IMF head accused of sexual assault denied bail
The head of the International Monetary Fund (IMF) was ordered to jail without bail during his arraignment in Manhattan today for the alleged sexual assault of a Bronx woman.
According to police, Dominique Strauss-Kahn, 62, was picked out of a lineup by a woman who was his hotel maid at the Sofitel New York. He was taken to Kings County Hospital for DNA testing in the case late last night, which his lawyer, William Taylor, said had delayed the court appearance until today.
The 32-year-old maid told authorities that when she entered his spacious, $3,000-a-night suite early Saturday afternoon, she thought it was unoccupied. Instead, Strauss-Kahn emerged from the bathroom naked, chased her down a hallway and pulled her into a bedroom, where he sexually assaulted her, NYPD spokesman Paul J. Browne said.
The maid was taken by police to a hospital and was treated for minor injuries. Stacy Royal, a spokeswoman for Sofitel, said the hotel's staff was cooperating in the investigation and that the maid "has been a satisfactory employee of the hotel for the past three years."
The NYPD said Strauss-Kahn was gone by the time detectives arrived at the hotel and had left his cell phone behind. He was found and arrested at John F. Kennedy International Airport on charges of attempted rape, a criminal sex act, attempted rape, unlawful imprisonment and forcible touching. The top count is punishable by five to 25 years in prison.
Strauss-Kahn, a member of France's Socialist party, was widely considered the strongest potential challenger next year to President Nicolas Sarkozy. Experts say that unless the charges are quickly dropped, they could destroy his chances of a presidential run.
Prosecutors say they are investigating at least one other similar allegation against Strauss-Kahn. The lawyer for a 31-year-old French novelist said she was likely to file a criminal complaint accusing Strauss-Kahn for allegedly sexually assaulting her nine years ago. A rival lawmaker also alleged, without offering evidence, that Strauss-Kahn had victimized several maids during past stays at the Sofitel.
Strauss-Kahn took over as head of the IMF in Nov. 2007. The 187-nation lending agency provides help in the form of emergency loans for countries facing severe financial problems.
AP wires contributed to this report