Monday 5 December 2016

'Guilty' but DSK can't be tried for sex assault

John Lichfield in Paris

Published 14/10/2011 | 05:00

FRENCH prosecutors said yesterday that Dominique Strauss-Kahn was guilty of a sexual assault on a young French writer in 2003 but cannot be tried because the offence is more than three years old.

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A complaint for the more serious crime of attempted rape, brought by Tristane Banon (32) was rejected because of a lack of evidence.

The rulings end all possibility of criminal charges against the former International Monetary Fund's managing director on both sides of the Atlantic.

But they brand the French politician, in effect, as a self-confessed sexual aggressor who cannot be tried because of a technicality.

Ms Banon, goddaughter of DSK's second wife, came forward in July when the IMF chief had already been accused of the attempted rape of a chambermaid in New York. The American charges were dropped in September.

The writer accused the former French finance minister (62) of behaving like a "chimpanzee in rut" and trying to rape her in Paris in February 2003. She said that he wrestled her to the ground and tried to undress and fondle her. Mr Strauss-Kahn said that the accusation was "imaginary" and brought a suit against Ms Banon for defamation.

But the Paris state prosecution service said that Mr Strauss-Kahn had "admitted" sexually assaulting Ms Banon when he was questioned by detectives last month.

Since a prosecution for sexual assault (a misdemeanour) has to be brought within three years under French law, the prosecution service said that no action would be taken.

Ms Banon's more serious accusation of "attempted rape" (a felony) can be prosecuted for up to 10 years. But the prosecution service said that it was dropping the rape investigation "for lack of sufficient elements of proof".

Humiliation

The statement continued: "Behaviour amounting to sexual aggression has been admitted.

"However, since the offence occurred in 2003, and was not revealed until 2011 ... the three- year statute of limitations on misdemeanours of this kind has been exceeded."

The prosecutors said the attempted kiss was sexual assault but that the rape accusation was a case of "one person's word against another".

The decisions are a relief and a humiliation for Mr Strauss-Kahn. He still faces possible civil action by the New York chambermaid, Nafissatou Diallou.

And the prosecution service said the man who denied ever forcing himself on women in a French TV interview last month, admitted that he behaved in a "sexual aggressive" way towards a woman nearly 30 years his junior. (© Independent News Service)

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