The women accusing Moore told the Washington Post that when they were between the ages of 14 and 18, he romantically pursued them.
One woman, Leigh Corfman, told the Post that when she was 14 years old in 1979, a 32-year-old Moore “took off her shirt and pants and removed his clothes.”
Corfman told the Post that Moore “touched her over her bra and underpants, she says, and guided her hand to touch him over his underwear."
The outspoken social conservative said in a statement the four women quoted by the Washington Post are lying.
“This garbage is the very definition of fake news and intentional defamation,” Moore said.
Former White House adviser Stephen Bannon helped Moore trounce establishment favorite Luther Strange in a September Republican primary, over President Trump’s warning that Moore was less electable.
Moore currently is in a close race against Democrat Doug Jones ahead of a Dec. 12 election.
Corfman said she did not have sex with Moore, who at the time was an assistant district attorney, but that “I wanted it over with — I wanted out,” and that she thought, “Please just get this over with. Whatever this is, just get it over.”
Three other women told the Post that when they were between 16 and 18 years old and Moore was in his 30s. Each of the women was quoted by name, though none alleged sexual contact during the alleged incidents, which occurred between 1979 and 1982.
Wendy Miller told the Post she was 16 when Moore asked her on dates. Debbie Wesson Gibson told the Post that at 17 Moore spoke to her high school class before taking her on dates that featured kissing. Gloria Thacker Deason told the newspaper that at 18 Moore took her on dates featuring wine.
In his denial, Moore stressed his long and high-profile political career, during which the women did not come forward.
Senate Majority Leader Mitch McConnell, R-Ky., said shortly after the Washington Post story hit that "if these allegations are true, he must step aside." He was quickly joined by a chorus of other Senate Republicans echoing his words, all adding the same "if" qualifier. Only Sen. John McCain, R-Ariz., called for Moore to quit the Alabama Senate race outright.
Moore has been a divisive cultural figure for two decades. He was removed as chief justice of the Alabama Supreme Court in 2003 after refusing to abide by federal court rulings that he remove a granite sculpture of the Ten Commandments. He was later re-elected to the position before being suspended again last year for instructing state officials to ignore the U.S. Supreme Court’s decision to legalize same-sex marriage nationwide.
Dean Young, a political adviser to Moore and a friend of the former judge's for the last 25 years, said he's "a Southern gentleman" who wouldn't do what he's accused of doing.
"I’ve been with Judge Moore for 25 years; I talk to him privately every day…Judge Moore has never – I’ve never seen Judge Moore do anything inappropriate toward anyone, period. He’s a gentleman, A Southern gentleman .. He’s been tried and tested before the people of Alabama for 25 years," Young said.
He added, "This is completely false. This is what they do. They being the Democrats and the people in Washington. They understand how important this race is, because the judge does understand the God of the bible … They will do anything, like they’re doing — say anything, do anything to stop him from bringing real Christina values to Washington."
Polling suggests an unexpectedly close race with Jones, a former U.S. attorney.
Amid a series of controversial remarks on homosexuality and Islam, Moore's campaign has sought to shield him from interviews with reporters, including from conservative-leaning outlets, in an attempt to head off unwanted headlines.
Moore campaign spokeswoman Katie Frost did not immediately respond to a request for comment from the Washington Examiner, nor did campaign consultant Drew Messer. Moore’s wife of 33 years, Kayla Moore, also did not immediately respond to a request for comment, nor did an assistant.
“After over 40 years of public service, if any of these allegations were true, they surely would have been made public long before now,” Moore’s statement said. “The Judge has been a candidate in four hotly-contested statewide political contests, twice as a gubernatorial candidate and twice as a candidate for chief justice. He has been a three-time candidate for local office, and he has been a national figure in two ground-breaking, judicial fights over religious liberty and traditional marriage.”
The accusations against Moore come after a series of high-profile men, including Hollywood producer Harvey Weinstein, actor Kevin Spacey, former President George H.W. Bush, and others have been accused of inappropriate and long-hushed sexual misconduct.