Sex assault inquiry into Strauss-Kahn case dropped
Paris: French prosecutors dropped an
investigation into former IMF chief Dominique Strauss-Kahn
today, saying they had prima facie evidence of sexual assault
but the case was too old to prosecute.
Tristane Banon, a 32-year-old author, claimed the
politician tried to rape her in 2003, but prosecutors said the
evidence suggested only sexual assault -- which has a shorter
statute of limitations -- rather than attempted rape.
"Even if a prosecution for attempted rape could not be
launched for lack of sufficient proof, facts that could be
qualified as sexual assault were recognised," the Paris
prosecutor's office said in a statement.
Under French law sexual assault is a lesser charge than
attempted rape and cannot be prosecuted if a complaint is made
more than three years after the alleged incident. The state
prosecutor has therefore halted its probe.
Banon had already said that if the prosecutor's office
refused to take up the case she would attempt to bring a
private prosecution, in which case an independent
investigating magistrate would have to reconsider the
Both Banon and Strauss-Kahn, a senior Socialist politician
30 years her senior and a friend of his accuser's family, have
been interviewed by police.
She claims he lured her to an unfurnished Paris flat on
the pretext of giving her an interview for a book she was
researching, then grappled with her "like a rutting
chimpanzee" while attempting to pull off her jeans.
Strauss-Kahn admitted to police that he had made "an
advance" on the young woman, but insisted he used no violence.
He has lodged a counter-suit for defamation and has
threatened to sue media which repeat the claims.
The former IMF director also still faces a civil suit in
New York, where another young woman, a hotel chamber maid,
claims he tried to rape her in May.
Strauss-Kahn was charged in a criminal case there, but New
York prosecutors abandoned that case amid doubts over the
woman's testimony. She is, however, pursuing a civil case for
damages, despite the accuser’s furious denials.