I've read the reports about the licensed massage therapist who reportedly sold her story to The National Enquirer that Al Gore sexually assaulted her during a hotel room massage in Oct. of 2006, and listened to her report to the Portland, Oregon, detectives given in 2009.
I have no way of knowing what really happened in the room, but one thing I do know. According to her own account, the therapist, Molly Haggerty, didn't follow what is usually standard procedure for dealing with inappropriate behavior or sexual advances.
Massage therapists have told me that in-room massage can be a bit tricky, because you're never quite sure what the client's expectations are. You have to be alert to the wrong cues, aware of your own welfare, and on your most professional behavior. If the client does something inappropriate, the therapist explains it's a therapeutic massage and if the unwanted behavior continues, he or she will have to terminate the session. PERIOD.
That usually takes care of anyone wanting to see if there's any possibility of "extras." Swiftly defusing or addressing sexual forays during a therapeutic massage is important anywhere, but it's especially critical in the in-room hotel setting, where the therapist is literally in the client's "territory."
Hagerty describes a pattern that from the beginning signals a desire for sexual contact -- the client dimming the lights as she set up, asking for "adductor" (inner thigh) and abdominal work, moaning, grinding and telling her to go lower. When she doesn't do it he gets angry and says he's not getting what he wants.
So does she tell him, "look it's not that kind of massage, and if that's what you want, we have to terminate the session"? No. She says, IN HER OWN WORDS, "Show me what you want me to do." And then she's shocked when he grabs her right hand and angrily shoves it under the sheet. She responds by telling him it's "inappropriate massage technique" and would wake him up, and tries some acupressure points to make him drowsy.
Well, it goes on from there....alleged groping, forced kisses, more "gorey" details than I care to go into. On the one hand it doesn't sound like she's making it up (though I tend to be trusting because I'm such a bad liar.) But I'm also wondering "If this happened, why didn't you put him on notice right at the start...and get out of there?". Just by staying, you're giving mixed signals.
She says she didn't terminate the session because she was afraid is she ran out she would be tazed by his security team!! He was big and angry and she was afraid she would be raped. She was afraid her reputation as a massage therapist and her on-call business at local hotels would be destroyed.
I can see how someone could be intimidated by a famous person, but it seems like an experienced massage therapist (12 years at the time of her report) would have solid tools for handling unwanted advances. It still all seems a bit strange -- even the bill -- $540, according to National Enquirer. That's high for an on-call hotel massage.
Anyone else -- especially massage therapists -- have any thought?