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Entries in Sexual Assault (13)

Wednesday
Nov022011

WikiLeaks Founder Julian Assange Denied Bid to Block Extradition

BERTIL ERICSON/AFP/Getty Images(LONDON) -- Julian Assange, the founder of the whistleblowing website WikiLeaks, has lost his bid to prevent being extradited to Sweden, where he is accused of committing sex crimes.

Judges at London's High Court ruled on Wednesday that the 40-year-old should leave the United Kingdom to be questioned over the allegations.  His lawyers say they will appeal to the Supreme Court.

Assange is accused of sexually assaulting two women in Sweden in August of 2010.  He faces one count of rape, one count of unlawful coercion and two counts of sexual molestation.

He has denied the allegations and insists the sex with both women was consensual.

Copyright 2011 ABC News Radio

Monday
Oct032011

Roman Polanski on Sex Case: 'Regretted it for 33 Years'

The Image Gate/Getty Images(BERN, Switzerland) -- Roman Polanski reveals in an interview with Swiss Channel TSR that he has "regretted for 33 years"  having unlawful sex with a 13-year old girl in 1977.  Polanski also thanked Switzerland for the way they handled his case, according to the BBC.

“Your nation possesses values that are disappearing in the rest of the world,” the Oscar winner said.  Polanski also recalled the murder of his wife, Sharon Tate in 1969 and his childhood in a Polish ghetto during World War II. “I am used to death a little bit like surgeons are used to seeing a stomach cut open,” Polanski said. The interview is set to air next Sunday.

Last week Polanski publicly acknowledged Samantha Geimer, the 13-year-old model he sexually assaulted in Los Angeles, in a documentary on his life that premiered last Tuesday at the Zurich Film Festival.

“She is a double victim: my victim, and a victim of the press,” Polanski says of Geimer in Laurent Bouzereau’s Roman Polanski: A Film Memoir. Polanski took to the stage at the Zurich Film Festival to accept a lifetime achievement award two years after he was originally intended to receive it, as he was arrested and incarcerated in a Zurich prison at the request of U.S. authorities when he arrived to receive the honor in 2009.

“Better late than never,” the 78-year-old filmmaker said after a booming applause from the audience.

The director was held for two months in 2009 following his arrest at Zurich’s airport, and then placed under house arrest at his home in Gstaad while the fight over his extradition to the U.S. was waged in courts. It was in this time that Bouzereau shot the interviews with Polanski for his documentary memoir.

The film reportedly shows Polanski’s side of the story regarding the 1978 legal case against him, which alleged that the then 43-year-old filmmaker sexually assaulted 13-year-old Geimer during a photo shoot for French Vogue.

In 1978 Polanski and his lawyers accepted a plea deal that would have the director put on probation, but Judge Laurence J. Rittenband reportedly suggested to Polanski’s attorney that the sentence may be heavier. Polanski fled to France, where he was protected from extradition, mere hours before sentencing.

In July 2010 Switzerland rejected the U.S. extradition request. Six charges against Polanski remain pending in the U.S.

Copyright 2011 ABC News Radio

Wednesday
Sep282011

Roman Polanski Acknowledges Sex Crime in New Documentary

The Image Gate/Getty Images(ZURICH) -- Roman Polanski makes his first public acknowledgement about Samantha Geimer, the 13-year-old model he sexually assaulted in Los Angeles, in a documentary on his life that premiered Tuesday at the Zurich Film Festival.

“She is a double victim: my victim, and a victim of the press,” Polanski says of Geimer in Laurent Bouzereau’s Roman Polanski: A Film Memoir.

Polanski took to the stage at the Zurich Film Festival Tuesday to accept a lifetime achievement award two years after he was originally intended to receive it: he was arrested and incarcerated in a Zurich prison at the request of U.S. authorities when he arrived to receive the honor in 2009.

“Better late than never,” the 78-year-old filmmaker said after a booming applause from the audience.

The director was held for two months in 2009 following his arrest at Zurich’s airport, then placed under house arrest at his home in Gstaad while the fight over his extradition to the U.S. was waged in courts.  It was in this time that Bouzereau shot the interviews with Polanski for his documentary memoir.

The film reportedly shows Polanski’s side of the story regarding the 1978 legal case against him, which alleged that the then 43-year-old filmmaker sexually assaulted 13-year-old Geimer during a photo shoot for French Vogue.

In 1978, Polanski and his lawyers accepted a plea deal that would have the director put on probation, but Judge Laurence J. Rittenband reportedly suggested to Polanski’s attorney that the sentence may be heavier.  Polanski fled to France, where he was protected from extradition, mere hours before sentencing.

In July 2010, Switzerland rejected the U.S. extradition request.  Six charges against Polanski remain pending in the U.S.

Copyright 2011 ABC News Radio

Monday
Sep192011

In First Public Interview, Strauss-Kahn Calls Maid Incident a 'Moral Failure'

Harold Cunningham/Getty Images(PARIS) -- In his first public interview since his May 14 arrest over sexual assault allegations, Dominique Strauss-Kahn said he was "trampled and humiliated" in the U.S. judicial system, and called his encounter with a hotel maid "a moral failure."

Strauss-Kahn, the former head of the International Monetary Fund and a once -- and possibly future -- likely candidate for president of France, said he had not spoken publicly before the interview Sunday on France's TF1 television channel because he "wanted to speak in front of the French first."

During the 20-minute interview, Strauss-Kahn acknowledged his sexual encounter with Nofissatou Diallo, a New York hotel maid, but said the incident didn't include violence, constraint or aggression.  He repeatedly said the incident was a "moral failing" on his part, but not a crime.

"It was a moral failure.  I have regretted it every day for the last four months, and I am not done regretting it," Strauss-Kahn said.  He called his wife an "exceptional woman" who supported him from the first moment because she believed he was innocent.

He called the sexual encounter with Diallo a "failure vis-à-vis my wife, my children and my friends."

In May, Diallo accused Strauss-Kahn of trying to rape her in his hotel suite.  He was arrested and charged with sexual assault and attempted rape, but charges against him were dismissed last month after prosecutors said the accuser had changed her story too many times.

Strauss-Kahn is still facing a pending civil case, which he said is "weird for the French that when the charges are dropped, a civil case can move forward, but that's American law."

He repeated the claims some others have made that Diallo had financial motivations for accusing him of assault.  With repeated references to the prosecutor's report in the case in New York, Strauss-Kahn maintained that Diallo "lied" about the nature of the encounter.

When asked about how the U.S. justice system treated him, he said he was "very scared."

"When you are in the jaws of the machine, you think it can chew you up," he said.  "I was trampled and humiliated before I could defend myself."

He also said he suffered violence and that he "lost a lot," but he acknowledged that others in the same situation could have lost more.

Of the other accusations against him by Tristane Banon, a writer who has accused him of sexual assault, Strauss-Kahn said there was no aggression or violence in that instance either, but that the case is ongoing, so he wouldn't make any further comment.

Copyright 2011 ABC News Radio

Sunday
Sep042011

Dominique Strauss-Kahn Returns Home to France

Shannon Stapleton-Pool/Getty Images(PARIS) -- Former International Monetary Chief Dominique Strauss Kahn is back home in France today for the first time since a New York hotel maid accused him of sexual assault in May.

The French presidential hopeful was greeted by camera flashes upon his return to Paris.

Last month, a judge in New York threw out the sexual assault case brought against him.

The ruling came after the judge rejected a plea by Strauss-Kahn's accuser, hotel maid Naifissatou Diallo, to have the Manhattan district attorney's office replaced by a special prosecutor.

New York Criminal Court Judge Michael Obus granted a motion from prosecutors to dismiss all charges against the international power broker known simply as DSK, ending a highly publicized prosecution without answering the question of what really happened between Strauss-Kahn and the maid assigned to clean his hotel suite.

"I see no basis to deny that application" to dismiss the charges, Obus said. An appellate court upheld the decision.

"These past two and a half months have been a nightmare for me and my family," Strauss-Kahn said outside his Manhattan apartment after the ruling. "I am most deeply grateful to my wife and family who have gone through this ordeal with me."

What was once viewed as a "strong" case based on an "unwavering" accuser fell apart amid "substantial" questions about the maid's credibility.

Assistant District Attorneys Joan Illuzzi-Orbon and Artie McConnell said the accuser "provided shifting and inconsistent versions of the events" and therefore they can't be sure "of what actually happened" "We were no longer able to credit her version beyond a reasonable doubt" Illuzzi-Orbon said in court.

"We respectfully request that the court dismiss the indictment," she said.

During the investigation into the incident, prosecutors say, Diallo presented three different versions of the alleged assault and lied under oath.

Her credibility "cannot withstand the most basic evaluation," prosecutors said in the motion.

"Joan Illuzzi basically told Ms. Diallo that they were dismissing the case, claiming because she lied to them," Diallo's attorney, Kenneth Thompson said. "They totally disrespected Ms. Diallo by walking out on her while she was trying to ask them a question."

Strauss-Kahn had long maintained he was innocent of the charges.

"We have maintained from the beginning of this case that our client is innocent," Strauss-Kahn's lawyers, William W. Taylor and Benjamin Brafman, said in a statement. "We also maintained that there were many reasons to believe that Mr. Strauss-Kahn's accuser was not credible. Mr. Strauss-Kahn and his family are grateful that the district attorney's office took our concerns seriously and concluded on its own that this case cannot proceed further."

Thompson accused Vance's office of treating his client "abusively." He said the office failed to refute a New York Post article that called Diallo a hooker.

Thompson also claimed the DA's office was predisposed to dismissing a case it once called "strong."

Strauss-Kahn was a favorite to win next year's presidential elections in France before his arrest. Now polls show four out of five people don't won't him to run. He faces an investigation into allegations of attempted rape in France.

Copyright 2011 ABC News Radio

Friday
Sep022011

UN Peacekeepers Accused of Sexually Assaulting Haitian Teen

THONY BELIZAIRE/AFP/Getty Images(PORT SALUT, Haiti) -- Haitians in this remote seaside town are demanding an investigation into allegations that United Nations peacekeeping troops pinned down an 18-year-old Haitian man and subjected him to a humiliating sexual assault.

The alleged assault occurred in July, but graphic cell phone video surfaced in recent days, showing what appears to be the four UN troops in camouflage and some wearing the trademark sky blue berets attacking the man. As the video began circulating through the coastal village, it sparked a growing sense of outrage there and prompted the victim's mother and father to seek criminal charges against the United Nations peacekeeping officers, who are from Uruguay. Both parents submitted written depositions on Wednesday in Port Salut's courthouse.

A medical certificate filed with the court in Haiti and obtained by ABC News, alleges the victim was beaten and had sustained injuries consistent with having been sexually assaulted.

Word of the alleged attack quickly made its way up the chain of command at the United Nations, both in Haiti and in New York, where officials are now vowing to see the incident investigated and the alleged perpetrators brought to justice. Michel Bonnardeaux, a spokesperson for peacekeeping operations based in New York, told ABC News that officials in his office first became aware of the allegations Saturday. They sent a diplomatic note to the Uruguayan mission requesting the country deploy a national investigative officer to Haiti immediately.

"The defense minister of Uruguay has expressed deep concern and said they will take all the necessary action," Bonnardeaux said. "We see this as a breakdown of the command and control structure. If the allegations are proved, the assailants must be brought to justice."

Messages left Friday with the Uruguayan mission in New York were not returned.

Bonnardeaux said the troops involved in the incident have been confined to their barracks.

Under an agreement between Haiti and the U.N., peacekeeping troops are only subject to discipline and legal action from their country of origin. Uruguay has deployed 1,100 troops to the quake-battered island nation. Bonnardeaux said the primary purpose for the U.N. troops being in Haiti is to insure the protection of Haitian civilians.

But that is not what appears to be happening on the one-minute video, which pans out from a sideways close-up of the alleged victim's strained face to reveal his body being held down on a mattress by the uniformed men. The alleged assailants can be heard laughing as a shirtless soldier kneels behind the Haitian victim and appears to be assaulting him. The video ends as a soldier grabs the bedraggled young man's arm and seems to try pulling him onto his feet.

Interviewed by a reporter at the courthouse, the young man said he was snatched from behind as he walked by the U.N. base. He alleged he was beaten and sexually molested. "They're bad people -- vagabonds," he said. The young man's mother, a street merchant, held up a pair of black pants to show they were torn. She said it was not until the video surfaced that she discovered what had happened.

Uruguayan Navy Lieutenant Nicolas Casariego confirmed to ABC News that the video is real. He spoke through the barbed-wire fence that surrounds the base where the alleged incident took place.

Casariego, the base commander, called the apparent abuse in the video "a game" and said it wasn't sexual in nature. "It's a young guy who is normally around here, like these people," he said, pointing to a Haitian family sitting outside their home twenty yards away. He said the soldiers engaged in "some kind of bullying, but nothing more."

The alleged assault is just the latest in a series of incidents that have frayed relations between Haitians and the 12,000 foreign troops who have been stationed in Haiti under the U.N. banner now for several years. Anti-U.N. riots shut down major cities and thoroughfares after an outbreak of cholera last October. Rumors circulated that a U.N. base had introduced the disease to Haiti. Scientific studies by the Centers for Disease Control and others have since confirmed the source of the outbreak was a Nepalese peacekeeping base in central Haiti.

Sinal Bertrand, a Haitian parliamentary deputy from the Port Salut area, said he began talks with U.N. officials last week about other allegations against the soldiers by residents of Port Salut, ranging from sexually exploiting young women to environmentally polluting the area.

Bertrand said he is calling on the U.N. to ensure that the alleged assailants in this latest case are punished.

Copyright 2011 ABC News Radio

Monday
May232011

Did Former IMF Chief Solicit Other Women in New York?

Harold Cunningham/Getty Images(NEW YORK) -- A U.S. tabloid is reporting that former International Monetary Fund chief Dominique Strauss-Kahn supposedly made advances to several other women before and after his alleged sexual assault against a maid last week during his stay at a Manhattan luxury hotel.

The New York Post says that Strauss-Kahn tried to entice two workers from the Sofitel Hotel to his room and made a lewd comment to an Air France flight attendant before he was removed from the plane by police on May 14 following the reported attack on the maid.

According to the Post, the married Strauss-Kahn used the French phrase "Quel beau cul" to tell the Air France attendant he admired her posterior.

Meanwhile, the former IMF chief is also reported to have tried to separately invite the hotel receptionist and desk receptionist back to his $3,000-a-night suite for a glass of champagne.  Both women declined his advances, which they described as "blatantly inappropriate," the newspaper said.

It was sometime around noon on May 14 that prosecutors contend Strauss-Kahn attempted to rape a hotel chamber maid.  The 32-old immigrant from Guinea has supposedly given authorities a detailed account of what happened.

Strauss-Kahn, who was released last week on $1 million bail, pleaded not guilty to seven counts, including attempted rape, criminal sexual assault and unlawful imprisonment.  The most serious charges could send him to prison for a maximum of 25 years if he's convicted.

Copyright 2011 ABC News Radio

Tuesday
May172011

IMF Chief's Arrest Leaves French Angry, Dismayed and Defensive

JEWEL SAMAD/AFP/Getty Images(NEW YORK) -- The French have reacted with a range of emotions to sexual assault allegations against International Monetary Fund chief Dominique Strauss-Kahn, some shocked by the charges and others angered by his treatment at the hands of U.S. law enforcement.

"[The U.S. has] an accusatory system," French justice minister Elisabeth Guigou said on France Info radio.  "We have a system that takes perhaps a little more time but which is, despite everything, more protective of individual rights."

Strauss-Kahn has been accused of the attempted rape of a maid in a $3,000-a-night New York hotel suite.  He will remain in jail until his hearing on Friday after a New York City judge deemed him a flight risk.

His attorneys have denied the seven counts against him, which included allegedly forcing the housekeeper to perform oral sex, and allegedly forcing her to submit to anal sex after allegedly taking her prisoner inside the luxury suite.

Some of Strauss-Kahn's allies in France have come to his defense.  His rush to leave the French-owned Sofitel hotel in midtown Manhattan was no attempt to flee the alleged crime scene but to honor previous plans to lunch with his daughter, according to comments in the New York Times attributed to Socialist politician Jean-Christophe Cambadélis Monday.

Others have expressed dismay at the widely seen photos of the handcuffed Strauss-Kahn being escorted by police.  It is illegal in France for the media to show images of a person accused of a crime before conviction, so the imagery of the IMF chief handcuffed gracing the covers of French newspapers has alarmed many there.

Meanwhile, the accusations alone against the once-likely presidential candidate -- a frontrunner, no less -- have been enough to rattle the country.

"A lot of politicians are known to have affairs and it doesn't scandalize people," ABC News correspondent Jeffrey Kofman told ABC News Radio Tuesday. "But this is something entirely different.  A sexual assault, a rape goes way beyond that and people are very upset.  They're quite horrified by that, by the prospect of this, these accusations being true.  And it takes it to another dimension."

Copyright 2011 ABC News Radio

Monday
May162011

IMF Chief Picked Out of Lineup by Maid; Arraignment Postponed

Brian Harkin/Getty Images(NEW YORK) -- The hotel maid who accused the head of the International Monetary Fund of trying to rape her in his hotel suite picked him out of a lineup Sunday, police sources told ABC News.

IMF chief Dominique Strauss-Kahn, a man considered a likely French presidential candidate, was taken into custody at a New York airport Saturday after the hotel maid told police he tried to sexually assault her.

Police say at 1 p.m., a hotel housekeeper entered room 2806 at Sofitel in Manhattan -- a luxury $3,000-per-night, multi-room suite -- when Strauss-Kahn allegedly walked out of his bathroom naked and forced himself on the 32-year-old woman.

As she was in the foyer, "he came out of the bathroom, fully naked, and attempted to sexually assault her," NYPD Deputy Police Commissioner for Public Information Paul Browne said.

According to her account, Browne said, Strauss-Kahn grabbed her "and pulls her into the bedroom and onto the bed."  He locked the door to the suite, Browne said.

"She fights him off, and he then drags her down the hallway to the bathroom, where he sexually assaults her a second time," Browne added.

Strauss-Kahn, 62, was taken into custody at around 4:30 p.m. Saturday as he was sitting in the first-class section of a Paris-bound Air France jet at John F. Kennedy International Airport, just as the doors were closing for takeoff.  He was sitting quietly in his seat when police entered the plane, apparently unconcerned, police sources said.

Detectives from the New York Police Department picked up the IMF president from Port Authority police and took him to midtown for questioning.  After nearly 10 hours in police custody, during which time he didn't speak a word to detectives, police said, he was formally arrested at 2:15 a.m. Sunday on charges of a criminal sex act, attempted rape and unlawful imprisonment.

Strauss-Kahn's lawyer denies the attempted rape and said his client would plead not guilty.

His arraignment was postponed until at least Monday morning while he underwent forensic tests to which he consented Sunday night.

Copyright 2011 ABC News Radio

Sunday
May152011

IMF Head Accused of Sexually Assaulting Maid at NYC Hotel

Harold Cunningham/Getty Images(NEW YORK) -- Dominique Strauss-Kahn, the head of the International Monetary Fund (IMF) and a man considered a likely French presidential candidate, was taken into custody by police on Saturday at a New York airport after a hotel maid said he sexually assaulted her.

Authorities said a maid at a midtown Manhattan hotel told police that Strauss-Kahn stepped out of the bathroom naked as she was cleaning the room and assaulted her.

Strauss-Kahn was taken into custody aboard an Air France jet at John F. Kennedy International Airport, just as the doors were closing to take off on a flight to Paris.

Detectives from the New York Police Department picked up the IMF president from Port Authority police and took him to east Harlem for questioning at the department’s Special Victims Unit.

Strauss-Kahn faces a charge of attempted rape.

NYPD officials notified Port Authority police of the allegations against Strauss-Kahn and asked that they "take him off the plane," Deputy Police Commissioner Paul Browne told ABC News.

Port Authority detectives did so moments before the flight's departure, Browne said.

Browne said the maid notified hotel managers of the alleged assault and the hotel contacted police, who arrived at about 1:30 pm.

"She reported the attack to hotel officials who called police," Browne said.

When police arrived they found Strauss-Kahn's cell phone, Browne said.

"It appeared he left in a hurry," he said.

Authorities said the hotel maid's account "is credible."

According to senior police officials Strauss-Kahn has no diplomatic immunity, despite his position with the IMF, which makes him technically an administrative official with the United Nations.

On Sunday the IMF issued a statement saying that it had no comment on the case and that “the IMF remains fully functioning and operational.”

Copyright 2011 ABC New Radio







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