Alabama Secretary of State John Merrill (R) on Wednesday said the state’s Republican Senate candidate Roy Moore is “innocent until proven guilty” of allegations of sexual misconduct that six women have brought against him.
“What I have stated before and what I maintain is that an individual is innocent until proven guilty,” Merrill said on MSNBC.
He said the “original” allegations against Moore “are very serious.”
“And I think they need to continue to be vetted. I think all allegations or additional information that’s brought forward should be vetted,” Merrill said. “And again I feel as though if Judge Moore is indeed guilty of these allegations, that he should withdraw.”
Merrill on Tuesday said it was “possible” the women accusing Moore of misconduct were “making it up.”
Two more women came forward late Wednesday with allegations against Moore, bringing the total count to seven. Kelly Harrison Thorp told AL.com that Moore asked her out when she was 17 years old. Thorp said that Moore told her he went out with girls her age “all the time.”
Tina Johnson alleged that Moore groped her when she was 28 years old as she was leaving his law office.
Four women last week alleged that Moore pursued them for relationships when they were teenagers and he was in his early 30s. One, Leigh Corfman, said Moore initiated a sexual encounter with her when she was 14 years old. A fifth accuser, Beverly Young Nelson, on Monday said Moore sexually assaulted her when she was 16 years old.
Moore has denied the allegations.