Hotels Install Panic Buttons After Attacks

Two hotels where maids reported attacks have introduced the new security measure

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After the second Manhattan hotel maid in just two weeks accused an international banker of sexually assaulting her on the job, the hotels where the alleged attacks occurred have installed panic buttons for staff members who feel they are in danger. The panic button idea got a lot of momentum after former International Monetary Fund director Dominique Strauss-Kahn's May 14 arrest on charges he tried to rape a maid at the Sofitel Hotel. The latest incident happened on Sunday night, when Mahmoud Abdel-Salam Omar, the 74-year-old former chairman of Egypt's Bank of Alexandria, allegedly grabbed, kissed, and gyrated against a maid delivering tissues at the Pierre hotel.

After the Strauss-Kahn incident, New York State Assemblyman Rory Lancman introduced legislation requiring panic buttons for hotel maids. Now, the two hotels where the high-profile attacks occurred have beat him to it. Will this be a trend citywide following individual attack charges? Maybe! But it seems more likely to become either blanket policy or a forgotten issue.

Strauss-Kahn is currently preparing for a June 6 arraignment on seven criminal charges that could land him in jail for up to 25 years if he's found guilty on all of them. Meanwhile, Omar is currently at Rikers Island jail waiting to post a bail bond of $50,000 (or $25,000 cash) that was set late last night, according to Bloomberg.

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