Global Politics

Chambermaid in Strauss-Kahn assault case speaks out

sofitel_new_york_722779494.jpg

The Sofitel New York where the alleged assault took place. (Photo by Flickr user Rob Young)

Story from PRI's The World. Listen to audio for full report.

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Nafissatou Diallo's interviews with two news outlets came weeks after the case against Strauss-Kahn appeared to have collapsed. The 32-year-old from Guinea, in West Africa, said she's being honest about what happened at the Sofitel New York, where she worked as a housekeeper.

"God is my witness, I'm telling the truth, from my heart," said Diallo. "God knows that."

On May 14, Diallo said, she opened the door to Room 2806, the suite belonging to Strauss-Kahn and found him naked.

In her interview with ABC News she repeated her allegation that he then forced her to perform oral sex: "I was, like, 'stop, stop this, stop this' but he, he won't say nothing, he keep pushing me, pushing me, pushing me to the hallway, back to the hallway keep pushing me. I was so afraid. I was so scared."

She was also interviewed by Christopher Dickey of Newsweek magazine. He spent about three hours talking with her and described her as "heavy-set."

"One of the things I think people were asking originally was how could Dominique Strauss-Kahn, who is, I think, shorter than she is, how could he force her to do the things she's alleging he did?" Dickey said.

The answer she gave is that she didn't want to lose her job, an argument Dickey found convincing, especially given that Diallo came to the United States from a poor village in a poor country.

"She was earning upwards of 45 thousand dollars a year," he said. "For a woman who had emigrated from Guinea who is functionally illiterate, not at all educated, who’s trying to raise a fifteen-year-old daughter by herself, I’d say that’s a pretty important job and one you don’t want to lose."

Strauss-Kahn has repeatedly denied all the charges against him, although he remains under indictment as the New York district attorney decides whether to proceed with a criminal case. His lawyers contend that any sexual encounter between him and the maid was consensual.

They characterize Diallo's media interviews as an attempt to put pressure on the D.A., and to extract money from the Frenchman, most likely in a civil case.

Read the rest of this story on The World website.

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