Senate candidate Roy Moore and his wife, Kayla, leave a campaign rally in Midland City, Ala., on Dec. 11. Roy Moore has filed a defamation lawsuit naming four women who have accused him of pursuing them when they were teenagers in Alabama decades ago. (Jabin Botsford/The Washington Post)

Roy Moore, whose campaign for the U.S. Senate foundered amid allegations he pursued teenage girls in Alabama decades ago, filed a lawsuit Monday alleging that he was the victim of what he called a “political conspiracy.”

The defamation case names four women, including Leigh Corfman, who has said Moore touched her sexually when she was 14 years old and he was a 32-year-old assistant district attorney in 1979. Moore repeatedly denied the allegations, but in December he lost the special Senate race to Democrat Doug Jones.

Flanked by his wife at the Etowah County Courthouse, where he once presided as a judge before serving on the Alabama Supreme Court, Moore denounced what he called “vile accusations of sexual impropriety.”

Corfman’s attorney, Neil Roman, said in a statement: “These latest claims by the Moore camp have no more merit than those he has made before. . . . Ms. Corfman is no longer a teenager and is not going to let Mr. Moore victimize her again.”

The lawsuit also names Tina Johnson, who has said Moore grabbed her buttocks while she was in his office seeking legal advice; Beverly Young Nelson, who has accused Moore of groping her in a car in 1977 when she 16 years old; and Debbie Wesson Gibson, who has said Moore’s handwriting in Johnson’s high school yearbook matched his writing in a card he sent her when they were dating. Gibson said she met Moore when she was 17, after he spoke to her high school civics class.

Moore’s lawsuit in Etowah County Circuit Court comes amid his efforts to raise money for legal fees to fend off a defamation suit against him brought by Corfman.