Oregon investigated sex-assault accusation against Al Gore; case was closed

By Carol D. Leonnig
Thursday, June 24, 2010

Authorities in Portland, Ore., investigated in late 2006 and early 2007 a masseuse's claim that she was sexually assaulted by former vice president and Nobel laureate Al Gore during his visit to that city, but the matter was eventually dropped for lack of evidence, officials said Wednesday.

The woman who alleged the assault through her lawyer declined initially to be interviewed by police and did not want officers to pursue the matter, the Multnomah County district attorney's office said Wednesday. She later reconsidered and met with Portland police detectives in January 2009, telling them she "was repeatedly subjected to unwanted sexual touching."

The detectives concluded after that interview that they lacked enough evidence to proceed with an investigation, the police department said in a statement.

"At this point, the Police Bureau does not consider this an ongoing investigation unless new evidence is received in this case," it said.

Gore spokeswoman Kalee Kreider declined to respond Wednesday to specific questions about the matter. When asked about it by the Portland Tribune in 2007 and 2008, Gore's attorneys strongly denied the claim, calling it "completely false."

The newspaper had obtained a copy of a preliminary investigative report of the allegations against Gore but chose not to publish an article on the matter. The Tribune reported on its Web site Wednesday that it did so, in part, because of the woman's reluctance to be named.

The lawyer for the woman first raised the allegation with the Portland Police Bureau in December 2006, about two months after Gore went to Portland to give a speech on climate change and to attend a fundraiser for Oregon's Democratic governor.

Police said they tried to make subsequent appointments to interview the woman, a licensed massage therapist, but the appointments were canceled.

In January 2007, the woman's lawyer, Randy Vogt, told police that she was pursuing civil litigation and declined further assistance from police. The lawyer then contacted the Secret Service, the FBI and the Oregon State Police to request an investigation.

According to the Multnomah district attorney's office, all three agencies referred the attorney to the Portland police, which had jurisdiction in the matter.

Vogt was not immediately available for comment. Officials for the Secret Service and the FBI declined to comment.

After the Tribune decided not to publish an article, the woman met with Portland detectives in January 2009 and restated the allegations in person, police said. She said she had kept clothing from the incident as evidence and offered it to the detectives, who declined to take it.

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