Q: Did Roy Moore accusers “Mary Lynne Davies” and “Harley Hannah” lie? Did Beverly Young Nelson admit she “forged” a yearbook message from Moore?
A: No. The first two names are not among Moore’s accusers. And Nelson said she added a date and location to a yearbook message written by Moore.
The news cycle surrounding the Dec. 12 special Alabama Senate election between Republican Roy Moore and Democrat Doug Jones has been dominated by stories about accusations of sexual misconduct made against Moore, the former chief judge of the state’s Supreme Court.
The first accusations surfaced in early November, when four women told the Washington Post that Moore had pursued them decades ago, when they were teenagers and he was in his 30s. Since then, five more women have come forward with similar stories about Moore, who denies the allegations.
Several stories circulating online about Moore’s accusers aren’t legitimate, and Facebook users rightly flagged them as potentially false. We found that some of them were purportedly written as satire, but were run on websites that did not label them as such.
Claim: Moore accuser “Mary Lynne Davies” was arrested for “falsification.”
None of the women who have come forward to accuse Moore of sexual misconduct is named Mary Lynne Davies.
Nevertheless, a bogus story claiming that an accuser with that name has been arrested for “falsification” has been shared more than 15,000 times on Facebook.
The fake story originated on a website called No Fake News Online, which is part of a network of self-described satirical websites.
A disclaimer on nofakenews.online says: “Everything on this website is fiction.”
The bogus article actually combines details from the accounts given by two of Moore’s real accusers — Leigh Corfman, who alleges that Moore touched her sexually when she was 14 and he was 32, and Beverly Young Nelson, who alleges that Moore attempted to force her into having sex in his car when she was 16 and he was in his 30s.
The story also refers to the Alabama attorney general as “John Simmons,” when the state’s real attorney general is Steve Marshall.
And the picture of a woman’s mugshot that was published with the story is from a 2015 drug arrest in Georgia, and is unrelated to the allegations made against Moore.
Claim: Moore accuser “Harley Hannah” admitted that Moore didn’t touch her.
This is another completely bogus story about a fictional accuser that has been posted by at least a dozen websites and shared more than 100,000 times on Facebook.
It was originally published by the website Reagan Was Right, which belongs to the same network of pseudo-news publications as No Fake News Online.
Two of the sites that picked up the story (Pride of America and Road Life) and ran it without a “satire” disclaimer are registered to an owner in Kosovo, and another site (American Life) is registered to an owner in Kazakhstan.
The made-up story claims that “Harley Hannah” appeared on MSNBC and told “host Dan Fitzpatrick” that she didn’t actually remember what Moore had done to her. But that is not the name of any of the women who have accused Moore publicly, nor is there record of a “Dan Fitzpatrick” hosting a show on MSNBC. There is also no record of an interview with anyone named “Harley Hannah.”
Reagan Was Right also fabricated the story that invented Moore accuser “Helen Marikova-Spindlesmith” has “admitted to being paid more than $100K in cash from an anonymous source” to make false claims about Moore.
Claim: Beverly Young Nelson admitted she “forged” a yearbook note from Roy Moore.
Beverly Young Nelson is one of Moore’s accusers, but she has not admitted to forging a note that she says Moore wrote in her high school yearbook in 1977.
That false claim was made in dozens of headlines and stories published after Nelson acknowledged adding text to the yearbook specifying the date and location of Moore’s message. She still maintains the message itself was written and signed by Moore.
A post on the Silence Is Consent blog, for example, wrongly says: “Beverly Nelson, the woman who has accused GOP Senatorial candidate Roy Moore of sexual assault, has admitted that she forged his inscription inside her high school yearbook.”
She has made no such admission.
It’s true that Nelson originally attributed all of the yearbook inscription to Moore, who she said offered to sign her yearbook at a restaurant where she worked.
In a Nov. 13 press conference, Nelson said: “He wrote in my yearbook as follows: ‘To a sweeter more beautiful girl, I could not say Merry Christmas, Christmas, 1977, Love, Roy Moore, Olde Hickory House.’ And signed it ‘Roy Moore, DA.'”
But on Dec. 8, in an interview that aired on ABC’s “Good Morning America,” Nelson acknowledged that she — not Moore — wrote the date, “12-22-77,” and the name of the restaurant, “Olde Hickory House,” that appear after the signature in the yearbook.
ABC News’ Tom Llamas, Dec. 8: Beverly, he signed your yearbook?
Nelson: He did sign it.
Llamas: And you made some notes underneath?
In a press conference the same day, Gloria Allred, Nelson’s attorney, said that her client made the additions “to remind herself of who Roy Moore was and when and where Mr. Moore signed her yearbook.” Allred, though, did not say when the notes were added.
Several of the stories that made the false forgery claim referred to a story published on the conservative Breitbart website under the misleading headline: “Bombshell: Roy Moore Accuser Beverly Nelson Admits She Forged Yearbook.”
Fox News changed the headline and its story to reflect that “Nelson admits to writing part of the inscription herself, rather than forging part of it,” according to an update.
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