Oregon DA won’t charge Gore over masseuse allegations, says accuser has ‘credibility issues’By William Mccall, AP
Saturday, July 31, 2010
Gore will not be charged over masseuse allegations
PORTLAND, Ore. — The case of the Nobel Peace Prize winner and the massage therapist has been closed.
Former Vice President Al Gore was cleared Friday of allegations he groped and assaulted a masseuse in a luxury Portland hotel room in 2006.
A story in a tabloid newspaper led to a monthlong investigation that found no basis for prosecution on claims by Molly Hagerty, who had waited more than two years before giving detectives a statement they initially concluded “did not merit further inquiry.”
Gore aides welcomed the news.
“Mr. Gore unequivocally and emphatically denied this accusation when he first learned of its existence three years ago,” spokeswoman Kalee Kreider said in a statement. “He respects and appreciates the thorough and professional work of the Portland authorities and is pleased that this matter has now been resolved.”
Multnomah County District Attorney Michael Schrunk announced the case was closed Friday with the release of a memo that cited “contradictory evidence, conflicting witness statements, credibility issues, lack of forensic evidence and denials by Mr. Gore.”
Senior Deputy District Attorney Don Rees said in his memo that Hagerty and her attorneys were uncooperative, witnesses could not remember anything unusual, Hagerty failed a polygraph examination and she would not say whether she was paid by a tabloid newspaper for her story.
Hagerty had claimed unwanted sexual contact by Gore on Oct. 24, 2006, at the Hotel Lucia in downtown Portland, including an “open-mouthed kiss, an inescapable embrace” and the fear she was “on the brink of being forcibly raped.”
Gore and his attorneys met with Portland detectives in San Francisco on July 22, telling them he remembered almost nothing about Hagerty and was “completely baffled” by her statements, according to the memo.
There were questions about Hagerty’s claims from the beginning.
She first contacted police in 2006 through an attorney, claiming “unwanted sexual contact” by Gore, but the attorney declined to discuss any details. Hagerty then failed to attend meetings scheduled three times with detectives, and the attorney finally said it would be handled as a civil complaint.
Nothing further was heard from Hagerty until January 2009, when she appeared at police headquarters to say she wanted to file a criminal complaint.
An interview with a detective resulted in a 67-page transcript describing the massage therapy session with Gore at the Hotel Lucia.
The memo noted that investigators determined the claims “did not merit further inquiry” and did not refer it to the district attorney’s office.
Hagerty requested a copy of the transcript of her interview with detectives last March and told police she intended to “take her story to the news media.”
Her claims were published in an online version of the National Enquirer on June 23, resulting in another investigation by Portland police. The story was published by the newspaper on July 5 and Hagerty was featured in the newspaper again on July 12 with photographs of her in what appears to be a law office.
She had also given her story to the Portland Tribune, which said it thoroughly investigated her allegations — including interviewing her — only to determine it wasn’t responsible to move forward with a story.
It’s still unclear whether Hagerty sought compensation from the National Enquirer, and whether she received payment from any publication.
In a prepared statement, Kohel Haver, a media and entertainment lawyer representing Hagerty, said she was disappointed the district attorney declined to prosecute “but understands their decision.”
Haver declined to talk about whether the Enquirer paid Hagerty and said he does not know where she is, adding that “it’s been quite traumatic for her.”
He said no lawsuit was expected, while the prosecutor’s memo indicated another attorney for Hagerty, Judy Snyder, “states there is no viable civil claim due to the lapse of time.”
Rees noted in his memo that refusal by Hagerty and her attorneys to answer questions about whether she was paid, and that given “the Enquirer’s documented practice of paying for stories, it is logical to assume Ms. Hagerty has been compensated.”
The Associated Press does not generally identify people who say they are victims of sex crimes, but Hagerty had made her identity public by giving an interview to the National Enquirer.
Associated Press Writer Tim Fought contributed to this story.