Dominique Strauss-Kahn may face justice for allegedly raping a woman in the United States after all, even though no U.S. law enforcement agency will pursue it. Prosecutors in Lille, where Strauss-Kahn is part of an investigation into a prostitution ring, said on Monday they would open an investigation into a Belgian prostitute's claim Strauss-Kahn raped her in a Washington, D.C. hotel room during a sex party on December 16, 2010.
The accusation came out earlier this month, and prosecutors had to decide whether to take it up as a criminal probe or to dismiss it. Strauss-Kahn has said all along that he was involved in "libertine parties" but that all participants were willing, and he didn't know anybody was a prostitute. The woman didn't file a complaint, BBC reports, but she told Belgian police she had been forced into a sex act against her will. "I didn't scream but I said clearly and loudly that I didn't want to," she reportedly testified. The Associated Press' Greg Keller has some more disturbing detail of the accuser's account, which first came out in the French paper Liberation earlier this month:
Citing leaked transcripts of witness testimony to Belgian police, also involved in the probe, Liberation cited one of the prostitutes as saying that Strauss-Kahn "used force, he held down my hands, he pulled my hair, he hurt me." The woman is quoted as testifying that another man held her hands down while Strauss-Kahn assaulted her.
None of the women have filed a formal complaint against Strauss-Kahn, and the BBC notes that Washington police have no records of any sexual assault or rape allegations at the W hotel on the night in question. But as the AP explains, "French rules allow for an investigation even without a formal complaint." This all comes, of course, more than a year after a New York hotel maid accused Strauss-Kahn of trying to rape her -- charges New York prosecutors eventually dropped when their key witness turned out to be unreliable. Now, we could potentially see Strauss-Kahn convicted in France of raping a woman in the United States capital, with little or no involvement by the Washington police.