DNA Seen Key to Rape Charges Against IMF Chief

Monday, May 16, 2011

New York prosecutors are investigating another possible assault by the IMF's Strauss-Khan. In Sunday's incident involving a maid at a luxury hotel the DNA evidence will be critical, says Wendy Murphy, a former sex crimes prosecutor.

(WOMENSENEWS)--In light of rape accusations facing International Monetary Fund Managing Director Dominique Strauss-Khan, Women's eNews asked Wendy Murphy, a former sex crimes prosecutor and legal commentator, to comment on possible aspects of the case.

Murphy has written for Women's eNews about why intruding on rape victims bodies to gather DNA evidence can be a harsh and unnecessary when a woman's privacy has already been violated and when the main argument revolves around whether the disputed sexual activity was consensual; not whether it happened or who was involved.

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But in this case, Murphy says DNA evidence is critical to establishing the fact that a sexual event occurred, "which could put to rest any claim that she's making the story up out of whole cloth."

On Monday a New York judge ordered Strauss-Kahn to be held without bail until his next court appearance, slated for Friday, May 20.

Prosecutors are investigating whether he may have engaged in similar conduct once before and consider the accused a flight risk, according to a Reuters report.

Lawyers for Strauss-Kahn said he would plead not guilty to charges of a criminal sexual act, attempted rape and unlawful imprisonment. A French writer is also expected to file a claim against Strauss-Kahn for a sexual assault nine years ago, reported the Guardian.

Business Insider on Monday ran a story saying that Strauss-Kahn gave an interview to the French publication Liberation just a few weeks ago, on April 28, saying he could easily see himself becoming the victim of a "sex trap."

The rape allegations are high-profile and surprising--given the identity of the accused--yet the crime of forced sexual contact remains far from rare in the U.S. A 2006 study found that during that year alone over 1 million women in the United States had been raped. The author of the study, Drug-facilitated, Incapacitated and Forcible Rape: A National Study, is Dr. Dean Kilpatrick of the National Crime Victims Research and Treatment Center at the Medical University of South Carolina.

"Our estimates do not appear to support the widely held belief that rape has significantly declined in recent decades," Kilpatrick found, according to a summary on Legal Momentum.

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