In a police report obtained by the Daily Beast on Friday the chairman of World Wrestling Entertainment, Vince McMahon, is accused of sexually assaulting a tanning salon worker in Boca Raton, Fla., in January 2006. McMahon denied the charges and any wrongdoing through his lawyers in 2006.
The Daily Beast report was seemingly timed to correspond with McMahon’s announcement of relaunching of the XFL sports league. In particular, McMahon’s declaration that “the quality of the human being is very important. Just as important as the quality of the player.” To play in his football league, he continued, “you want someone who does not have any criminality whatsoever associated with them. Even if you have a DUI, you will not play in the XFL.”
The report alleges the woman, who was 22 at the time, was groped by the then-60-year-old.
Police felt there was enough probable cause to arrest McMahon and charge him with sexual battery. However, Florida prosecutors said there wasn’t enough evidence to convince a jury beyond a reasonable doubt of his guilt.
On the day of the alleged assault, McMahon walked into Tanzabar, a tanning salon where the woman in question was working on a Saturday at 5 p.m. Before initiating his 20-minute tanning session, he reportedly proceeded to ask her to take a picture of him so he could send it to his girlfriend in New York. McMahon has been married to Linda McMahon since 1966.
When she snapped the requested photo, he began showing her nude and seminude photographs of himself, according to the police report. She condemned him for his inappropriate behavior.
The report shows that after his tanning session was over, she then went to clean another tanning bed. But McMahon allegedly followed her into the room and shut the door behind him.
McMahon then grabbed her and tried to kiss her, she claimed, touching her waist and butt. She told police she tried to push him away by putting her hands on McMahon’s chest. She alleged that McMahon kept groping her, and that he tried to lift up her button-down shirt while rubbing her breasts with the back side of his arms. She managed to flee the room, she said.
According to the police report, he then told her that “he was only trying to have some fun.” He then allegedly went to his car and waited in the parking lot for 20 minutes.
The tanning salon worker broke down and went to a nearby pizzeria for help, the report said. She also said she called the tanning salon manager, Caroline Clear. When Clear arrived and saw the man sitting in the car, that’s when the police phone call was made.
The accuser and another Tanzabar customer were unable to identify the groper in a police photo lineup, the police report shows. She initially did not press charges on the advice of Clear, but after speaking to her parents about the incident, the woman told police she had changed her mind.
At the time, McMahon’s lawyer sent police a letter denying any wrongdoing.
The police report, which redacts the victim’s name, states that “___ delayed reporting the incident after speaking to her store managers and owners. The managers and owners did not want ____ to report to the incident to the police. ____ advised her parents of the incident and after speaking to them felt that the incident should be reported to the police. ____ does want to prosecute.”
The report obtained by the Daily Beast concludes: “There is probable cause to believe that Vincent McMahon did actually and intentionally touch against the will of ____, contrary to Florida Statute 784.03 (1).”
Florida prosecutors went against the advice of police and declined to press sexual battery charges against the XFL magnate, claiming a jury would have “reason beyond a doubt.”
Mike Edmondson, a spokesperson for the Palm Beach County State Attorney’s Office, said allegations like the one made against McMahon are often difficult to prosecute because of a lack of witnesses and physical evidence.
News reports from the time offered some countering views from the day of the incident. “He was nothing but a gentleman. He shook my hand three times,” a woman named Kelly McMahon (no relation to Vince McMahon) told reporters from the Chicago Sun-Sentinel. “He showed no signs of coming on to [the employee]. He was talking to me. She was trying to interrupt our conversation.”
There were no video surveillance cameras at Tanzabar.
“A misdemeanor that is not done in the presence of a law enforcement officer in Florida generally is not a prosecutable case unless there is a independent witnesses and or physical evidence as in photos — that kind of thing,” he said.
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