Police are reopening an investigation into an Oregon massage therapist’s allegations that former Vice President Al Gore groped her at an upscale hotel in 2006.
In a brief statement, the Portland Police Bureau did not say why it was reopening the investigation. Police earlier said they considered the case closed because there was no evidence.
Kalee Kreider, a spokeswoman for Gore, said the former vice president “unequivocally and emphatically” denied making unwanted sexual advances toward the woman and that he welcomed the investigation. “Further investigation into this matter will only benefit Mr. Gore,” Kreider said.
She also said “the Gores cannot comment on every defamatory, misleading and inaccurate story generated by tabloids”. The masseuse alleges Gore made unwanted sexual advances during a massage appointment on October 24, 2006, at the downtown Hotel Lucia, where Gore was reportedly registered as “Mr Stone”. Gore was in Portland to deliver a speech on climate change.
The story first broke when the National Enquirer reported the allegations a week ago. The AP does not generally identify people who say they are victims of sex crimes.
Portland police last week said the woman’s lawyer came to them with the allegations in 2006 but that the woman canceled appointments with detectives. The case reopened in January 2009, when detetectives interviewed the woman but determined there was insufficient evidence to support the allegations.
According to transcripts of the 2009 interview, the masseuse described the allegations at length. She said Gore groped, kissed and pinned her down on a bed. She told Gore he was acting like a “crazed sex poodle”, according to the transcript. The woman said she felt there would be consequences if she didn’t cooperate.
“I feared that if I ran for the door to get out, I could or would be violently accosted by some security detail,” she said. “I felt certain that any, even the smallest complaint from him to the hotel, could also destroy my work reputation.”
While trying to pack up, she said Gore “wrapped me in an inescapable embrace,” looked her in the eyes and touched her back, buttocks and breasts. She said she asked Gore to stop several times. “I finally told him and said, you’re being a crazed sex poodle, hoping he’d realise how weird he was being, yet he persisted,” she told Det. Molly Daul.
The woman said Gore’s “Mr Smiley Global Warming” persona differed from his actions and made her afraid. “I did not want to get hurt and I did not want to get raped,” she said. She said Gore demanded she drink cognac, though she told him she doesn’t drink alcohol. She said Gore became enraged when she refused his advances.
“This is like people going nuts on the MAX (Portland’s public transit system) and you want to get off before they beat you up,” she said. During the interview, the woman mentioned working as a masseuse for the lead singer of the Counting Crows, members of former professional wrestler Hulk Hogan’s family and NBA players.
After the alleged incident, the woman said she was dissuaded from contacting the police by liberal friends of hers, whom she refers to as “The Birkenstock Tribe”, and of which she counts herself a member. “It’s like being the ultimate traitor”, the woman said. One friend “was basically asking me to just suck it up, otherwise the world’s going to be destroyed from global warming,” she said.
Gore and wife Tipper announced that they are separating on June 1 in an e-mail to friends.