Yesterday, the National Enquirer rolled out a story that a Portland massage therapist had accused Al Gore of groping and fondling her over the course of a three-hour massage at the Hotel Lucia downtown on October 24, 2006. (He was in town that day to do his global warming presentation at the Rose Garden, an event I attended.)
The Enquirer, of course, is a supermarket tabloid renowned for over-the-top stories and unfounded allegations that go no further than their own headlines -- but they've also been dead right on numerous occasions. Recently, for example, the Enquirer broke the story about the affair between John Edwards and Rielle Hunter -- a story that was widely dismissed for months, until they were proven right.
In this case, the Portland Police and the Multnomah County DA confirm that they are aware of the Portland massage therapist's allegations, but ended their brief investigation when she refused to pursue her allegations and file charges.
Update: The Portland Tribune reports that they investigated the allegations in 2007 and 2008, and declined to publish the story. Also, there's an excellent rundown of the timeline and the specific allegations at Talking Points Memo.
On the jump, the official statements...
From the Portland Police:
A national tabloid magazine has published a story discussing allegations made by a Portland woman against former Vice President Al Gore. The Portland Police Bureau does not generally disclose information regarding sex crimes, as they are deemed confidential. However, because of the high-profile nature of this case and the fact that the woman involved provided reports to a media outlet, we will provide the following information:
In December 2006, a local attorney contacted the Portland Police Bureau and said he had a client that wanted to report an unwanted sexual contact by Mr. Gore. This allegation stemmed from an incident on October 24, 2006, when the woman involved, a Licensed Massage Therapist, was called to a local hotel to provide a massage to Mr. Gore.
After repeated attempts by Portland Police Detectives to interview the woman involved, the Police Bureau was told by her attorney in January 2007, that they were pursuing civil litigation and declined the assistance of the Portland Police Bureau’s Detective Division. A special report was written and the case was exceptionally cleared—a standard procedure when the person involved declines to talk to police. The District Attorney’s Office was consulted during this time.
On January 6, 2009, the woman involved came to the Detective Division and explained that she would like to give a statement. On January 8, 2009, a Detective and a victim advocate assigned to the Sexual Assault Detail met with the woman. The woman read from a prepared statement and detailed the events of October 24, 2006. She reported that she was repeatedly subjected to unwanted sexual touching while in his presence.
The woman reported that she still had clothes that she had worn during the encounter. But due to the description she gave of the incident, detectives did not collect the clothes as evidence because they did not feel there was any evidentiary value to the clothing.
After interviewing the woman, the Police Bureau provided additional services per the victim advocate program. The case was not investigated any further because detectives concluded there was insufficient evidence to support the allegations.
In June 2010, the woman involved contacted Detectives and asked for a copy of her statement, which she was given. She then asked if she could edit her statement and was told she could provide detectives with additional clarifications that would be added to her original report. She also advised that she was going to take the case to the media.
The District Attorney’s Office has a copy of the reports. At this point, the Police Bureau does not consider this an ongoing investigation unless new evidence is received in this case.
The Police Bureau is releasing the redacted reports concurrent with this news release. In 2007, the Police Bureau released the initial special report regarding the incident after it received a public records request by the Portland Tribune.
And the statement from the Multnomah County DA:
In late 2006 and January 2007 this office was briefed by the Portland Police Bureau on allegations that were brought to it by an attorney representing a woman who alleged unwanted sexual contact by Al Gore. We were told the woman was not willing to be interviewed by the Portland Police Bureau and did not want a criminal investigation to proceed.
About a year after this event, our office was aware that a public records request from the media regarding this matter had been granted by the Portland Police Bureau. Today our office was notified by the Portland Police Bureau that further investigation of this matter had been conducted by it in 2009 and we were provided with the reports from that further investigation.
If the complainant and the Portland Police Bureau wish to pursue the possibility of a criminal prosecution, additional investigation by the Bureau will be necessary and will be discussed with the Portland Police Bureau.
Hat tip to KATU for the statements.