Strauss-Kahn accuser 'traumatised by New York assault'
- 18 May 2011
- From the section Business
The woman who says she was sexually assaulted by International Monetary Fund chief Dominique Strauss-Kahn is living through an "extraordinary" trauma, her lawyer has said.
He said the woman, a 32-year-old hotel maid, was now in hiding and felt "alone in the world".
The alleged assault happened at New York's luxury Sofitel hotel on 14 May.
Mr Strauss-Kahn - who denies the claims - has been put on suicide watch in the city's infamous Rikers Island prison.
As a precaution, guards are required to check on him every 15 to 30 minutes.
The 62-year-old faces seven charges and could be sentenced to up to 25 years in jail.
The defence offered to post $1m (£617,000) bail, with Mr Strauss-Kahn to stay at his daughter's address in New York until the next hearing on Friday. However, a New York judge rejected the application.
Mr Strauss-Kahn, who had been seen as a favourite in France's 2012 presidential elections, is also facing growing pressure to step down as head of the IMF.
US Treasury Secretary Timothy Geithner said on Tuesday that Mr Strauss-Kahn was "obviously not in a position to run" the organisation after his arrest. Mr Geithner added that the IMF's 24-member executive board should formally designate an interim head.
The IMF says it has been briefed on the charges against its managing director and will "continue to monitor developments".
In France, meanwhile, leaders of Mr Strauss-Kahn's Socialist Party met in Paris and said they objected to the broadcasting of "humiliating" images of the IMF chief in handcuffs.
The alleged victim is an immigrant from the West African nation of Guinea, her lawyer Jeffrey Shapiro said on Tuesday.
He said the woman - who has not been named - arrived to the US seven years ago and was living with her teenage daughter.
Mr Shapiro said her story of being assaulted by Mr Strauss-Kahn in the hotel suite near Times Square was "consistent" because she was telling the truth.
"There is no way in which there is any aspect of this event which could be construed consensual in any manner. This is nothing other than a physical, sexual assault by this man on this young woman."
The lawyer added: "It's not just my opinion that this woman is honest. The New York City Police Department (NYPD) reached the same conclusion. This is a woman with no agenda."
Mr Shapiro also said that his client only became aware of who Mr Strauss-Kahn was after the police were called.
The charges relate to an alleged assault at the Sofitel hotel, which is located in the heart of New York.
According to the NYPD, the maid told officers that when she entered his suite on Saturday afternoon, Mr Strauss-Kahn emerged from the bathroom naked, chased her and sexually assaulted her.
The woman was able to break free and alert the authorities, a NYPD spokesman added.
Later on Saturday, Mr Strauss-Kahn was detained on board an Air France flight at New York's John F Kennedy airport minutes before take-off.
The IMF chief underwent medical examinations on Sunday. Police were looking for scratches or any other evidence of his alleged assault.
He was later charged with a "criminal sexual act, unlawful imprisonment and attempted rape". Police say the maid formally identified him in a line-up.
Until he was arrested, Mr Strauss-Kahn was considered a favourite to become the Socialist candidate for the French presidency next year.
Opinion polls gave him a good chance of defeating President Nicolas Sarkozy.
Socialist Party president Martine Aubry described his arrest as a "thunderbolt" but called for Mr Strauss-Kahn to be presumed innocent.
Mr Strauss-Kahn's wife, French TV personality Anne Sinclair, has also protested his innocence.
Meanwhile, another allegation against Mr Strauss-Kahn has emerged. A French writer says she may file a complaint for an alleged sexual assault in 2002.
Tristane Banon, 31, says Mr Strauss-Kahn tried to rape her when she went to interview him for a book she was writing.
"We're planning to make a complaint," Ms Banon's lawyer told AFP news agency. Mr Strauss-Kahn's lawyers have so far not responded to the allegation.