Dominique Strauss-Kahn Placed on Suicide Watch

He's under 24-hour surveillance and has been made to wear a special jumpsuit.

ByABC News
May 17, 2011, 12:43 PM

May 17, 2011— -- Dominique Strauss-Kahn, former head of the International Monetary Fund, has been placed on suicide watch in his New York City jail cell, four days after he was arrested and charged with sodomizing a chamber maid in his Manhattan hotel room.

Strauss-Kahn, who until this weekend was the chief of the IMF, the body established to keep the global monetary system stable, and a leading contender to be the next president of France, is in protective isolation at New York's Riker's Island jail.

He is under 24-hour surveillance and has been made to wear a special jumpsuit, which lacks excess material or strings that an inmate could use to harm himself, and is designed to prevent inmates from concealing any objects.

Strauss-Kahn, 62, was arraigned Monday. He is accused of forcing the housekeeper to perform oral sex and submit to anal sex after he emerged naked from his suite's bathroom at the Sofitel Hotel in New York City. The married father of four is accused of sexual assault and attempted rape.

His alleged victim is still reeling from the attack she says took her completely by surprise, according to a close friend.

"She was still crying today," a friend of the alleged victim told ABC News. "She was completely devastated. I was the first person she called."

The alleged victim, a housekeeper at New York City's Sofitel Hotel, called the friend from the emergency room at St. Luke's hospital, where she was examined by doctors and questioned by New York Police Department detectives Saturday night after the alleged attack.

"She called me and said, 'Something really bad happened,'" he said.

He described his friend, an immigrant from West Africa and the mother of a 15-year-old girl, as a "good Muslim" and "not the kind of woman to attack a man."

"She didn't understand why he did such a thing," he said.

ABC News does not identify the alleged victims of sexual assault.

"This is one of the most important persons in the world. How can he do this?" the friend asked of Strauss-Kahn, an influential international power broker.

Some of Strauss-Kahn's allies in France have suggested that the allegations are part of an elaborate conspiracy to smear him and prevent him from running for president there.

"If this happened in France it would have been very different," said the the friend of the alleged victim, adding that he believed in the U.S. judicial system and that she would testify against Strauss-Kahn.

"We trust this American justice is different than European justice," he said. "She trusts American justice."

She is being held at a safe but undisclosed location, he said.

Strauss-Kahn was arrested Saturday, hauled out of the first-class cabin on an Air France jet moments before taking off from Kennedy Airport.

This story has been updated to reflect the fact that the person who spoke to ABC News is a close friend of the alleged victim, not the alleged victim's brother, as originally reported.