NEW YORK - The hotel housekeeper who has accused Dominique Strauss-Kahn of sexually assaulting her in his suite filed a civil suit Monday, seeking unspecified damages for an attack that she said "humiliated, degraded, violated and robbed" her of "her dignity as a woman."

The timing of the lawsuit was unusual for cases that also involve criminal prosecutions; typically, accusers will wait until a criminal matter is resolved before proceeding with a civil action.

Nonetheless, the action seemed noteworthy for its choice of jurisdiction, state Supreme Court in the Bronx. The housekeeper lives there, and jurors in that borough may be more sympathetic to an African woman's claims against a powerful Frenchman than jurors would be in Manhattan, where the encounter occurred. The action was also noteworthy for its smattering of new details in the case.

A lawyer for the housekeeper, Nafissatou Diallo, indicated in court papers that he was prepared to introduce testimony from other women who say they were attacked by Strauss-Kahn in "hotel rooms around the world" and in apartments specifically used by him "for the purpose of covering up his crimes." The lawyer, Kenneth Thompson, declined to elaborate.

The suit also asserts that Strauss-Kahn, the former International Monetary Fund managing director, made an obscene request to Diallo in commanding her to perform oral sex, and described in explicit detail her characterization of the subsequent act and her reaction to it.

The complaint, which seeks monetary damages for mental anguish, says Strauss-Kahn's "senseless attack on Diallo has caused her to suffer both physical and psychological harm, as well as permanent harm to her professional and personal reputations."

Lawyers for Strauss-Kahn said the maid's suit had no merit, its motivation was "to make money" and their client would fight it vigorously.

NEW YORK TIMES