ETOWAH COUNTY, Ala. – An Etowah County woman is disputing the details surrounding a sexual assault claim against Roy Moore.
On Friday, Roy Moore’s campaign reached out to WHNT News 19 asking if we’d interview a woman who says she worked at the Olde Hickory House during the same time period as Beverly Young Nelson. Beverly Young Nelson says Roy Moore sexually assaulted her in 1977.
Rhonda Ledbetter says she worked as a waitress at the Olde Hickory House and questions the account Nelson provided, “I just felt like it’s important to say the truth.” Ledbetter, formerly known as Rhonda Kiser, is a Moore supporter. She voted for him in the Alabama U.S. Senate primary and runoff elections.
Last week, Beverly Young Nelson held a press conference with her attorney, Gloria Allred in New York. Nelson claimed she met Moore in 1977 when she worked at Olde Hickory House which would have been Ledbetter’s first year working there. “It would’ve been ’77, ’78, and a little bit in ’79. I was in college.”
Nelson said Moore was a frequent customer and told reporters one night after work, Moore offered to give her a ride home. She claims he sexually assaulted her in his car in a back parking lot near a garbage dumpster.
“I tried fighting him off while yelling at him to stop. But instead of stopping, he began squeezing my neck, attempting to force my head in his crotch,” Nelson claimed during the news conference.
Ledbetter says she is skeptical of Nelson’s account for a few reasons. “I never once saw Roy Moore come into the restaurant in all the time that I worked there.”
Ledbetter says she also doesn’t recall working with Beverly Nelson — despite working several different shifts. “I don’t remember her. I never remember her working there.”
WHNT News 19 has worked for three days to verify Ledbetter’s employment. We spoke with her sister who also claims to have worked there in the summer of 1977. We also talked to one of Ledbetter’s friends who says she was an employee.
However, we have been unsuccessful in confirming her employment outside of those two. We haven’t been able to reach the former owner. Ledbetter says there aren’t tax records or paycheck stubs. She claims the owner paid employees in cash. “I don’t think there would be any records to determine if anybody worked there. I just think all of those records would probably be gone,” she explained. “So, I think it would be hard to prove or disprove.”
We’ve learned Ledbetter has experience as an actress. She’s been in some Christian-based films. However, she says she isn’t being paid to speak up for Moore. She claims her reason for coming forward is because she is seeking the truth.
“I don’t want a senator representing me or any other government officials who is unethical,” said Ledbetter. “But at the same time, I know that having been a school teacher I know that sometimes that people don’t exactly tell the truth. They tell their version of it, embellish it or flat out lie.”
We asked Ledbetter if she thought Nelson was believable during her news conference. Ledbetter told us she thought Nelson sounded credible, but also given her experience, she knows, “how good people can act.”
Ledbetter also said she doesn’t believe anyone who worked at the restaurant was under 16. Nelson claimed she was 15. Ledbetter also claimed the dumpster wasn’t located where Nelson described.