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Website: Strauss-Kahn sexually assaulted French journalist in 2002

Website: Strauss-Kahn sexually assaulted French journalist in 2002

As France and the world continues to absorb the developments surrounding IMF Director and shadow 2012 presidential frontrunner Dominique Strauss-Kahn’s arrest for sexual assault, Arret sur images, a French website, brings to light some damning evidence involving a previous instance of sexual violence that was little-reported in certain parts of the French media when it first emerged in 2007. While his affair with an IMF staffer in 2008 was well-documented, less so was an incident that occurred in 2002, in which he is alleged to have sexually assaulted a journalist and author named Tristane Banon. Banon decided not to press charges, a decision explained Sunday by her mother, an official in France’s socialist party:

“I regret having dissuaded my daughter from pressing charges against DSK. I feel quite responsible. After it occurred, we talked about it, discussed it at length. And eventually, she decided, we decided, to not press charges. My daughter was very upset, but Tristane is the goddaughter of Dominique’s second wife. It was a delicate thing for reasons of family and friendship…I can tell you that my daughter, despite the years that have passed, is still traumatized by what happened. Last night, I visited her in Paris to comfort here. It’s very hard for her.”

Arret goes on to note a silence among certain parts of the French media surrounding the incident at the time it first came to light — a search of LeMonde’s archives revealed not a single piece on the affair, it notes.

Arret also breaks down a conspiracy swirling on the Internet about a mysterious tweet announcing DSK”s arrest two hours before it was first reported by the New York Post. Given the monumental stupidity involved in this case, many in France — including former presidential adviser Jacques Attali — are assuming the affair is a plot by forces favorable either to Nicolas Sarkozy or one of the countries receiving aid from the IMF. Newsweek’s Paris bureau chief Chris Dickey rather crudely digs deeper into some of this as well.

I won’t speculate on any of that here. Whatever the case, it’s hard to argue with the DSK confidante in Dickey’s piece who offers a useful Anglicism: “It looks like his career at the IMF and his candidacy are, as you say, toast.”