January 6, 2018 / 12:00 AM / 10 months ago

Fire at Moore accuser's Alabama home not linked to allegations: sheriff

(Reuters) - The home of an Alabama woman who accused Republican U.S. Senate candidate Roy Moore of sexually assaulting her has been destroyed by a fire, but the local sheriff said on Friday the blaze does not appear to be linked to the case.

“The ongoing investigation does not lead us to believe that the fire is in any way related to Roy Moore or allegations made against him,” the Etowah County Sheriff’s Office said in a statement.

It added the office is speaking to a person of interest in the blaze that took place on Wednesday and arrest warrants have not yet been obtained.

The home in Gadsden belonged to Tina Johnson, who told AL.com, an Alabama news site, that Moore had groped her while she was in his Alabama law office on legal business in 1991.

Johnson, who was 28 at the time, said she visited Moore’s office with her mother, who had hired Moore in a custody case involving Johnson’s 12-year-old son.

Reuters was unable to independently verify the allegations, and Moore has denied any wrongdoing.

Five other women have accused Moore of sexual misconduct or of dating them when he was in his 30s and they were teenagers.

Johnson was not immediately available for comment on the fire. She was quoted by Al.com on Friday as saying that she and her husband were at work at the time of the blaze and they lost everything they owned.

“I am devastated, just devastated,” she was quoted as saying.

Moore, the conservative Christian Republican whose campaign was tainted by accusations that he pursued teenaged girls while in his 30s, was defeated in Alabama’s special election for the U.S. Senate last month.

Doug Jones became the first Democrat sent to the Senate from Republican stronghold Alabama in a quarter century.

Reporting by Jon Herskovitz; Editing by Sandra Maler

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