Portland police have re-opened an investigation into allegations made last year by a massage therapist that former Vice President Al Gore groped and kissed her and made unwelcome sexual advances in an upscale hotel suite late one night in October 2006.
The Portland Police Bureau did not explain why the case was being re-opened now, after stating last week there had been insufficient evidence to pursue it. However in the past seven days, the allegations by masseuse Molly Hagerty, 54, have been trumpeted in a pair of National Enquirer stories.
"I want justice served," Hagerty told the National Enquirer in a short story posted online Wednesday. The Enquirer says Hagerty has a "key witness who could blow the case wide open, the secret hotel video surveillance and the DNA evidence."
Gore family spokeswoman Kalee Kreider released a statement Wednesday evening disputing the therapist's accusation.
"Further investigation into this matter will only benefit Mr. Gore,'' she said. "The Gores cannot comment on every defamatory, misleading, and inaccurate story generated by tabloids. Mr. Gore unequivocally and emphatically denied this accusation when he first learned of its existence three years ago. He stands by that denial.''
The Portland Police Bureau issued its own statement on Wednesday, saying only that the department "has made the decision to re-open the case regarding the allegations brought forward against Mr. Al Gore. Consistent with our policy regarding open investigations, the Police Bureau will not be commenting on any additional specifics regarding this case at this time."
In December 2006 and January 2007 Hagerty complained through her lawyer, Randall Vogt, about the alleged sexual misconduct two months after her Oct. 24, 2006 late-night massage session, according to a Portland police statement last week. Hagerty, then unidentified, refused to meet with detectives on three occasions, police said.
Vogt, a specialist in sex crimes cases, told law enforcement officials at the time that Hagerty had decided to pursue a civil lawsuit. The attorney, who no longer represents Hagerty, also contacted the FBI, the Oregon State Police and the U.S. Secret Service. In January 2009, Hagerty apparently changed her mind, and read a detailed, prepared statement to Portland sexual assault investigators. She remained unnamed, as a potential sex crime victim, until going public in the Enquirer on Wednesday.
As evidence, Hagerty offered police the black trousers she wore to the massage session at the city's upscale Hotel Lucia. She said they were stained with what might be Gore's DNA since he was wearing only a hotel bathrobe that tied in the front. Portland authorities declined to press charges, citing insufficient evidence of a sex crime (click for audio
versions of the Portland police report)
Hagerty's allegations included claims of Gore's repeated requests for a massage of his groin area and lower abdomen, and throwing himself on top of her on a bed as she attempted to pack up her gear and leave. In her police statement, she accused Gore of kissing and groping her. At one point she says she told Gore, "you're being a crazed sex poodle, hoping he would realize how weird he was being, yet he persisted,"
Hagerty told police she did not just bolt from the hotel suite because "I feared that if I ran for the door to get out, I could or would be violently accosted by some security detail." On the night in question, Gore did not have Secret Service protection.
Enquirer editor Barry Levine has told The Washington Post that his paper did not, as had been reported elsewhere, pay Hagerty $1 million for the original story, in which she was unnamed, but pictured with her faced blurred out. Levine has not yet responded to e-mail and phone requests about whether she is now being paid for revealing her identity.
Hagerty's allegations come just weeks after Al and Tipper Gore announced they were splitting after 40 years of marriage and four children. Al Gore, an Oscar and Nobel Prize winner who lost the 2000 presidential election to George W. Bush.