Portland, Oregon, police have decided to reopen the investigation into a 54-year-old masseuse's allegations that former Vice President Al Gore sexually assaulted her in his hotel room in 2006.
"The Portland Police Bureau has made the decision to re-open the case regarding the allegations brought forward against Mr. Al Gore," a statement posted on the Portland Police Bureau's website this evening said.
"Consistent with our policy regarding open investigations, the Police Bureau will not be commenting on any additional specifics regarding this case at this time," it said.
A family spokeswoman said today that the Gores welcomed the new investigation.
"Further investigation into this matter will only benefit Mr. Gore," Kalee Kreider 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 allegations surfaced last week, when the National Enquirer reported on the story, but on June 23 authorities in Portland said they had investigated the woman's complaints and that the case was closed for insufficient evidence.
The Multnomah County district attorney said the woman, who was not identified by name, had refused to cooperate with police after her attorney made the initial complaint six weeks after the alleged incident.
A spokesperson for the former vice president said then that the family had no comment on the case.
According to a 73-page "Confidential Special Report" made public by authorities on June 23, the "licensed massage therapist" stated she was summoned to a suite at the upscale Lucia Hotel at the request of a guest, where "during the course of this massage session Al Gore did sexually assault me in his room."
In a detailed statement given to police more than two years after the alleged incident the woman described her surprise at arriving for the VIP massage appointment to find Al Gore drinking beer and opening his arms in a hug saying "Call Me Al."
But she said her VIP client later turned "angry and threatening" when she resisted Gore's efforts to force her hand to his inner thigh and lower abdominal area during the massage and then attempted to rip her clothes as she struggled against him, she told police.
Gore "flipped me flat on my back and threw his whole body face down over atop me pinning me down and outweighing me by quite a bit," injuring her back and legs, she claimed. "He kept trying to have sex with me," said the woman, who described the situation as "frightening."
According to the report, the woman said Gore booked the appointment using the pseudonym "Mr. Stone."
In a statement accompanying the report, Portland Police said that after initially refusing to cooperate in early 2007, the masseuse returned in 2009, finally offering to be interviewed by investigators, bringing a prepared statement and the clothes she said she had worn that night as evidence.
Police said investigators did not collect the clothes she offered at that time because "they did not feel there was any evidentiary value" to them, and the case was "not investigated further because detectives concluded there was insufficient evidence to support the allegations."
There was no indication in the report the police ever interviewed Gore about the allegations.
The district attorney's office said it only learned on June 23 of the follow-up 2009 investigation when it received the 73-page report released to the media.
"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," said the district attorney's office.
The allegations were first reported by the National Enquirer, which frequently pays news subjects for their first-hand stories.
The Portland Tribune said it had investigated the allegations in 2007 after receiving the police report through a public records request but chose not to publish a story because it said attorneys for the former vice president categorically denied the charges.