Prosecutor: Al Gore was focus of sex crime inquiry in Portland
Maxine Bernstein, The Oregonian
Posted: 06/23/2010 3:32 PM
» Read the Portland Police Bureau report
Associated PressFormer Vice President Al Gore speaks at the Millennium Summit on Thursday, April 22, 2010 in Montreal.
The Multnomah County District Attorney’s Office confirmed today that a woman who alleged unwanted sexual contact by Al Gore reported it to police in 2006, and the prosecutor’s office was briefed by the Portland Police Bureau in late 2006 and January 2007.
“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,’’ Multnomah County District Attorney Michael Schrunk said, in a prepared statement.
Today, as the National Enquirer reported that it had interviewed a Portland masseuse who complained of unwanted sexual contact by the former vice president at the Hotel Lucia on Oct. 24, 2006, the district attorney’s office was notified that the Portland Police Bureau had conducted a further investigation of the allegation in 2009.
“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,’’ Schrunk said, in his statement.
Gore family spokeswoman Kalee Kreider said the former vice president has no comment. Gore and his wife announced June 1 they were separating.
At the time, according to a Portland police 2007 report, the woman reported the encounter several weeks after the incident. Portland Detective Cheryl Waddell said the woman cancelled interview appointments three times, and declined police investigation, saying a civil case would be pursued.
Portland police Sgt. Rich Austria had contacted the U.S. Secret Service, the Federal Bureau of Investigation and Oregon State Police "in an attempt to have a larger law enforcement agency investigate this case. All above agencies declined and referred him to the agency of jurisdiction where the alleged crime occurred,'' Waddell wrote in her report.
Waddell was assigned the case Dec. 19, 2006. By 2007, the woman or her attorney told police the case was going to be handled civilly.
"This case is exceptionally cleared'' Waddell wrote in her report, noting the complainant refuses to cooperate with the investigation or even report a crime.
Randall Vogt, a Pearl District attorney specialized in sexual misconduct cases, said he represented the masseuse in 2006 after she claimed Vice-President Al Gore sexually attacked her during a massage.
He declined to identify the woman and said they had not been in touch since her original claim was investigated by Portland Police.
"That file was closed and put to bed and forgotten," Vogt said. "She and I parted on friendly terms as best I can recall."
Vogt said he was not aware that his former client reactivated her claims against Gore last year, prompting police to reinvestigate the allegations.
There's no evidence a civil suit had been filed.
In January 2009, the woman returned to Portland police and said she wanted to give a statement. Detective Molly Daul and a victim advocate from the sexual assault unit met with the woman. She reported that she was repeatedly subjected to unwanted sexual touching while in his presence.
She reported she still had clothes that she had worn during the encounter, but detectives never collected them as evidecne "because they did not feel there was any evidentiary value to the clothing" given the description of what she said had occurred.
After interviewing the woman, the Police Bureau provided additional counseling services through its victim advocate program. The case was not investigated further "because detectives concluded there was insufficient evidence to support the allegations.
In June 2010, the woman called police, asked for a copy of her statement, and asked if she could edit it. She also advised the bureau she was going to take the case to the media.
In 2007 or 2008, then Portland Tribune reporter Nick Budnick made a public records request for the Portland police report, obtained it but the newspaper did not run a story.
Statute of limitations for third-degree sex abuse, which is the classification Portland police gave to the complaint in 2006 and 2007, is four years after the commission of the crime.
However, if the accused is not an inhabitant or usually resident in the state, then the statute of limitations is extended for a maximum of three years. So in this case, the statute of limitations would not run out until 2013.
Original Portland Police Bureau report