Family, Lawyer: Alleged Victim Unaware Of Who IMF Chief Strauss-Kahn Was

Sources: Suspect Placed On Suicide Watch As A Precaution

NEW YORK (CBSNewYork) — She’s telling the truth. That was the message Tuesday from attorney David Shapiro.

He’s representing the woman accusing International Monetary Fund chief Dominique Strauss-Kahn of sex assault. Shapiro said the life of the single mother has been turned upside down and will never be the same, reports CBS 2’s Tony Aiello.

She works in an upscale Midtown hotel — just six miles south, but still a world away, from her modest Bronx apartment where neighbors found her friendly but reserved.

“Her demeanor is that of a very private person,” a neighbor said.

She’s trying to stay in the shadows as the world media spotlight glares on Strauss-Kahn, accused of raping the 32-year-old woman and now, according to sources, on suicide watch as a precaution on Rikers Island.

The alleged victim told authorities that she thought Strauss-Kahn’s suite at Sofitel New York was empty when she went in to clean it Saturday afternoon but that he emerged from the bathroom naked, chased her down a hallway, pulled her into a bedroom and dragged her into a bathroom, police said.

He grabbed her breasts, tried to pull down her pantyhose, grabbed at her crotch and forced her to perform oral sex, according to a court complaint. She broke free, escaped the room and told hotel staffers what had happened, authorities said. She was treated at a hospital for minor injuries.

“This has been nothing short of a cataclysmic event in this woman’s life,” Shapiro said.

Shapiro said the alleged victim is a Muslim who left Guinea — in West Africa — to make a better life in New York for her daughter. He rejected speculation in French media that she’s part of a plot to bring down Strauss-Kahn, a leading contender for the French presidency — until his arrest.

“That’s absolutely not true. She had no idea who that man was. She’s not part of any conspiracy,” Shapiro said.

U.S. Treasury Secretary Timothy Geithner said it’s clearly time for Strauss-Kahn to step down, reports CBS 2’s Hazel Sanchez.

“He’s obviously not in a position to run the IMF and I think it’s important that the board at the IMF formally put in place for an interim period somebody to act as managing director,” Geithner said.

The prosecutor said the hotel maid has provided a “powerful” and consistent account of the alleged assault.

“When someone is telling the truth, they tell a consistent story because there’s just one version,” Shapiro said.

According to the alleged victim’s brother, she called him about an hour after the alleged attack and said “something bad just happened.”

“Imagine if this was your sister,” he told 1010 WINS’ Steve Sandberg. “It brings tears to our eyes.”

1010 WINS’ Steve Sandberg with alleged victim’s brother

The woman accusing the IMF chief is devastated and wonders “why did this happen to me,” the alleged victim’s brother said.

A manager of a Harlem restaurant, the brother asked his name be withheld for fear it would identify his sister.

The victim’s cousin told Aiello she didn’t even realize Strauss-Kahn was prominent until she saw media coverage Sunday night.

“She’s definitely scared. She’s a victim and now she’s trying to recover,” the cousin said. “She’s a really decent woman, very polite and correct. She’s a victim and justice must be served.”

Her brother said she doesn’t follow international politics and couldn’t even tell you who the mayor of New York City is.

The alleged victim’s lawyer also echoed those sentiments, saying “she didn’t find out who he was or who he purported to be until some days after this took place.”

“She’s a hard-working lady. That’s what she was there for, there working doing her job. There’s no connection whatsoever, so as far as a conspiracy theory is concerned. It’s a dead issue,” friend Abraham Fofanah added.

Shapiro said the alleged victim is struggling with the aftermath of a terrible assault.

“That’s something which burns yourself into your subconscious and your psyche which you live with for many, many years,” Shapiro said.

Attorney Benjamin Brafman said defense lawyers believe the forensic evidence “will not be consistent with a forcible encounter.” Defense lawyers wouldn’t elaborate, but Brafman said “there are significant issues that were already found” that make it “quite likely that he will be ultimately be exonerated.”

Strauss-Kahn’s high-profile defense team has suggested that the encounter may have been consensual or part of some elaborate set-up but the alleged victim’s brother said his sister “is not that type of woman.”

“The simplest defense is to try to blame the victim, but she is the victim.  There was nothing about this encounter which in any way can be construed as consensual.  And there is nothing about this encounter that can construed in any way except a violent, physical, sexual assault,” Shapiro said.

The maid’s brother said she is scared and is under police protection at an undisclosed location.

“Now she’s trying to recover moment by moment,” he said.

The woman’s brother said he cannot understand how someone of Strauss-Kahn’s stature could do something like this.

“If this was Europe — he’d get away with this.”  he said. “This is America, justice will be served. I know it.”

Strauss- Kahn pleaded not guilty Monday to charges which include attempted rape, sex abuse, a criminal sex act, unlawful imprisonment and forcible touching.  He is being held in protective custody on Rikers Island at least until a court proceeding Friday.

Please offer your thoughts in the comments section below.

More from Tony Aiello
  • abvillian

    He most likely left less monies then usual and she was pi..ed off. No chance in this world that 62yr old can force oral sex on a 32yr old…I mean this is all smear

  • kevin rasmussen

    why are you here?

  • Ms Harris, toronto canada

    I am outraged, at the question” why is this woman and her whole family even in this country?” the question is why was this woman assaulted on her job? – Why should any woman have to be assaulted on her job…

  • Cajun Joe

    Cajun Joe –Bully of the Bijou:

    Does anybody know the IMF HR number? There’s a job opening that pays
    $495,000/year and I want it. I’m a straight shooter, keep my belt buckled,
    pants zipped and work well under pressure. No womanizing period!

    I’ll take out the trash at IMF HQ, reset all nation debt back to zero and
    start with a new scoreboard.

    Now pardon me, I’m going trapping for swap rats. Cook em up Cajun style,
    hot and spicy and finger licken good.

  • Meme

    When they said she ran down the hallway they meant the hallway inside the suite.

    • Soyouz

      The first witnesses were supposed to be colleagues in the corridor of the hotel. I’m sorry but if someone try (I say “try” beacause that what she is supposed to have said) to rape you, you won’t leave the place without screaming around and wait 1 hour to call your brother. There are so many contradictions concerning the timing, the scenario, the witnesses (a friend from Senegal who becomes a brother from Guinea for example)… As a French citizen, I want to have the Truth, even if DSK is guilty But I won’t condamn him before hearing his version and comparing the different elements.

      • Billyclub

        She is a reserved type person. I can see her not screaming. As for not calling her brother 1 hour later….they called police and had a big event going on. IF you called anyone with an hours time I would be surprised….stinking French idiots…I say hang him HIGH

      • soyouz

        You “see” her ??? Great ! So put DSK in jail for ever!

        And you have to know that this guy talking for her, who presented himself as “a friend” and then as “his brotehr” could be (according to the father and mother of Nafi Diallo)… his boyfriend… those witnesses are changing their mind every hour… probably because they are under pressure ?? Or perharps because they are just lying ? Please let your Justice do its job and see what really hapen before “seeing” things!



  • some comments

    This guy is a real jerk. And the maid is a real idiot. If she had her thing in her mouth she could have bit him, grabbed his legs and knock him down. Oh!!!! and how about, if she was running away, just head to the exit door!!! Something happened and we will never know. We saw the news at 10 pm Fox 5 showed a small interview to one of her cousins. His last name is Diallo. He is not innocent, but she is not either. She knows a guest staying where he was staying, if not famous must have a lot of money. Maybe she wants to be a copy cat of the lady swing the cops. Who knows.

    • some comments

      sorry for spelling mistakes.

      • Jack Spade

        you are an ignorant fool

    • kevin rasmussen

      How do you know he was standing and could be knocked down., then again maybe she did bite him, push him down and escaped?

  • M .J. LeClerc

    Sadly this will become a black/white thing and the racists will
    take sides. we will never know the real truth.

    • kevin rasmussen

      I will bet you my house it won’t be a black/white thing.

  • .Hulot Holiday

    If this” rapist” goes back to France they will embrace him after all
    France kissed Hitler’s behind ala Vichy.
    France has no extradition treaty with anyone ,Once he is back ,no trial

    • George Clooney

      France loves sexual predators as much as they loved bowing down to Hitler. When he invaded their country they had an army twice the size of Germany’s.

      • Soyouz

        Ah ah ah !

        Dear George,
        I hope your are not studying History… because you will never get your degree !

        And I think I can easily tell you that “your mother was a hamster and your father smelt of elderberries!” ;o)

  • NYC

    This does not sound right! Why in the world a man of such stature and money rape a maid when can get any “high class” young prostitute. Sounds like a set up to me!

    • Seymore

      Get a life!!!!!!
      Statue…money….maid…..spells get away with it

    • jtorres

      Rape is a sexual assault but it is a crime of violence and control and power. A prostitute willingly gives herself over to a client. That wouldn’t satisfy his sick need for violence and his bloodlust. Forcing a woman is what turns these sick pathetic people on.

      • Soyouz

        There is a big difference between being a rapist and a “seducer”… I’m sorry but in France, being a “seducer” is not a crime… as long as you respect the others. And our laws are not less effcient and hard against rapists than US laws. Please wait to have more information before killing DSK as many do in the US.

    • debra

      maybe because he might be a sociopath? you are assuming he is normal and he may not be. Sociopaths do become people of high stature-look at Saddam Hussein.

    • John Smith

      Perhaps it’s more thrilling for him to rape an unwilling woman.

  • Harry

    It is said he was known in France as the “Great seducer”. Unless this is some hype media friendly to him, I have to assume french are blind.

    He’s a fat old man!

    • Soyouz

      There is a big difference between being a rapist and a “seducer”… I’m sorry but in France, being a “seducer” is not a crime… as long as you respect the others. And our laws are not less effcient and hard against rapist than in the US.

      • Simon Keller

        Wrong. France has harbored the director Roman Polanski for decades – who drugged, raped, and sodomized a 13 year old girl. Shameful for all of france, especially those who would defend the conduct of rapists and the casual indifference of the french judicial system

      • Soyouz

        @ Simon
        Polanski ? What’s the link? Your justice waited till 2005 before trying to find him something like 25 years after he left the US. The scandal is in France was about this 25 years period during which nobody in the States seems chocked about Polanski being free, and suddenly trying to catch him for no reason but politics. Of course what he did is scandalous… and I can tell you that in 1977 he wouldn’t have escape the French justice if he had commited that in our country! Polanski did’nt hide during those 25 years. Were was your justice during all that time? Even her victim had forgive her!!

  • DanTe

    Stupid frenchy thought that the U.S. is as two-faced as his 3rd world shathole, france – where minorities have no rights.

    • Al

      You’re one stupid ignorant guy, Dan Te. France is a great country. Been there many times. Please never go there cause you are too dumb to handle free health care for everyone, 35 hours of work a week and 5 weeks vacation a year. Please stay here, stupid, uneducated and work yourself to death forever for not very much. If you want to see a shathole, look at your own home and see the dumb ass who lives in it. That’s shat.

      • kevin rasmussen

        Al, aren’t you having riots over austerity measures. NOTHING is FREE.

  • JH

    IT”S THE FRENCH!!!!!

  • nyckat

    My problem is this- and I am sure oer 90% of the ladies would agree with me here…
    He “forced her to perform oral- sex” , sorry that did it for me some one I don’t know tries and puts his package in my mouth- it’s going to get bit off! You can’t tell me with all the running and screaming and chasing she CLAIMS happened no one in an upscale hotel noticed?
    One thing comes to mind- scam artist trying to make some cash, and this poor man is sitting in jail guilty until proven innocent- some justice system we have here!

    • G

      nyckat: I agree. Something is not right here. Chasing after someone in a hallway nude. Then bringing them back to the suite and forcing them to perform oral sex? I don’t think that is plausible. I would worry about my member being bitten off unless this was concentrual. I don’t think any part of this is plausible. Maybe this is a conspriracy. Where are the security camera’s in this upscale hotel?

      • Gregg

        I also agree that unless he had a weapon, how do you force oral sex ? One bite and she could have out of there, if this is the real story. I think Strauss-Kahn forgot to take his meds. Makes no sense.



    • Bill

      Why is this UPSCALE hotel not named. Perhaps it would serve as a warning.

  • Phinnie

    Although allegations like these are often unfounded, this one has an air of credibility. She reported the attack immediately, and the Special Victims Unit took the report very, very seriously.
    The report that he had done the same thing previously to a young family friend in France also sounds credible. This young woman had talked about the attack without naming names because her mother had begged her to keep this man out of it, but I believe she now sees that her lack of action at that time has caused this man to continue his harmful behavior.
    Videotapes and forensic evidence will tell the true story.

  • no name

    Why is everyone thinking the maid was wrong how about a dirty old man who thinks because of his position he can take liberties with anyone he so chooses. Perhaps he finally did it in a country that doesn’t approve of this type of behavior and now justice will be done.

  • Obvious

    She probably agreed to meet him in his room before he’d check out. That’s why he was naked and ‘ready’. A 32 year-old woman can push a 62 year old man and run away screaming to call other people’s attention/help. He left the hotel unaware he had ‘committed a crime’. That’s why he called the hotel about 3 hours later to ask for his phone and inform his whereabouts.

  • Ziggy

    This event sounds very suspicous!

    Why is he not given bail and why is he held at Rikers?

    Evan the two cops on trial for rape are granted bail.

    • shiney

      There is no extradition rules in France. If he leaves the states he is a free man forever. Even if his bail was 5-10 million he can pay it and will pay it to flee the USA. Therefore no bail is granted.

    • karlson

      @ Ziggy – he wasn’t granted bail because the Judge deemed him a flight risk ala Roman Polanski who remains free in Europe for his rape of a 13 year old in America.

  • John

    If you do not desire something which has to do with your spirit and beleif you fight it till even death, but however weak you are in spirit and in mind the fight is even stronger. Where was the fight and the mess in this apartment for all of us to see as we only see one picture who is the victim in this case the lady ? The gentleman ? or us outlookers?

  • Marina Ios

    it is something fishy here…..
    as a former housekeeping manager, with extended work experience in manhattan hotels, i can tell you that smth here is weird:
    1. on the assignment sheets- for room cleaning for the day- you have the status of the room, such as: occupied, check-out, etc
    2. if you are not sure, call front-desk, or hskp office to double check if room is stayover or check-out
    3. as a room attendant, if you have the room on your assignment with “occupied” status, and you are not sure if checked-out or not, you call front-desk, or your floor manager
    this woman was either on her first day on the job, and they sent her upstairs without initial training, which i dont think, or is smth really fishy

    • NJreader

      The idea that the maid thought the suite was empty, does not necessarily mean that she thought the patron had checked-out, but rather that at the time, he was not in it. I am assuming that in the nicer hotels, housekeeping services a room at least once a day to provide clean linens and vacuum. Also, the statement that she did not know who he is, again, does not mean she does not know the name, but rather know his position. Would his name have meant anything to you?

    • debra

      I can tell you from many experiences staying in hotels that mistakes are made. I once was given the key at the desk to check in and discovered that the ‘previous’ occupant was still in the room sleeping. Even with computers, errors are made.

  • Marina Ios

    it is something fishy here…..
    as a former housekeeping manager, with extended work experience in manhattan hotels, i can tell you that smth here is weird:
    1. on the assignment sheets- for room cleaning for the day- you have the status of the room, such as: occupied, check-out, etc
    2. when you have a VIP- i presume that this man- due to his position- was listed as a VIP in the guest list- you do have it mentioned name, etc, on your assignment
    3. as a room attendant, if you have the room on your assignment with “occupied” status, and you are not sure if checked-out or not, you call front-desk, or your floor manager
    this woman was either on her first day on the job, and they sent her upstairs without initial training, which i dont think, or is smth really fishy

  • Janice


  • nyc

    A Muslim who couldn’t tell you the name of the mayor of New York ? Is she legal ? What the hell ? Strauss-Kahn must have not taken his meds. Makes no sense !

  • Ethel

    His sister “thought the room was empty”. .hmm don’t housekeepers get a list when guest check out of the hotel? ? ? Don’t they knock before entering? ? ? “Can’t tell you who the Mayor of NYC is” . . .hmmm? ? ? Maybe at this point there would be no need for the BROTHER to request that his name be withheld if the BROTHER just shuts the hell up! Let the case play itself out.

    • jtorres

      If he was lying in wait and she knocked, do you really think he would answer? That would take away his element of surprise.

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