allegations of sexual misconduct against Alabama Republican congressional candidate Roy Moore, in New York, November 13, 2017. REUTERS/Lucas Jackson
NEW YORK, NY - NOVEMBER 13: Beverly Young Nelson (L) speaks to the media with her lawyer Gloria Allred, at a news conference where she has accused Alabama Republican Senate candidate Roy Moore of sexually abusing her when she was 16 on November 13, 2017 in New York City. Moore, a controversial politician who recently won a run-off against Luther Strange for Alabama's Senate seat, is currently fighting accusations alleging that he pursued sexual relationships with teenagers -- including a 14-year-old -- when he was in his 30s. (Photo by Spencer Platt/Getty Images)
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Five other women have accused Moore of sexual misconduct or of dating them when he was in his 30s and they were teenagers, prompting a wave of demands from national Republican Party leaders that he drop out of the Dec. 12 special Senate election to fill the seat vacated by Jeff Sessions when he was named U.S. attorney general last spring.

Moore, 70, on Wednesday denied the allegations of the first five women to step forward.

"We are in the process of investigating these false allegations to determine their origin and motivation," he said in a statement.

Moore also said he believed a message that one of the accusers, Beverly Young Nelson, said he had written in her high school yearbook had been tampered with. Nelson accused Moore of sexually assaulting her when she was 16 and he was in his 30s.

Nelson displayed the yearbook message at a news conference in New York where she made the allegations on Monday. Moore's campaign on Wednesday demanded that Nelson turn over the yearbook to a neutral custodian so a handwriting expert could examine it.

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Lawmakers react to Roy Moore sexual misconduct allegations
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Lawmakers react to Roy Moore sexual misconduct allegations
Alabama Senate candidate Roy Moore is accused of initiating a sexual encounter with a 14-year-old girl when he was 32, according to a Washington Post report.

(Photo by Scott Olson/Getty Images)
The allegations against Roy Moore are deeply disturbing and disqualifying. He should immediately step aside and all… https://t.co/MXrceCZZ9a
If there is any truth at all to these horrific allegations, Roy Moore should immediately step aside as a Senate candidate.
JUST NOW: @lisamurkowski on WaPo Report on Roy Moore: “I’m horrified and if it’s true he should step down immediately.”
If there is any shred of truth to the allegations against Roy Moore, he should step aside immediately.
Look, I'm sorry, but even before these reports surfaced, Roy Moore's nomination was a bridge too far.
The allegations leveled at Roy Moore are disturbing. I have serious concerns about his prior conduct and fitness fo… https://t.co/EQcUEpHRKH
Ted Cruz: Roy Moore allegations "serious and troubling," should "immediately withdraw" if true… https://t.co/XuW33Chx5j
NRSC Chairman Cory Gardner: “If these allegations are found to be true, Roy Moore must drop out.” https://t.co/y4UEOJmZWa
Portman says Moore should drop out of the race if the Moore reports are true, says he has “no reason to doubt”… https://t.co/mOhGuTl2d9
I've long opposed Roy Moore & his divisive viewpoints. The actions described make him unfit for office. The GOP mus… https://t.co/8rpkIH3FkX
I am pulling my endorsement and support for Roy Moore for U.S. Senate.
Having read the detailed description of the incidents, as well as the response from Judge Moore and his campaign, I… https://t.co/cuO0MkNxVJ
I have now read Mr. Moore’s statement and listened to his radio interview in which he denies the charges. I did not… https://t.co/OQDdcvO3fX
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Republican leaders in Washington have asked Moore to withdraw from the race and said they are exploring write-in options for the election. The Alabama state party's leadership was meeting on Wednesday night to discuss their stance.

U.S. Senate Republican leader Mitch McConnell has spoken to President Donald Trump and others about the situation. Trump appeared at the White House on Wednesday but did not make any mention of Moore.

Under state law, Moore cannot be removed from the ballot. If, however, the state party tells election officials that it wants to withdraw its nominee, or if Moore himself decided to do so, election officials would not certify any votes cast for Moore.

Before the allegations surfaced, Moore, a Christian conservative and former Alabama Supreme Court chief justice, had been heavily favored to defeat Democrat Doug Jones, a former U.S. attorney. But a new poll on Wednesday, released by the Senate Republicans' campaign arm, had Jones surging to a 12-point lead since the allegations surfaced.

A Democratic win in Alabama would be a blow to Trump's agenda and shift the political outlook for next year's congressional elections, giving Democrats a stronger shot at wiping out the Republicans' 52-48 Senate majority.

Moore has suggested that McConnell and other establishment Republicans are working in tandem with news media to discredit him.

The Washington Post had first disclosed allegations by four women about their relationships with Moore when they were teenagers, ranging in age from 14 to 18. One of the women said he initiated sexual contact with her when she was 14 and Moore was in his 30s.

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Roy Moore through the years
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Roy Moore through the years
FILE PHOTO: Alabama Chief Justice Roy Moore faces the media after being removed from office in Montgomery, Alabama, U.S. November 13, 2003. REUTERS/Bob Ealum/File Photo
UNITED STATES - AUGUST 4: GOP candidate for U.S. Senate Roy Moore, holding an article about Senate Majority Leader Mitch McConnell, R-Ky., speaks during the U.S. Senate candidate forum held by the Shelby County Republican Party in Pelham, Ala., on Friday, Aug. 4, 2017. The former Chief Justice of the Alabama Supreme Court is running in the special election to fill the seat vacated by Attorney General Jeff Sessions. (Photo By Bill Clark/CQ Roll Call)
UNITED STATES - AUGUST 3: GOP candidate for U.S. Senate Roy Moore speaks during a candidates' forum in Valley, Ala., on Thursday, Aug. 3, 2017. The former Chief Justice of the Alabama Supreme Court is running in the special election to fill the seat vacated by Attorney General Jeff Sessions. (Photo By Bill Clark/CQ Roll Call)
UNITED STATES - AUGUST 3: GOP candidate for U.S. Senate Roy Moore speaks during a candidates' forum in Valley, Ala., on Thursday, Aug. 3, 2017. The former Chief Justice of the Alabama Supreme Court is running in the special election to fill the seat vacated by Attorney General Jeff Sessions. (Photo By Bill Clark/CQ Roll Call)
ATLANTA - SEPTEMBER 7: Suspended Alabama Chief Justice Roy Moore speaks to parishoners at The Church of the Apostles September 7, 2003 in Atlanta, Georgia. Moore's Ten Commandments monument was recently removed from the Alabama Judicial Building in Montgomery, Alabama. (Photo by Erik S. Lesser/Getty Images)
MONTGOMERY, AL - AUGUST 16: Alabama Chief Justice Roy Moore leaves a rally in support of a monument of the Ten Commandments August 16, 2003 in Montgomery, Alabama. Moore said Thursday that he will defy a federal judge's order to remove the monument from the state judicial building rotunda. (Photo by Gary Tramontina/Getty Images)
MONTGOMERY, AL - AUGUST 25: Alabama Chief Justice Roy Moore leaves a news conference at the State Judicial building August 25, 2003 in Montgomery, Alabama. Moore is currently suspened for not following a federal court order to remove his Ten Commandments monument from the building. (Photo by Gary Tramontina/Getty Images)
MONTGOMERY, AL - SEPTEMBER 26: Republican candidate for the U.S. Senate in Alabama, Roy Moore, greets guests after arriving at an election-night rally on September 26, 2017 in Montgomery, Alabama. Moore, former chief justice of the Alabama supreme court, is in a primary runoff contest against incumbent Luther Strange for the seat vacated when Jeff Sessions was appointed U.S. Attorney General by President Donald Trump. (Photo by Scott Olson/Getty Images)
FAIRHOPE, AL - SEPTEMBER 25: Republican candidate for the U.S. Senate in Alabama, Roy Moore, speaks at a campaign rally on September 25, 2017 in Fairhope, Alabama. Moore is running in a primary runoff election against incumbent Luther Strange for the seat vacated when Jeff Sessions was appointed U.S. Attorney General by President Donald Trump. The runoff election is scheduled for September 26. (Photo by Scott Olson/Getty Images)
UNITED STATES - AUGUST 3: GOP candidate for U.S. Senate Roy Moore speaks during a candidates' forum in Valley, Ala., on Thursday, Aug. 3, 2017. The former Chief Justice of the Alabama Supreme Court is running in the special election to fill the seat vacated by Attorney General Jeff Sessions. (Photo By Bill Clark/CQ Roll Call)
UNITED STATES - AUGUST 3: GOP candidate for U.S. Senate Roy Moore arrives for the candidates' forum in Valley, Ala., on Thursday, Aug. 3, 2017. The former Chief Justice of the Alabama Supreme Court is running in the special election to fill the seat vacated by Attorney General Jeff Sessions. (Photo By Bill Clark/CQ Roll Call)
WASHINGTON, DC - OCTOBER 13: Roy Moore, GOP Senate candidate and former chief justice on the Alabama Supreme Court speaks during the annual Family Research Council's Values Voter Summit at the Omni Shorham Hotel on October 13, 2017 in Washington, DC. (Photo by Mark Wilson/Getty Images)
UNITED STATES - OCTOBER 31: Alabama Republican Senate nominee Roy Moore, is questioned by the media in the Capitol on October 31, 2017. (Photo By Tom Williams/CQ Roll Call)
FAIRHOPE, AL - SEPTEMBER 25: Republican candidate for the U.S. Senate in Alabama, Roy Moore, speaks at a campaign rally on September 25, 2017 in Fairhope, Alabama. Moore is running in a primary runoff election against incumbent Luther Strange for the seat vacated when Jeff Sessions was appointed U.S. Attorney General by President Donald Trump. The runoff election is scheduled for September 26. (Photo by Scott Olson/Getty Images)
FAIRHOPE, AL - SEPTEMBER 25: Republican candidate for the U.S. Senate in Alabama, Roy Moore, greets guests at a campaign rally on September 25, 2017 in Fairhope, Alabama. Moore is running in a primary runoff election against incumbent Luther Strange for the seat vacated when Jeff Sessions was appointed U.S. Attorney General by President Donald Trump. The runoff election is scheduled for September 26. (Photo by Scott Olson/Getty Images)
FAIRHOPE, AL - SEPTEMBER 25: Republican candidate for the U.S. Senate in Alabama, Roy Moore, speaks at a campaign rally on September 25, 2017 in Fairhope, Alabama. Moore is running in a primary runoff election against incumbent Luther Strange for the seat vacated when Jeff Sessions was appointed U.S. Attorney General by President Donald Trump. The runoff election is scheduled for September 26. (Photo by Scott Olson/Getty Images)
UNITED STATES - AUGUST 3: GOP candidate for U.S. Senate Roy Moore arrives for the candidates' forum in Valley, Ala., on Thursday, Aug. 3, 2017. The former Chief Justice of the Alabama Supreme Court is running in the special election to fill the seat vacated by Attorney General Jeff Sessions. (Photo By Bill Clark/CQ Roll Call)
UNITED STATES - AUGUST 3: GOP candidate for U.S. Senate Roy Moore speaks during a candidates' forum in Valley, Ala., on Thursday, Aug. 3, 2017. The former Chief Justice of the Alabama Supreme Court is running in the special election to fill the seat vacated by Attorney General Jeff Sessions. (Photo By Bill Clark/CQ Roll Call)
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(Additional reporting by Mohammad Zargham and Eric Beech; Editing by Leslie Adler)

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