Politician was like a 'chimpanzee in heat', says assault-claim writer
Published 17/05/2011 | 05:00
A 31-YEAR-OLD writer who claims Dominique Strauss-Kahn ripped off her bra and acted like a "chimpanzee on heat" nine years ago is considering filing a criminal complaint against the head of the International Monetary Fund.
Tristane Banon alleges that after the 2002 attack she was dissuaded from filing charges by her mother, a regional councillor in Mr Strauss-Kahn's Socialist party. She said the alleged incident took place when she went to interview Mr Strauss-Kahn, a former finance minister, in an apartment.
She gave a graphic account of the alleged attack in a television programme in 2007, which is currently posted on the internet. In a clip, Ms Banon, who was 22 at the time of the incident, tells a group of journalists and actors that she had requested a chat with Mr Strauss-Kahn for a book of interviews with leading French figures about the "biggest mistake you ever made", and arrived at a studio with little more than a bed in it.
She said he had insisted on holding her hand during the interview, then her arm and then made advances to her. There was no independent confirmation of her allegations.
"We ended up fighting. It finished really violently," the clip shows her saying. "We fought on the floor. It wasn't a case of a couple of slaps. I kicked him, he unhooked my bra, he tried to open my jeans," she said. "If he is capable of that, he could be capable of anything."
The politician acted, she claimed, like a "chimpanzee on heat". "I said the word 'rape' to scare him but it didn't seem to scare him much, which suggests he was used to it," she said. Under French law, sexual assault charges must be filed within three years but attempted rape charges can be brought up to 10 years after an alleged attack.
Ms Banon's lawyer said the charges laid against Mr Strauss-Kahn in New York had brought the 2002 incident back to his client. He said that she did not file charges earlier due to the "pressures" she faced over the alleged assault.
Anne Mansouret, Ms Banon's mother, said that she had advised her daughter against filing suit against Mr Strauss-Kahn, but now regrets her decision. (© Daily Telegraph, London)