Another powerful financier was arrested for allegedly molesting a Manhattan maid, underscoring the accusations that have enveloped former International Monetary Fund chief Dominique Strauss-Kahn.
Mahmoud Abdel-Salam Omar, the former chairman of the Bank of Alexandria in Egypt, allegedly assaulted a maid at the Pierre hotel in midtown Manhattan. Omar called the maid to his room and then locked the door, groping her and demanding a phone number before she could flee, according to the police.
While the two incidents are unrelated, it is impossible to ignore the parallel with the case of Strauss-Kahn, who has been arrested on charges of sexually assaulting a worker at the Sofitel hotel, also in midtown Manhattan.
The power associated with being a prominent financial executive is more likely to enable existing desires than to suddenly turn someone into a predator, according to experts interviewed for a New York Times story.
Power is a facilitator, psychologist Ronald F. Levant told the Times. It provides opportunities to men with certain appetites but seldom changes personality in any fundamental way.
Jacob Tomsky, who spent a decade working in the luxury hotel business and is writing a memoir about his experience, wrote an op-ed describing how housekeepers and management alike must regularly cope with lascivious guests making advances.
Housekeepers perform the most physically demanding work necessary to operate a luxury hotel, Tomsky wrote. On top of that, they have to be sexually accosted by guests? Sadly, yes. And more often than you'd think.
Similarly, an Associated Press story detailed housekeepers navigating violence, propositions for sex and rape.
It's dangerous work, Yazmin Vazquez, who works at a hotel in downtown Chicago, told the AP. These customers think they can use us for anything they want because we don't have the power that they have or the money that they have.