Alabama Republican Senate candidate Roy Moore says he will sue the Washington Post over its report alleging he pursued sexual relationships with teenagers — including a 14-year-old — when he was in his 30s.
“The Washington Post published another attack on my character and reputation because they are desperate to stop my political campaign. These attacks said I was with a minor child and are false and untrue — and for which they will be sued,” Moore said Sunday night during a campaign speech in Huntsville, Alabama.
A message left with The Washington Post Monday morning was not immediately returned.
It’s not uncommon for public figures to threaten legal action against news organizations but ultimately fail to follow through. President Donald Trump threatened to sue The New York Times last year after it published the accounts of two women who claimed Trump touched them inappropriately. His lawyers never filed a lawsuit.
More recently, disgraced Hollywood mogul Harvey Weinstein initially threatened to sue the Times after it first reported allegations of sexual misconduct against him, but that suit never materialized.
The Washington Post report Thursday was based on interviews with more than 30 people. As well as the allegations that Moore had sexual contact with the then 14-year-old when he was aged 32, three other women also told The Post that Moore pursued them when they were between the ages of 16 and 18.
The woman who was 14 years old at the time claimed he took her to his house, undressed down to his underwear and undressed her down to her bra and underwear and touched her and moved her hand to touch his underwear, which could have been sexual offenses due to her age, but the statutes of limitations in effect during that time have passed.
None of the other three women told the Post that Moore sexually harassed, or assaulted them, or forced them into a relationship. Alabama’s legal age of consent is 16.
Moore has denied the allegations since they were published. He called the claims “completely false” Friday when appearing on Sean Hannity’s syndicated radio show.
Speaking at a Veterans Day event at the Mid-Alabama Republican Club in Birmingham Saturday, Moore called the allegations “fake news” and “yet another attack on my character and reputation in a desperate attempt to stop my political campaign for the United States Senate.”
He added that the alleged incidents happened nearly 40 years ago and called them “very hurtful to me personally — I have the highest regard for the protection of young children,” before adding that he has never provided alcohol to a minor and has “not been guilty of sexual misconduct with anyone.”
Moore added that there were ongoing “investigations” looking into the motivations behind the Post article, and promised “revelations” about the story to come in the next few days, though he did not provide further specifics.
A number of Republicans withdrew their endorsements of Moore following the Washington Post article, including the National Republican Senatorial Committee, which severed a joint fundraising agreement that benefits Moore’s campaign.