An elected US politician has cited Jesus’ parents to defend a colleague accused of sexually assaulting a 14-year-old girl.
Alabama Senate Republican candidate Roy Moore is accused of the assault on the teenage girl when he was in his 30s.
Three other women have also come forward with similar stories about Moore, which they claim took place when they were also teenagers.
The allegations – the latest to emerge in the flood of sexual assault claims following the Harvey Weinstein case – have led to led calls for Moore to stand down from the election.
But he has support from his own party and – so it is claimed – from the Bible.
Alabama state auditor Jim Zeigler claims Moore’s behaviour can be defended by the actions of Joseph and Mary.
“Take Joseph and Mary. Mary was a teenager and Joseph was an adult carpenter. They became parents of Jesus,” he told the Washington Examiner.
He added: “There is nothing to see here.
“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.”
The accuser, who was 14 at the time of the alleged assault, Leigh Corfman, has stated publicly that Moore touched her over her bra and underwear and also guided her hand to his underwear.
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The other three women claimed they were kissed by the would-be Senator.
Other supporters of Moore claim the stories could have been made up as the election to the State senate gets more fractious.
The election takes place on December 12 .