Roy Moore allegedly told evangelist Franklin Graham that the sexual assault allegations against him were “not true.” Facebook/Getty
Evangelist Franklin Graham has weighed in on the sexual assault allegations surrounding Republican Senate candidate Roy Moore and said the accusations are “troubling if they are true.”
“Roy Moore has been in the news continually for the last several weeks with a number of accusations that would be troubling if they are true,” Graham, the CEO of Samaritan’s Purse, wrote on Facebook.
Graham also linked to an open letter Moore sent conservative TV/radio host Sean Hannity denying the accusations: “Here’s the letter he posted to Sean Hannity giving his side of the story,” he said.
The evangelist revealed he’d previously meet Moore – once in Alabama last year, and again in Norway last week.
“I… asked him if these allegations were true. He said absolutely not,” Graham said. “You can read his detailed response for yourself. My prayer is that the truth will ultimately be revealed and lies will be seen for what they are.”
Moore is facing calls to step down before the December 12 special election after the Washington Post published a report based on interviews with more than 30 people, saying Moore, now 70, pursued relationships with teenagers while he was in his 30s. One woman said she was just 14 years old when Moore initiated sexual contact with her.
Moore has denied any past misconduct and has indicated he has no intention of stepping aside.
“I believe tampering has occurred,” Moore charged on Twitter. “Are we at a stage in American politics in which false allegations can overcome a public record of 40 years, stampede the media and politicians to condemn an innocent man and potentially impact the outcome of an election of national importance?”
Moore closed his letter by saying, “I adamantly deny the allegations of Leigh Corfman and Beverly Nelson, did not date underage girls and have taken steps to begin a civil action for defamation. Because of that, at the direction of counsel, I cannot comment further.”
While Republicans in Washington – incuding Senate Majority Leader Mitch McConnell, House Speaker Paul Ryan and Texas Sen. Ted Cruz – have urged Moore to step down due to the allegations, some pastors have continued to back the politician.
Pastor Bruce Jenkins of Young’s Chapel Congregational Methodist Church told CNN: “I don’t know what’s happened in this country where a man isn’t innocent until proven guilty,” he said. “It’s not fair to comment until it’s proven or disproven.”
“It’s a pretty convenient time for this to come out, and it has not changed my opinion and won’t, unless true,” he added.
Rev. Jamie Holcomb, of Young’s Chapel Congregational Methodist Church in Piedmont, said: “I’ve known him my whole life and I’ve never known him to do anything inappropriate.
He said that he’d need to see more proof before he changed his mind.
“I stand behind him 100%, unless there’s proof,” he said. “If (his accusers) are found to have been assaulted, I’ll be the first to condemn it.”