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Alabama official compares Roy Moore allegations to Jesus’ parents

Kevin D. Liles/The New York Times

Roy Moore, the Republican candidate for Alabama’s open US Senate seat, in Homewood, Ala., in August.

By Globe Staff 

After an Alabama woman accused US Senate candidate Roy Moore of making sexual contact with her when she was 14, the negative fallout was almost instant among most Republicans.

Most. Not all.

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In Alabama, state auditor Jim Ziegler reportedly brushed aside the claims, blaming The Washington Post for “desperately trying to get something negative” before citing biblical couples that had wide age gaps.

The Post report cited a woman who said Moore, then a 32-year-old assistant district attorney, had sexual contact with her when she was 14. Three other women also said Moore, now 70, approached them when they were between the ages of 16 and 18.

The Moore campaign denied the report as ‘‘the very definition of fake news.’’

Speaking to the Washington Examiner, Ziegler called Moore “clean as a hound’s tooth” but also pointed out that Moore’s wife is 14 years younger than he is.

“They’ve been married about 35 years. They’re blessed with a wonderful marriage,” he told the Examiner.

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He also downplayed the alleged relationship by comparing it to those in the Bible.

“Take the Bible. Zachariah and Elizabeth for instance. Zachariah was extremely old to marry Elizabeth and they became the parents of John the Baptist,” Ziegler said, according to the Examiner. “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,” Ziegler also said. “Maybe just a little bit unusual.”

Another official, Marion County GOP chair David Hall, told a Toronto Star reporter that he didn’t see the “relevance” of the accusations.

“He was 32. She was supposedly 14. She’s not saying that anything happened other than they kissed,” Hall reportedly said.

When the reported pointed out that the woman said Moore had tried to make her touch his genitals, Hall responded, “Well, she said he may have tried to. But we’re talking something that somebody said happened, 40 years ago. It wouldn’t affect whether or not I’d vote for him.”

Defiant as ever, Moore himself issued a fund-raising appeal after the report was published, asking for emergency donations in a ‘‘spiritual battle.’’

‘‘I believe you and I have a duty to stand up and fight back against the forces of evil waging an all-out war on our conservative values,’’ he wrote. ‘‘I will NEVER GIVE UP the fight!’’

Material from the Associated Press was used in this report.