By Chip Brownlee
Alabama Political Reporter
Several more women have come forward levying accusations against U.S. Senate hopeful Roy Moore, whom they accuse of making unwanted advances toward them when they were in their teens and early 20s — adding to allegations that Moore had a modus operandi of pursuing women quite his junior when he was in his 30s.
Among the new accusers is another woman, Tina Johnson, interviewed by AL.com, who accused Moore of grabbing her buttocks after a meeting at his Gadsden, Alabama, law firm about a child custody transfer. Moore was already married to his wife Kayla at the time.
Johnson told AL.com that Moore had been hired by her mother to guide them through a custody transfer complaint in 1991. Throughout the meeting, Johnson said Moore flirted with her, and after a meeting, when Johnson was leaving the office, Moore grabbed her.
“He didn’t pinch it; he grabbed it,” Johnson said.
Three other women spoke with reporters Wednesday, alleging Moore pursued them during their teens and 20. One of the women, Kelly Harrison Thorp — who was 17 in 1982 when she says Moore approached her — said Moore told her he frequently pursued young women when he asked her on a date.
“I just kind of said, ‘Do you know how old I am?'” she said. “And he said, ‘Yeah, I go out with girls your age all the time.'”
The allegations in AL.com’s report accompany two other new allegations that arose in a second Washington Post report Wednesday night. Two women, Gena Richardson and Becky Gray, said Moore repeatedly tried to date them when they were around 18 and 22 years old.
Richardson said Moore asked her out on a date when he met her at the Sears department store she worked at in the Gadsden Mall. According to her account, Moore later called her school’s main line and asked to speak with her. She was in a math class and told him she couldn’t talk, she said.
Later, she agreed to go out with him. The date ended in a “forceful” kiss. “It was a man kiss — like really deep tongue, like very forceful tongue,” Richardson said. “And the minute it happened, I got scared then. I really did.”
Gray said Moore also asked her to go on dates repeatedly when she worked was also working at the Gadsden Mall — where Moore was reportedly notorious for pursuing young women, according to other reports from AL.com and The New Yorker.
“I’d always say no, I’m dating someone, no I’m in a relationship,” Gray told the Post.
The Post article said the newspaper confirmed the AL.com and The New Yorker reports that Moore was known for forcefully pursuing young women at the small mall.
The reports Wednesday come after five other women have spoken out against Moore. Two accused Moore of sexual misconduct and another three said Moore made advances toward them when they were young that they later found “troubling.”
Leigh Corfman told the Post last week that she was 16 when Moore brought her to his home and initiated sexual contact with her — contact that included removing her shirt and trying to get her to touch his underwear.
Another woman, Beverly Young Nelson, came forward Monday, accusing Moore of sexually assaulting her in his care in 1977 when she was 16. She said he tried to force her head down into his crotch outside the restaurant where she worked in Gadsden. She was 16 at the time, according to her account, which was broadcast.
She and her attorney, Gloria Allred, who is famous for representing alleged sexual assault victims, held a press conference Monday.
Moore’s attorneys have threatened the Washington Post and AL.com with legal action over their reporting. His attorneys attempted in a Wednesday press conference to cast doubt on an inscription in Nelson’s yearbook, which she said came from Moore.
Nelson alleged Moore signed the yearbook just days before he the alleged assault outside the Olde Hickory restaurant. She showed the inscription at the press conference.
The attorneys demanded the yearbook be turned over for review by handwriting experts because Moore has denied signing the yearbook or knowing Nelson.
“The ‘7’s’ in ‘Christmas 1977’ are in a noticeably different script than the ‘7’s’ in the date ’12-22-77,'” Moore said in an open letter to conservative talk show host Sean Hannity. “I believe tampering has occurred.”
The conservative host who previously brought Moore on his radio show to combat the reports said Tuesday he would give Moore 24 hours to explain away the accusations — or he would pull his support. Hannity said Wednesday night that Moore had answered his questions.
The allegations mounting against more have driven a stake between his campaign and national Republican campaign operations. The Republican National Committee has severed a fundraising agreement with Moore’s campaign, and the National Republican Senatorial Committee’s chairman has called on Moore to step down.
Senate Majority Leader Mitch McConnell, who has never been a big fan of Moore’s, told reporters this week that Moore should step down because he doesn’t belong in the Senate.
The Alabama Republican Party’s Steering Committee — which holds the sole authority to pull their support and disqualify Moore as a candidate on the ballot — has been silent on the accusations thus far, though they held an emergency meeting Wednesday night to discuss the allegations.
Several county executive committees have affirmed their support for Moore, and sources say it is unlikely that the statewide GOP Steering Committee will break with county chapters and move to disqualify Moore.