Police reopen inquiry into Gore's 'assault' on masseuse

Al Gore, the former US vice-president, has welcomed a decision by police in Portland to reopen an investigation into a massage therapist's allegations that he groped her at a hotel four years ago, according to his a spokeswoman.

Kalee Kreider said that the Nobel Peace Prize laureate "unequivocally and emphatically" denied making unwanted sexual advances and that "further investigation into this matter will only benefit Mr Gore".

It is alleged that Mr Gore made unwanted sexual advances during a massage appointment on 24 October, 2006, at the downtown Hotel Lucia, where he was reportedly registered as "Mr Stone". He was in Portland to deliver a speech on climate change.

According to transcripts of the masseuse's interview with police in 2009, she described the allegations at length. She said Mr Gore groped, kissed and pinned her down on a bed. She told him he was acting like a "crazed sex poodle."

After the alleged incident, the woman said she was dissuaded from contacting the police by liberal friends of hers, whom she refers to as "the Birkenstock tribe". "It's like being the ultimate traitor," the woman said. One friend "was basically asking me to just suck it up, otherwise the world's going to be destroyed from global warming".

Mr Gore and his wife Tipper announced in an email to friends last month that they were separating. The man who served as vice-president under President Bill Clinton in the 1990s, lost the 2000 presidential election to George W. Bush. After that, Mr Gore turned his attention to climate change, undertaking a worldwide campaign which led in 2007 to a Nobel Peace Prize and an Oscar for the documentary An Inconvenient Truth.

Portland police did not say why they were reopening the case. "It's now an open investigation and I can't comment," a police spokeswoman said.