Allegations the Republican nominee for U.S. Senate in Alabama, Roy Moore, made sexual contact with a 14-year-old girl when he was 32 are "disqualifying ... if true," U.S. Sen. Ron Johnson said Thursday.

The Washington Post broke the explosive allegations Thursday. The report was based on interviews with more than 30 people who knew Moore, including four women who said Moore pursued them while he was in his 30s and they were under 18.

One of the women, Leigh Corfman, said Moore -- a former district attorney and state judge in Alabama -- initiated sexual contact with her in 1979 when she was 14, the Post reported. 

The legal age of consent in Alabama, then and now, is 16, the Post reported. Under Alabama law in 1979, and today, a person who is at least 19 years old who has sexual contact with someone between 12 and 16 years old has committed sexual abuse in the second degree. The crime is a misdemeanor punishable by up to one year in jail.

“If true, these allegations describe intolerable behavior and are disqualifying," Johnson said in a statement.

Senate Majority Leader Mitch McConnell also said Thursday that "if these allegations are true, (Moore) must step aside."

Moore is the Republican nominee in a special U.S. Senate election in Alabama scheduled to be held next month, in which he faces Democrat Doug Jones.

The race is to fill the seat formerly held by Jeff Sessions, who left it to become U.S. Attorney General under President Donald Trump.

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Mark Sommerhauser covers state government and politics for the Wisconsin State Journal.