[Guest post by Aaron Worthing; if you have tips, please send them here. Or by Twitter @AaronWorthing.]
Update: This just in via Cnn’s breaking news email service: “Judge denies bail to International Monetary Fund chief Dominique Strauss-Kahn in sexual assault case.” Which given his resources seems like a very obvious outcome–he is obviously a serious flight risk even if he wasn’t trying to flee the scene of the crime when he got on that plane.
Update (II): The Smoking Gun has the criminal complaint. It doesn’t add much.
So over the weekend Dominique Strauss-Kahn (who is a man), who was described by the New York Times as Managing Director of the IMF was arrested in NYC for sexual assault and related charges. Basically a maid accused him of fairly brutally trying to rape her and judging by this account he might have succeeded to a degree:
According to the law enforcement official, the woman entered Mr. Strauss-Kahn’s suite early Saturday afternoon by saying “housekeeping.” She heard no answer and believed that the suite was unoccupied. She left the door open behind her, as is hotel policy.
She went to the bedroom and a naked man rushed from the bathroom to the bedroom. She apologized, the law enforcement official said, and tried to leave.
But according to the official, the man chased her, grabbed her and shut the door, locking it. He then pulled her toward the bedroom, the official said, and tried to attack her there.
He dragged her to the bathroom, the official added, and forced her to perform oral sex. The police said the woman eventually escaped from the suite and reported the attack to other hotel personnel, who called 911.
The accounts suggest a very hasty exit from the hotel and it is pretty much verified that he was literally on a flight out of the country a few hours later when the police took him off the plane and arrested him.
I admit I resisted talking about the story because of a combination of factors. First by that account they were just accusations. While it is good to see the NYPD take these allegations very seriously, we can’t go overboard and reverse the presumption of innocence. Just because some men get away with rape—particularly if they are “important”—doesn’t’ mean all men accused of rape are guilty, even if they are “important.” And second, I didn’t see it has having significance beyond him. I did not think this necessarily reflected the IMF as a whole.
But then we learned a few other things.
For starters, he is also a leading contender for the socialist party’s nomination in France’s upcoming presidential election and has thrown what was considered an easy race into chaos. According to the Telegraph:
Mr Strauss-Kahn was predicted to beat Nicolas Sarkozy and all other contenders in the presidential election next April or May. He was expected to announce his candidacy in June and win the Socialist primary race in October.
However, his chances of taking the presidency now appear slim. While French voters are generally ambivalent about extra-marital affairs, the charge of sexual assault and attempted rape is taken altogether more seriously.
And there is another accuser, now:
A French writer who claims Dominique Strauss-Kahn sexually assaulted her nine years ago is to file an official complaint, her lawyer has announced.
Tristane Banon previously described the attack, which happened when she was in her early 20s, in a television programme in 2007, when she called Strauss-Kahn, whose name was bleeped out, a “rutting chimpanzee.”
She consulted a lawyer at the time, but was persuaded not to take action by her mother, a regional councillor in the Socialist party and friend of the Strauss-Kahn family. Banon is goddaughter to Strauss-Kahn’s second wife.
So even if there turns out to be an alibi—as is rumored very thinly to exist—for the current alleged assault, the result might be shaking out this old creepy behavior and perhaps others. Think of it like the fall of Tiger Woods. For all we know that initial incident might have been nothing more than “sleep driving” under the influence of sleep medication. But somehow that incident triggered an avalanche of suppressed news to come pouring out. The same might happen here.
And the other interesting thing to come out of this story was noted by the Economist:
LEAVE aside the details of the allegations against Dominique Strauss Kahn…. Just note that the New York Times states that he was staying in a $3,000 a night suite and was taking a first class flight to Paris. This is the IMF, the body that imposes austerity on indebted countries and is funded by global taxpayers. And this was the likely leading socialist candidate for the French presidency.
Now, it is might be the case that it is coming out of his own paycheck, but that still means that the man is paid so obscenely much that he is willing to drop $3K on a hotel room and wouldn’t dare fly coach. Well, either that or he gets these perks for free, which is just as bad. As the title of the post reads: “It makes you want to join the tea party.”
[Posted and authored by Aaron Worthing.]