Gore welcomes probe to calm grope claim storm

FORMER US vice president Al Gore welcomes a decision by police in Portland to reopen an investigation into a massage therapist’s allegations that he groped her at a hotel four years ago, according to a spokeswoman for the Nobel Peace Prize laureate.

Kalee Kreider said Gore “unequivocally and emphatically” denied making unwanted sexual advances. She added that “further investigation into this matter will only benefit Mr Gore”.

“It’s now an open investigation and I can’t comment,” said police spokeswoman Mary Wheat.

Police earlier said they considered the case closed because there was no evidence. They said last week that the woman’s lawyer came to them with the allegations in 2006 but that the woman cancelled appointments with detectives. The case reopened in January 2009, when detectives interviewed the woman but determined there was insufficient evidence to support the allegations.

The woman 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.

Kreider also said “the Gores cannot comment on every defamatory, misleading and inaccurate story generated by tabloids”.

Gore and his wife Tipper announced in an email to friends last month that they were separating.

Gore, who served as vice president under President Bill Clinton in the 1990s, lost the 2000 presidential election to George Bush. After that loss, he turned his attention to climate change, undertaking a worldwide campaign which led in 2007 to a Nobel Peace Prize and an Oscar for the documentary An Inconvenient Truth.

According to transcripts of the 2009 interview with police, 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”.

The woman said she felt there would be consequences if she didn’t co-operate.

“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 Detective Molly Daul.

She said Gore demanded she drink cognac, though she told him she didn’t drink alcohol. She said Gore became enraged when she refused his advances.

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.


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