French Writer Files Attempted Rape Complaint Against Strauss-Kahn

Posted July 5th, 2011 at 2:35 pm (UTC-5)
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A lawyer for a French author says he has filed a criminal complaint against former International Monetary Fund chief Dominique Strauss-Kahn alleging that he tried to rape her in 2003.

Attorney David Koubbi said he filed the complaint Tuesday with the Paris prosecutor's office, accusing Strauss-Kahn of the attempted assault on writer Tristane Banon while she was interviewing him in a Paris apartment.

Banon, now 32, told the French news magazine L'Express that she was filing the complaint because she was tired of hearing that she must be lying about the alleged attack because she had not pressed charges eight years ago. She said she did not file a claim against Strauss-Kahn earlier because it is “very difficult” for any woman to do so and was led to believe that nothing would come of it.

She has accused Strauss-Kahn of trying to force himself on her, and that he ripped off her jeans and bra.

Lawyers for Strauss-Kahn said earlier this week they would file a slander suit against Banon. Strauss-Kahn has called her account “imaginary.”

The attempted rape allegation in France against Strauss-Kahn comes as sexual assault charges against him in the United States are teetering on the brink of collapse. He was released from house arrest in New York last week after prosecutors said there were questions about the credibility of the hotel maid who in May accused him of sexual assault.

The charges are still pending against him, with another court date set for July 18. He is free to travel within the United States, but prosecutors have retained his passport, keeping him from returning home to France.

He has denied the maid's allegations. Strauss-Kahn, once deemed the Socialist frontrunner to take on French President Nicolas Sarkozy in next year's election, resigned as the IMF chief to fight the New York allegations.

Under French law, a prosecutor can consider Banon's complaint to determine if there is enough evidence to support her claim. If so, a lengthier investigation would be conducted and eventually the case could be brought before a judge.

There is a three-year statute of limitations on sexual assault charges in France, but 10 years for attempted rape allegations.

Banon first spoke about her encounter with Strauss-Kahn in 2007, but did not press charges after her mother said it would damage her career. Her mother has since said she regrets giving her daughter that advice.

The writer changed her mind about pursuing a complaint against Strauss-Kahn after the New York case became public.