The Key to the DSK Case

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This whole section is interesting:


As Mr. Strauss-Kahn surely knows from his far-flung travels, the hotels of the world are cleaned by immigrants, most of them women. The women's vulnerabilities are legion, and in many countries, hoteliers have adopted a raft of precautions to protect staffs and guests. 

For example, if a male guest calls for service, the housekeeping department will send up a male attendant. "Oftentimes, male guests will order the pay-per-view adult movies, and then call for towels, perhaps hoping that a woman will be sent to bring them up," said Peter M. Krauss, chief sales and marketing officer for Plasticard Locktech International of Asheville, N.C., which provides card keys to hotels. "So whenever they can, the hotels will send up a male if the call comes from a male guest." 

Another policy, he said, is housekeepers do not work behind closed doors. "With a Sofitel, their standards would dictate the door was either open, or at a minimum, ajar, when housekeeping is in the room," Mr. Krauss said. This is a practice at virtually all hotels, he said, and can be done with a latch or by leaving a cart in the doorway. 

The authorities have said that the housekeeper at the Sofitel knocked on the door to Mr. Strauss-Kahn's suite, called out to announce herself, used her master keycard to open the door, and left the work cart in the doorway, keeping it open. 

"They would have a record of her using the key to gain access," Mr. Krauss said. "They should have a record of the door remaining open for X period of time, and the door lock being actuated again. The system can differentiate between the guest's card key and the housekeeper's master key." 

Inside the suite, the authorities said, the housekeeper entered the bedroom to clean and Mr. Strauss-Kahn then emerged naked from a bathroom and began to attack her. When the woman ran for the door, it is charged, Mr. Strauss-Kahn shut it, an act of unlawful imprisonment. 

"They know what time the maid opened that door, propped open that door, and when someone closed that door," Mr. Krauss said.

Ignorant as always, I really had no idea why housekeeper's generally keep the doors open while cleaning. Moreover, it's only in considering the nature of working at a hotel work, that I got some picture of how vulnerable a woman could be. I spend a lot of time traveling, and the sheer artificial quiet and long corridors, make a lot of hotels creepy, even for me.

But beyond that, it will be interesting to see this case go forward. The electronic evidence will paint some sort of pattern. Initially DSK's lawyers were claiming he wasn't even in the hotel. Now they seem to be arguing for consensual sex. I wonder if they got wind of the key-card data. 
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Ta-Nehisi Coates is a national correspondent at The Atlantic, where he writes about culture, politics, and social issues. He is the author of the memoir The Beautiful Struggle. More

Born in 1975, the product of two beautiful parents. Raised in West Baltimore -- not quite The Wire, but sometimes ill all the same. Studied at the Mecca for some years in the mid-'90s. Emerged with a purpose, if not a degree. Slowly migrated up the East Coast with a baby and my beloved, until I reached the shores of Harlem. Wrote some stuff along the way.

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