Strauss-Kahn To Face New Sex Charges In France

Jul 5, 2011
Originally published on July 7, 2011 9:04 am
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RENEE MONTAGNE, Host:

Eleanor Beardsley sends this report.

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ELEANOR BEARDSLEY: She is bringing charges against the former IMF head today, because Banon says she can no longer bear the weight of keeping her ordeal secret. Banon's lawyer said she was encouraged to come forward after Strauss-Kahn was arrested in New York, but that her case is entirely separate from the New York incident.

UNKNOWN MAN: Her account of what happened is very serious and full of violence. We will file this case with the Paris prosecutor today, and if it doesn't go to trial, that will speak volumes about the French justice system.

BEARDSLEY: Banon's mother, Anne Mansouret, also convinced her not to file charges saying it would wreck her writing career. Speaking on television, Mansouret says that was a big mistake.

ANNE MANSOURET: I advised not to because she was very young at the time, and also, she was friends with Strauss-Kahn's youngest daughter. And this would have wrecked relations between our families.

BEARDSLEY: But Banon's story was already known in certain circles.

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BEARDSLEY: Ms. TRISTANE BANON (French spoken).

BEARDSLEY: He tried to rip off my jeans. We literally fought on the floor. I was kicking him, said Banon, who described Strauss-Kahn as a rutting chimpanzee. Strauss-Kahn's name was bleeped at the time, but his identity has since been revealed and millions of people have watched the show and Banon's account on the internet.

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BEARDSLEY: Mr. Jean-Marc Illouz (Journalist): Whatever the merits of the cases in New York and Paris; in France, for the first time there has been a public debate on the role, on the behavior of powerful men - not only in politics - but very often more modestly in the workplace. The public debate has taken place, things are changed.

BEARDSLEY: For NPR News, I'm Eleanor Beardsley in Paris.

MONTAGNE: This is NPR News. Transcript provided by NPR, Copyright NPR.