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Roy Moore Is Fundraising Off Report He Pursued Relationships With Teens

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Hours after the Washington Post reported that four women accused Alabama Senate candidate Roy Moore of pursuing relationships with them when they were teenagers and he was in his 30s, the Republican sent a fundraising message to supporters asking them to chip in to fight the “Obama-Clinton Machine’s liberal media lapdogs.”

In the report from the Post, Leigh Corfman said Moore approached her when she was 14 years old, and on the second occasion they spent time together, she alleges he took off his clothes, touched her over her bra and underwear and guided her hand to touch his crotch.

The other women in the story were between ages 16 and 18 when they say Moore pursued them. They did not have sexual contact with Moore beyond kissing, according to the Post.

Several Republican lawmakers spoke out against the conduct described on Thursday and called for Moore to bow out of the race if the allegations are true. However, Moore, who won the Republican primary in September and is headed to compete in the state’s special election Dec. 12, pushed back strongly against the report. He denied the allegations in a written statement, calling them “completely false” and a “desperate political attack.”

Then, Moore’s fundraising message went further. He called the story “lies” and “filthy and sleazy” attacks in his email, and told supporters “the forces of evil are on the march in our country.”

“We are in the midst of a spiritual battle with those who want to silence our message,” the fundraising email said. “The forces of evil will lie, cheat, steal – even inflict physical harm – if they believe it will silence and shut up Christian conservatives like you and me.”

He then added that he needs to “count on the help of God-fearing conservatives” to help him win the special election.

Moore also tweeted similarly defiant messages Thursday evening, saying that “children and grandchildren’s futures are on the line.”

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Write to Abigail Abrams at abigail.abrams@time.com