Another woman came forward Thursday with allegations of sexual misconduct against Alabama GOP senate candidate Roy Moore, bringing the total number of accusers to six. Tina Johnson of Gadsden, Alabama, told AL.com that Moore “grabbed” her butt in his law office in 1991 during a meeting about a custody petition.
Johnson was 28 years old at the time of alleged incident. The five other women who have spoken out were teenagers at the time of their encounters with Moore, ranging from 14 to 18. Moore would have been in his early 30s at the time.
Another woman, Kelly Harrison Thorp, also told AL.com that Moore had tried to ask her out in 1982, when she was 17, though she turned him down. Her story adds to the mounting evidence that Moore tried to pick up and initiate sexual relations with teens, and that his interest in dating women more than 10 years his junior had turned into something of an open secret in the Gadsden community.
Johnson says Moore “grabbed” her butt
Johnson told AL.com that she visited Moore’s office in 1991 for a meeting about custody of her 12-year-old son. She planned to give custody to her mom, who had hired Moore to handle the petition.
Johnson, a 28-year-old mother on the verge of divorce, recalled a deeply uncomfortable atmosphere in Moore’s office, where Moore flirted with her and commented repeatedly on her looks, though her mother also attended the meeting. She told AL.com:
The meeting concluded, and after Johnson’s mother left the room, Moore came up behind Johnson and groped her behind. “He didn’t pinch it; he grabbed it,” Johnson recalled.
Johnson said she told her sister later on about the incident, who corroborated her story. “This is not a politics thing with me,” she said on why spoke out now. “It’s more of a moral and religious thing.”
Five other women have come forward
The Washington Post first reported on the stories of four women last Thursday, including one woman who says she was 14 when Moore, then 32, kissed and groped her. (The legal age of consent in Alabama was and is 16.) On Monday, another woman came forward at a press conference, saying that Moore sexually assaulted her in his car when she was 16. She said she met Moore at the restaurant where she worked, of which he was a regular patron.
Johnson’s allegations stand out for her age — she was 28 at the time, while Moore’s other accusers were in their teens.
Thorp, meanwhile, told AL.com she was working as a 17-year-old hostess in the Gadsden Red Lobster when Moore asked her out. She said she asked him if he knew her age. “And he said,” she recounted, “’Yeah. I go out with girls your age all the time.'”
Moore has called these allegations “completely false and misleading,” trying to paint this as an attack on his Christianity and a smear campaign weeks ahead of the special election. His wife has defended him (and has since been caught up in a scandal of her own.)
Yet Moore, in a radio interview last week with Sean Hannity, hedged on the accusations; when the conservative host asked if he dated teenage girls, he replied, “Not generally, no,” and said that he’d “dated a lot of young ladies” in his past.
Moore’s name will remain on the ballot no matter what, as the deadline has passed to officially remove it for the December 12 election. Right now, Republican senators are figuring out what to do if Moore stays in the race (and he shows no sign of dropping out). Among the scenarios: mount a write-in campaign, or plan to expel Moore from the Senate as soon as he’s elected.