Jim Kouri
Al Gore accusation: investigation of sexual assault cases
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By Jim Kouri
July 2, 2010

Former U.S. Vice President Al Gore is being accused of attempting to rape a masseuse at the Hotel Lucia in Portland, Oregon. The Nobel Peace Prize winner "unequivocally' denied the allegations by the woman.

"Mr. Gore unequivocally and emphatically denied this accusation when he first learned of its existence three years ago," spokeswoman Kalee Kreider said in a statement Thursday. "He stands by that denial."

The Portland Police Department did not indicate why it was reopening the investigation. The sexual assault allegedly occurred in 2006, according to the masseuse. However, the masseuse didn't press charges at the time, although she did talk to the police several weeks after the incident occurred, according to Fox News Channel.

The National Enquirer broke this latest Gore story and claims that police records revealed that woman said Gore allegedly "caressed her back, buttocks, and breasts, and shoved her hand down to his pubic region." The Enquirer is credited with breaking the John Edwards sex scandal involving a mistress and "love-child."

This Enquirer story has the complainant saying, "He threw himself on top of her...pleading for the release of his second charka — a euphemism for sexual activity." The masseuse also claims that Gore "rubbed himself against my crotch saying "you know you want to do it."

The masseuse claims that she kept the pants she was wearing the night of the alleged attack and that there is biological material on them that may contain Al Gore's DNA. Oregon Live reports that she also saved a candy wrapper he had touched.

Oregon Live also reports that the masseuse officially made a police complaint around two months after the alleged incident happened. However, she then missed three interviews with the police and later informed them she would not go through with a criminal case.

While few facts are known, there are many pundits and political strategists already speculating. "This brings back memories of the Clinton White House staff who called such incidents 'bimbo eruptions.' They also coined the term 'nuts and sluts' defense in order to destroy a complaining woman's credibility," said former NYPD detective Sid Franes.

SEXUAL ASSAULT INVESTIGATION

Rape, next to cold-blooded murder, is the most heinous of crimes. It is a vicious, brutal attack on women that leaves irreparable psychological scars long after the devastating experience. And, unfortunately, it is one of the most common crimes committed today, possibly numbering more than the offense of robbery.

The investigation of sex crimes case is extremely difficult and demanding, requiring not only technical expertise and experience, but also sensitivity towards the victim. The detective or prosecutor assigned to investigate should always remain cognizant of the fact that the entire criminal justice process, beginning with the initial police interview right through adjudication, poses an additional ordeal for the sex crime victim and her family and loved ones.

The trauma of sexual attack leaves the victim at once hurt — physically and emotionally — angry, anxious, fearful, vengeful, confused, hate-filled and distrustful. In many cases, the victim blames herself for the act, thinking she contributed to the crime. If she was returning home late from a party, she may tell herself she deserved what she got because of her carelessness late at night or early in the morning. The investigating officer(s) must reassure her that she did nothing wrong. The rapist or sex offender is the one who committed the crime.and the one deserving punishment to the fullest extent of the law.

In some cases, the investigators will find the victim to be uncooperative, even hostile the preliminary stages of the interview/preliminary report. Sensitivity and understanding of the psychology of rape and sexual assault are prerequisites to a successful sex crimes investigation.

Most big-city police departments have specialized units for sex crimes as do most prosecution offices. In New York City, for example, there are several sex crimes squads or units operating within all of NYC's five boroughs. In addition to the NYPD's specialized squads, the District Attorney's Office in each borough have assistant district attorneys assigned to a special sex crimes unit.

However, the vast majority of this nation's law-enforcement agencies do not possess that luxury. They must rely on all officers, sergeants, lieutenants, captains and, yes, even the police chief to possess a working knowledge of sex crimes investigation. Even a two or three man police agency should at least have a fundamental understanding of procedures to be followed in rape cases. It's more than likely that county or state police will be called and they will provide the experienced investigators.

The clothing worn by the victim at the time of the sex crime may offer a wealth of evidence and should be secured as soon as possible without embarrassing the victim. This clothing must be sent to the crime lab immediately in order to prevent tainting through a number of mishaps (you'd be surprised at how much evidence is lost or loses its value because of laxity on the part of the officers transporting the evidence to the lab).

At the lab the technicians will examine the clothing for blood, seminal stains, as well as hair and fibers that may lead to the identification of the rapist or confirm the victim's allegation against someone she knew prior to the crime.

The DNA identification process works best with seminal evidence, because of the abundance of nucleic acid (any of several complex acids found in all living cells i.e. DNA, RNA) found in male reproductive fluid.

Rape and sexual assault are ugly, demeaning crimes that have little regard for any social boundaries. The woman living in an exclusive Beverly Hills home and the woman living in a "crack" infested hovel share one dark and frightening reality — they are both potential rape victims.

© Jim Kouri

 

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Jim Kouri

Jim Kouri, CPP is currently fifth vice-president of the National Association of Chiefs of Police... (more)

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