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Gore accused in sex assault in 2006

Authorities in Portland, Ore., investigated in late 2006 and early 2007 whether former Vice President Al Gore sexually assaulted a masseuse while visiting that city, but the matter was dropped for lack of evidence, officials said Wednesday.

The woman who alleged the assault declined through her lawyer to be interviewed by police and did not want officers to pursue the matter, the Multnomah County district attorney's office said.

The lawyer carried the allegation to the Portland Police Bureau in December 2006, about two months after Gore visited Portland to give a speech on climate change and to attend a fundraiser for the Democratic governor of Oregon.

Gore's attorneys strongly denied the accusation, calling it "completely false," when asked about it by the Portland Tribune in 2007 and 2008. The Tribune chose not to publish a story on the matter; the newspaper reported on its Web site Wednesday that it made that decision, in part, because of the woman's reluctance to be named.

Portland police said the woman met with officers in January 2009 and restated the allegation herself, saying that she "was repeatedly subjected to unwanted sexual touching." She said she had kept clothing from the incident as evidence and offered it to detectives, who declined to take it. Police said Wednesday they concluded after the 2009 interview that there was insufficient evidence to proceed with a sex crimes investigation.

The National Enquirer first brought the accusation to light Wednesday; Gore spokeswoman Kalee Kreider declined to comment.

The Police Department said in its statement that it typically doesn't discuss sex-crimes investigations. But it made an exception in this case, the department said, "because of the high-profile nature of this case and the fact that the woman involved provided reports to a media outlet."

This month, Gore and his wife, Tipper, unexpectedly announced they were separating after 40 years of marriage.

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