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French writer's sex case against Dominique Strauss-Kahn dropped

October 13, 2011 |  1:09 pm

French writer Tristane Banon's sex case against former International Monetary Fund chief Dominique Strauss-Kahn has been dropped. Banon had accused Strauss-Kahn of attempted rape in 2003; authorities decided that the evidence suggested a lesser charge of sexual assault, for which the statute of limitations has expired.

In 2003, Banon was interviewing Strauss-Kahn for an essay collection; that interview ended with a sexual assault, she has said. She initially alleged the attempted rape in 2007 on a French television talk show, although Strauss-Kahn's name was bleeped out during the broadcast. She made her official complaint this summer, after Strauss-Kahn was accused of sexually assaulting a hotel housekeeper in New York.

The BBC reports:

Under French law, the statute of limitations for attempted rape is 10 years, but three years for sexual assault.

Ms Banon's lawyer described the decision as a victory: "[Mr Strauss-Kahn] will have to be satisfied with being an unconvicted sex attacker, protected by the statute of limitations, allowing him to escape criminal prosecution, but not a legitimate suspicion," lawyer David Koubbi said.

The ruling demonstrated "the facts that [Ms Banon] complained of were not 'imaginary' contrary to Mr Strauss-Kahn's claims", he added.

Mr Strauss-Kahn's lawyer has said the decision means her client has been "completely cleared".

The criminal charges against Strauss-Kahn in New York have also been dropped; a civil case is pending.


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-- Carolyn Kellogg

Photos: Dominique Strauss-Kahn, left, in September (Credit: Mathieu Cugnot / Associated Press); Tristane Banon in September (Remy de la Mauviniere / Associated Press)