Florida prosecutors went against the advice of police and declined to press sexual battery charges against World Wrestling Entertainment owner and CEO Vince McMahon in 2006, it was revealed on Friday.
McMahon was accused in January of that year of sexually assaulting a young woman at a tanning salon in Boca Raton.
Although police felt there was probable cause to arrest McMahon and charge him for battery, Florida prosecutors felt there wasn’t enough evidence that would convince a jury beyond a reasonable doubt of his guilt.
The police report was obtained by The Daily Beast.
McMahon vehemently denied the allegation at the time.
Florida prosecutors went against the advice of police and declined to press sexual battery charges against World Wrestling Entertainment owner and CEO Vince McMahon in 2006, it was revealed on Friday. McMahon is seen above in Las Vegas in 2014
The woman in question worked at the tanning salon where the alleged incident took place.
Just 22 years old at the time, she went to the police the same day of her alleged encounter with McMahon.
She told police that McMahon had walked into Tanzabar tanning salon at around 5pm on a Saturday in January 2006.
McMahon, who was 60 years old at the time, bought 20 minutes of tanning in one of the salon’s beds.
Before he got on the bed and started to tan, McMahon asked the woman to snap a photo of him with his phone so that he could send it to his girlfriend in New York, she told police.
McMahon was married at the time – as he is now – to Linda McMahon. The couple is seen above in New York in 2013
Linda McMahon was picked by President Donald Trump to head the Small Business Administration. She and Trump are seen above at the White House in March 2017
McMahon was married at the time – as he is now – to Linda McMahon, who was picked by President Donald Trump to head the Small Business Administration.
When the woman handed back the phone to McMahon, he started to show her nude and semi-nude photos of himself, she told police.
The woman then told McMahon that his behaviour was inappropriate, according to the police report.
McMahon climbed into the bed and tanned for the allotted 20 minutes.
After he was finished, he talked with another employee of the salon and a customer.
The woman then went into another room to clean a tanning bed. She told police that McMahon followed her into the room and shut the door.
She then alleged that McMahon grabbed her and tried to kiss her. She told police she responded by putting her hands on McMahon’s chest in an attempt to push him away.
She claimed that McMahon kept groping her. He allegedly touched her waist and butt.
McMahon is also alleged to have tried to lift up her button-down shirt while rubbing her breasts with the back side of his arms.
McMahon managed to pull her shirt up a few inches above her waist, but she pushed him away and fled the room, according to the police report.
He then told her that ‘he was only trying to have some fun,’ according to the report.
McMahon has denied any wrongdoing
McMahon then left the salon and got into his Hummer, which was parked close by.
She told police he waited in the car for 20 minutes.
The woman then broke down in tears and walked in to a nearby pizzeria to get help.
She called her boss at the time, Caroline Clear, who was manager of Tanzabar.
Clear told police that the woman was crying on the phone as she recalled how an ‘older gentleman followed me into a room and tried to kiss me.’
Clear urged the woman not to call the police. She said she would drive to the salon.
When Clear arrived, she saw a man sitting in a black Hummer in the parking lot and an employee of the pizzeria in the salon.
Police said that while the employee and another salon customer were able to identify McMahon out of a photo lineup, the accuser wasn’t able to definitively say it was him.
Clear told The Daily Beast that she did not remember specifics from that day.
She said her manager’s position was a part-time job she had while she was in college.
At the time, McMahon’s lawyer sent police a letter denying any wrongdoing.
According to the police report, the accuser initially followed Clear’s advice and did not file a complaint.
But after a conversation with her parents, the woman changed her mind and reported the incident.
She told police she wanted to press charges against McMahon.
‘There is probable cause to believe that Vincent McMahon did actually and intentionally touch against the will of [the accuser], contrary to Florida Statute 784.03 (1),’ according to the police report.
But in order to obtain an arrest warrant, prosecutors needed to be convinced they had enough evidence for a conviction.
‘The filing standard for the state is above and beyond a reasonable doubt,’ Mike Edmondson, a spokesperson for the Palm Beach County State Attorney’s Office said.
‘Prosecutors have to file at a higher standard, which is proof above a reasonable doubt. It’s a much different standard than probable cause.’
Because these cases are difficult to prosecute, there needed to be corroborating evidence like surveillance videos or witness accounts in order to convince authorities to proceed with an indictment.
‘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,’ Edmondson said.