French prosecutors dropped a gang rape charge today against Dominique Strauss-Kahn, the former International Monetary Fund leader. He's been embroiled in sexual assault charges that began last year when a maid at a New York hotel claimed he raped her.
The gang rape charge surfaced when a woman who told police she was a prostitute said she'd been forced to have sex despite her refusal, according to the Washington Post. She'd been flown to a Washington hotel. Today, prosecutors say the woman never filed a formal charge; she also wrote a letter to the prosecutor saying she had agreed to have sex for money with Strauss-Kahn.
Strauss-Kahn's lawyers expressed vindication, says Reuters. "We are satisfied but the fight goes on," said attorney Richard Malka. He's referring to an investigation into Strauss-Kahn's practice of attending sex parties with prostitutes in France, Belgium and the United States.
It's called the "Carlton Affair" in France: a police investigation named after a luxury hotel in Lille that's examining Strauss-Kahn's involvement in an alleged prostitution ring. As CNN reports, prostitution is not illegal in France, but profiting from a prostitute is against the law. Strauss-Kahn's lawyers don't dispute that he attended sex parties but insist he did not know young women at the parties were paid. They've asked a court to drop the whole prostitution inquiry.
Sexual abuse allegations against Strauss-Kahn's burst into view last year. In May, 2011, a hotel maid in New York accused him of sexually assaulting her last year. His arrest was sensational, as photographers snapped pictures while New York police escorted him to jail. But the maid's allegations were not substantiated and Strauss-Kahn was freed. The matter didn't stop there - the maid filed a multi-million dollar civil lawsuit against him, while Strauss-Kahn fired back with a countersuit of his own, notes AFP.
That case prompted a French author to come forward and accuse Strauss-Kahn of raping her eight years ago. The charges were dropped, says the Telegraph, because judges ruled the matter was sexual harassment , not rape, and the charges were too old to prosecute.
The allegations have caused Strauss-Kahn to lose his wife and his political career. He'd been planning to run for the French presidency when the maid made the sexual abuse charge.