Is Dominique Strauss-Kahn owed an apology?

A New York judge yesterday dismissed the rape charges against Dominique Strauss-Kahn, He is free to return to France. This comes after he was forced to give up his job leading the International Monetary Fund. The allegations brought against him are likely to complicate his chances to win the French presidency.

Columnists including Janis Turner of The Times were quick to jump on Strauss-Kahn as the allegations emerged.

Hookers, journos, mistresses, aides, maids…. How did Strauss-Kahn find time to run the IMF? No wonder global economy tanked.less than a minute ago via web Favorite Retweet Reply

If an apology is due, Fox News’ Lis Wiehl says it shouldn’t come from the prosecutors.

Did the prosecutors do the right thing in arresting DSK, and taking the evidence to a grand jury? Absolutely. They had a complaining victim with a compelling story, physical evidence of a sexual encounter, and a possible rapist about to board a plane for France. They had to act fast and ask more questions later. And the grand jury found the evidence convincing enough to meet the lower standard of probable cause, and to issue the charges.

She also writes that they did the correct thing is dropping the case because it wouldn’t have risen to the pass the “reasonable doubt” threshold.

James Cohen, a professor of law at Fordham University, tells BBC News, “The system is supposed to get it right and it did get it right. There was a charge made and no reason not to accept it. The defense raised the consensual sexual encounter issue, the [district attorney] investigated the background of the victim and found she had credibility issues. … So it’s not a perfect process, but it worked as it’s supposed to.”

Tracy Clark-Flory examined the case against dismissal in Slate.

Jaclyn Friedman, author of “Means Yes: Visions of Female Sexual Power and a World Without Rape,” says the major problem here is “the way the adversarial justice system works,” she told me by phone. “Prosecutors only like to bring to trial cases they feel they can win, which makes them reluctant to bring difficult cases, which usually works against anyone alleging rape.” As a result, that “sends the cultural message that most rape victims are lying, which makes it even harder to convince a jury because we’re all jurists.”

The system is imperfect writes U.S. News‘ Susan Milligan.

Sexual assault is the one crime in which the victim is as much on trial as the alleged attacker, and Diallo learned this lesson about U.S. jurisprudence the hard way. Strauss-Kahn got his own unfortunate lesson as well about the criminal justice system here, the perp walk and media frenzy surrounding his arrest were appalling and prejudicial. But while Strauss-Kahn was indeed unfairly treated in that manner, that doesn’t mean he didn’t attack anyone.

  • Mark

    I don’t know if this is just part of the deal… rich, powerful, famous, milfy? We’re going to hijack your trial and sacrifice your presumption of innocense at the altar of our civic incompetence. We sicken me.

  • Al

    You know who is owed an apology and an explanation? NPR listeners. I heard the corrections today of the All Things Considered story on DSK from yesterday. They got 3 major factual items wrong yesterday! Who was asleep at the editing desk? I thought NPR was supposed to be among the best news sources in the world. It’s embarrassing.

  • BJ

    @Al – What 3 facts did they get wrong?

  • John P.

    He is not owed an apology by the legal system. As far as I can see, he was treated like any other person accused of rape. If anyone owes him apology, it’s the various news outlets that failed to maintain the presumption of innocence.

    It certainly appears from the rumors that neither he nor his accuser are exactly saints. Whether either broke the law or not is for the legal system to decide, not us.

  • Jamie

    Al, I was astounded too, at the major errors NPR made!

    BJ, one of the errors was saying that the accuser was “the defendant.” I can’t remember the other two right now, but they were just as serious IIRC.

  • Al

    The other two:

    They DSK was acquitted. He never went to trial.

    They said he faced charges in France. He is only under investigation.

    As I think about it now, it is likely the editor wasn’t asleep at the computer but rattled by the earthquake.

  • SG

    Disgusted that it is even a question

  • vivian


    “Three things you can’t hide: The Sun, The Moon and The Truth.” ~ Buddha.