Update on the Strauss-Khan Issue: A Civil Lawsuit?

Wendy O. Osefo July 25, 2011

Update on the Strauss-Khan Issue: A Civil Lawsuit?

It has been two months since Dominique Strauss-Khan tendered his resignation as managing director of the International Monetary Fund. While news of Strauss-Khan has gradually been replaced by other headlines, the events that transpired between the former IMF managing director and his Guinean accuser still remain unclear.

On May 14, news reports began circulating that a 32-year old Guinean immigrant had identified Strauss-Khan as her assailant. The accuser states that she was sexually assaulted when she came to clean the hotel suit of the former managing director. Strauss-Khan who has admitted to having consensual sex with the accuser, has since been charged with sexually assaulting the Sofitel Hotel housekeeper French lawyer, Christine Lagarde has been named the new managing director of the International Monetary Fund.

In a recent turn of events, counsel for both parties have agreed to postpone the next hearing in the sexual assault case to August 1. This moves comes as credibility issues with the accuser begin to emerge. One of the main credibility issues of the accuser is that she altered her account of what she did after she was said to have been attacked. In one account she states that she cleaned a nearby room before reporting her attack to her supervisor, while in another account she told investigators that she waited in an area in the hallway before reporting the attack to her supervisor. Additionally, the accuser was found to have lied on her application for asylum, saying that she was gang raped while in Guinea. Prosecutors have since uncovered that there is no documentation proving that such an incident occurred.

Shortly after the arrest of Strauss-Khan, a French journalist by the name of Tristane Banon came forward and accused the former managing director of attempting to assault her when she interviewed him nearly 10 years ago. The altercation between Banon and Strauss-Khan ended violently. With Banon having to fight him off after he unbuttoned her bra and tried to unzip her pants. Ultimately, she was able to escape. No word yet if Banon will testify if the case against Strauss-Khan goes to trial.

As a result of the accusers credibility issues prosecutors have been weighing whether to dismiss the criminal charges against Strauss-Khan. In the event the criminal charges are dropped, a successful civil case could bring a multi-million dollar judgment against Strauss-Khan if a jury finds his accusers story persuasive.

The civil lawsuits of both O.J. Simpson and Kobe Bryant are two examples of civil lawsuits proceeding after criminal prosecutions fail. Only time will tell what will be the fate of the former IMF managing director. However, what we do know is that the scales of justice have no choice but to move one way or the other.


So what are your thoughts on this case? Should we as Africans protest on behalf of the accuser? Would your position on this case change if the accuser were not an African?


Photo via Google Images

Last Edited by: Updated: June 19, 2018


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