The National Enquirer could be breaking open another sex scandal involving a former top Democratic presidential candidate.
On the heels of uncovering an affair by John Edwards, the weekly tabloid has been reporting on allegations that former Vice President Al Gore made "unwanted sexual contact" with a Portland massage therapist.
A healthy dose of skepticism greeted the claim made in last week's edition. The accuser waited more than two years to report the 2006 incident to authorities, who didn't feel they received enough information to press charges. A police report seemed to clear Gore, stating, "This case is exceptionally cleared as (the woman) refuses to cooperate with the investigation or even report a crime."
The simmering story could erupt in a full boil, as Radar Online has revealed that the previously anonymous masseuse will allow herself to be identified as Molly Hagerty in this week's National Enquirer:
She has now stepped forward and is putting her name to the accusations against Gore. "Al Gore is a pervert and sexual predator. He's not what people think he is. He's a sick man," she tells the Enquirer.
Radar also says that the article will include an interview with a friend of Hagerty who spoke with her shortly before and after the alleged incident.
Last week, National Enquirer executive editor Barry Levine told the Washington Post that they did not pay the accuser even though she asked for $1 million. Asked whether he had concerns about the woman's story, Levin "said he had former police officers examine the reports to make sure they weren't a 'forgery' and felt 'vindicated' Thursday when Portland authorities confirmed the authenticity of the documents."
An attorney representing the woman contacted police in late 2006, said Multnomah County District Attorney Michael Schrunk. Schrunk said the woman - who has not been identified - refused to be interviewed by detectives and did not want the investigation to proceed.
The woman, however, contacted police in January 2009 and gave a statement, saying Gore tried to have sex with her during an appointment at the upscale downtown Hotel Lucia, where Gore was reportedly registered as "Mr. Stone."
A police report prepared in 2007 said the alleged incident occurred Oct. 24, 2006. Gore was in Portland to deliver a speech on climate change.
The case reopened in January 2009. Detectives interviewed the woman but determined there was insufficient evidence to support the allegations, Portland police said in a news release.
In a transcript of the interview released by police, the massage therapist said she had an appointment with "Mr. Stone" at 10:30 p.m. but the hotel's front desk told her he wouldn't be available until 11 p.m. When she knocked on the door, Al Gore opened it, and when she asked what she should call him, he replied to "Call me Al," the woman told police.
She said she was doing requested abdominal work on Gore when he started to moan and demanded she go lower.
"I was shocked, and I did not massage beyond what is considered a safe, nonsexual area of the abdomen," she said. "He further insisted and acted angry, becoming verbally sharp and loud.
"I went into much deeper shock as I realized it appeared he was demanding sexual favors or sexual behaviors."
The woman said Gore grabbed her hand and shoved it toward his pubic area. She alleged he later tried to have sex with her and began caressing her before she squirmed out of his grasp.
"I did not immediately call the police as I feared being made into a public spectacle and my reputation being destroyed," she said. "I was not sure what to tell them and was concerned my story would not be believed since there was no DNA evidence from a completed act of rape. I did not even know what to call what had happened to me."
Detective Mary Wheat, a Portland police spokeswoman, said the woman contacted detectives this month and asked for a copy of her statement. The woman, according to Wheat, said she planned to take her case to the media.