Alabama state senate candidate Roy Moore allegedly engaged in a sexual encounter with a 14-year-old girl when he was in his 30s almost four decades ago.
The Washington Post spoke with the accuser Leigh Corfman, who said he drove her to his house and kissed her. Then, on a second visit, took off his clothes, along with her shirt and pants, touched her through her bra and underpants, and “guided her hand to touch him over his underwear”.
The Post also reports that three other girls between the ages of 14 and 18 were asked on dates by him around that time, however they all deny it went any further than that.
But whether it happened or not doesn't seem to matter to Alabama State auditor Jim Ziegler, who told the Washington Examiner, “there is nothing to see here”.
Also take Joseph and Mary. Mary was a teenager and Joseph was an adult carpenter. They became parents of Jesus.
“The allegations are that a man in his early 30s dated teenage girls. Even the Washington Post report says that he never had sexual intercourse with any of the girls and never attempted sexual intercourse.”
He added that it “happened almost 40 years ago”, and even threw Mr Moore’s wife into the conversation, calling her "one of the younger women".
“Roy Moore fell in love with one of the younger women,” he told the Examiner.
“He dated her. He married her, and they’ve been married about 35 years. They’re blessed with a wonderful marriage and his wife Kayla is 14 years younger than Moore.”
But his defence of Mr Moore turned even more bizarre when he brought the Bible into it.
“Take the Bible. Zachariah and Elizabeth for instance. Zachariah was extremely old to marry Elizabeth and they became the parents of John the Baptist,” he said.
“Also take Joseph and Mary. Mary was a teenager and Joseph was an adult carpenter. They became parents of Jesus.”
“There’s just nothing immoral or illegal here,” Mr Ziegler concluded. “Maybe just a little bit unusual.”
Wow. This defense of Roy Moore from AL state Auditor Jim Ziegler:
"Take Joseph and Mary. Mary was a teenager and Joseph was an adult carpenter. They became parents of Jesus.”https://t.co/IhaWiCEFmq
— Aaron Blake (@AaronBlake) November 9, 2017
Meanwhile, Senate Majority Leader Mitch McConnell called for Mr Moore to withdraw from the race if the allegations, which he said "were very disturbing", are substantiated.
“If these allegations are true, Roy Moore should step aside for all the obvious reasons,” Mr McConnell, who backed Moore's opponent in the Republican primary, told reporters.
Senator John McCain added: “The allegations against Roy Moore are deeply disturbing and disqualifying. He should immediately step aside and allow the people of Alabama to elect a candidate they are proud of.”
The allegations against Roy Moore are deeply disturbing and disqualifying. He should immediately step aside and allow the people of Alabama to elect a candidate they can be proud of.
— John McCain (@SenJohnMcCain) November 9, 2017