3 reasons to doubt the Al Gore sex assault story

A Portland (Oregon) masseuse has accused the former V.P. of unwanted sexual contact

Topics: Al Gore, War Room,

3 reasons to doubt the Al Gore sex assault storyFILE - In this Sept. 16, 2007 file photo, former Vice President Al Gore and his wife, Tipper Gore arrive for the 59th Primetime Emmy Awards at the Shrine Auditorium in Los Angeles. Former Vice President Al Gore and his wife, Tipper, are separating after 40 years of marriage. (AP Photo/Chris Carlson, File)(Credit: AP)

Who knows what, exactly, to make of the news that Al Gore has been accused by an Oregon masseuse of making repeated, unwanted sexual contact with her back in 2006?

Early on Wednesday, the National Enquirer reported that the the masseuse had provided an account to Portland police of a hotel room encounter with Gore in October ’06.  Apparently, Portland police were first made aware of her accusations back in late ’06 by the woman’s attorney. However, she declined to come forward herself or to press charges. But then, last year, she did go to police, providing them with a graphic account of the alleged incident. Copies of a police report from early ’07 and of the woman’s 2009 statement have now been made public.

For all we know right now, there might be validity to her claims. Still, three reasons to be skeptical jump out:

1) The Portland police declined to investigate the woman’s claims any further after she made her statement, citing a lack of evidence.

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2) The allegations were apparently known two years ago to at least one Portland media outlet — the Portland Tribune, a weekly paper that declined to report on them. The paper’s editor tells Ben Smith that the allegations didn’t meet the “test points” that the paper uses to determine whether a story is likely to be true.

3) We have seen plenty of cases of baseless (if vivid) sexual allegations against celebrities before. Tucker Carlson was once accused of rape by a woman he’d never met, for instance. Something similar happened with magician David Copperfield last year, too. (Plenty of celebrities have been guilty of sex crimes, too, of course.)

Gore has yet to make any public statement on the matter.

Steve Kornacki
Steve Kornacki writes about politics for Salon. Reach him by email at SKornacki@salon.com and follow him on Twitter @SteveKornacki

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