tuesday, 11 december of 2012

Dominique Strauss-Kahn reaches settlement with maid over sexual assault case


Dominique Strauss-Kahn reaches settlement with maid over sexual assault case

In a bid to draw a line under the scandal that ruined his career and his marriage, Dominique Strauss-Kahn has reached a financial settlement with the hotel maid who accused him of sexually assaulting her.

The deal was announced at the State Supreme Court in the Bronx, New York, on Monday after a short hearing. Judge Douglas McKeon said that after lengthy negotiations in the civil suit brought by 33 year old Nafissatou Diallo, the parties had come to a mutually agreeable deal.

Miss Diallo, wearing a green silk blouse, black trousers and a head scarf, was in court for the proceedings but Mr Strauss-Kahn, who had to resign his post as head of the International Monetary Fund in the wake of the scandal, was absent.

The terms of the financial settlement are to be kept secret but a recent report in Le Monde estimated the payout at $6 million. That figure has been dismissed as wide of the mark by Mr Strauss-Kahn's lawyers.

The payout is another embarrassment for Mr Strauss-Kahn, who was once in the running for the French presidency, and means that Miss Diallo, an immigrant to the United States from Guinea, West Africa, is now a wealthy woman.

Outside the court, flanked by her lawyers, she smiled and said: "I just want to say I thank everyone who supported me all over the world. I thank everybody. I thank God." Her lawyer Kenneth Thompson described his client as a strong and courageous woman who never lost faith in the justice system. "With this resolution, she can now move on with her life," he said.

The dropping of the civil lawsuit means that no-one will ever really know what happened in May 2011 when Mr Strauss-Kahn encountered the maid in his luxury hotel suite at the Sofitel, New York.

Miss Diallo, a mother of one, told police that the 63-year-old Frenchman came out of the bathroom naked, assaulted her and forced her to have oral sex when she arrived to clean his room. She described it as a "violent and sadistic act."

Mr Strauss-Kahn, who was arrested on a plane at John F Kennedy airport hours after leaving the hotel, claimed that the act was consensual. He was taken to Riker's Island jail and charged with multiple offences including attempted rape, sexual abuse, criminal sexual act, unlawful imprisonment and forcible touching.

Those charges were later dropped after Manhattan prosecutors cited "inconsistencies" in the housekeeper's statements. Mr Strauss-Kahn was allowed to return to France.

Since returning to his home country, Mr Strauss-Kahn has faced a string of other sex allegations. He will hear on December 19 if he is to face further investigation into pimping charges arising from sex parties he and his associates attended with prostitutes.

As well as ruining his career, Mr Strauss-Kahn's downfall led to a separation from his wife, the art heiress Anne Sinclair. He has since acknowledged in a French television interview that the sordid hotel encounter was "a moral failure" he would regret his whole life.

He has recently made a comeback as a business consultant and speaker was spotted in Venice at the weekend with a new and younger girlfriend, Myriam Aouffir.

(Published by The Telegraph - December 10, 2012)

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