Two more women accuse Senate candidate Roy Moore of sexual misconduct

(Reuters) - Two more women came forward on Wednesday with allegations of sexual misconduct against embattled Republican U.S. Senate candidate Roy Moore, one accusing him of groping her and the other of forcing a kiss on her when she was about 18.

They are the sixth and seventh women to accuse Moore of sexual improprieties.

Gena Richardson told the Washington Post that Moore, then a 30-year-old attorney, had repeatedly asked her for a date in 1977 just before or after she turned 18. Richardson said she finally agreed and went to a movie with Moore, the Post said.

In a dark parking lot at a mall in Gadsden, Alabama, Richardson said Moore gave her an unwanted, "forceful" kiss that scared her, the Post reported.

14 PHOTOS
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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Another woman, Tina Johnson, told AL.com, an Alabama news site, that Moore groped her while she was in his Alabama law office on legal business in 1991.

Johnson, who was 28 at the time, said she visited Moore's office with her mother, who had hired Moore in a custody case involving Johnson's 12-year-old son.

Johnson said Moore grabbed her buttocks as she left. "He didn't pinch it, he grabbed it," Johnson told AL.com.

Reuters was unable to independently verify the allegations from either woman, and Moore's campaign did not immediately respond to a request for comment.

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.

20 PHOTOS
Women share photos of themselves at age 14 in response to Roy Moore allegations
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Women share photos of themselves at age 14 in response to Roy Moore allegations
I was eating a lot of chocolate chip cookie dough and learning to do the “hustle” and not worrying about a 32 year… https://t.co/A4MDPdG9w7
This was me at 14. l had plants in my room with names for them and l drew pictures of my beagle Cookie. l was in Th… https://t.co/Nf8i3ozSV5
#MeAt14 I worshipped my brother. I loved my dog, Pucci. I loved OMD. I had Big hair. I was happy. I was innocent.… https://t.co/UxkncAWzz5
@lizzwinstead lizz i was actually 15 in this pic .. but pregnant at 14. it took me decades to realize the most of t… https://t.co/gwBuIuM1zc
There is something seriously wrong with anyone who thinks 14 is old enough to consent. #MeAt14 https://t.co/rfPnuwLWL1
When you're in your 30's, luring a vulnerable 14-year-old to your house is not "dating." #sexualpredator This is… https://t.co/4AmD01ktb7
#MeAt14 shouldn't have been allowed to pick out my own clothes, definitely not old enough to consent to being grope… https://t.co/RqQD9pbNvC
Can’t consent at 14. Not in Alabama. Not anywhere. #MeAt14 https://t.co/AFUw1Ru4X2
This is me at 14. I wasn’t dating a 32 year old male. I was riding horses, playing basketball, and trying to surviv… https://t.co/kH5Za1TB2m
This is me at 14. I was on the gymnastics team and sang in the choir. I was not dating a 32 year old man. Who were… https://t.co/q27izzub36
This is #MeAt14 Wish I could say I had never been kissed.But when I was 11 @ friends slumber party, n outdoor hide&… https://t.co/I2rjy1mBgj
This girl was a dreamer w/ambitions of becoming a marine biologist & someday meeting David Bowie. This girl became… https://t.co/0ub1xO1A3S
This is me at 14, a shy and innocent bookworm. No way is a 14-yr-old developmentally prepared to date a 32-yr-old m… https://t.co/zdb79nPnDt
#MeAt14 Here's a diary entry about the time I started crying at a dance because I was scared of dancing with boys.… https://t.co/McRbxyBRKM
Can’t consent at 14. Not in Alabama. Not anywhere. #MeAt14 https://t.co/4V51WZJljC
@lizzwinstead I played clarinet, obsessively read "Interview with the Vampire", and memorized hockey stats for fun.… https://t.co/xC2ELLqRjM
This is #MeAt14. I had a B in Algebra and I hated getting my braces tightened. I wasn’t dating 32-year-old men. https://t.co/4Yb6AKML4M
This is me at 14. I was in a production of Guys and Dolls. Here we're singing "Bushel and a Peck." I was not dating… https://t.co/VUARYBVgqO
This is me at 14. I wasn’t dating a 32 year old male. I was riding horses, playing basketball, and trying to surviv… https://t.co/kH5Za1TB2m
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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.

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.

19 PHOTOS
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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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.

(Additional reporting by Mohammad Zargham and Eric Beech; Editing by Leslie Adler)

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