It's either a remarkable coincidence or a disturbing trend: The second high-level international financier in less than a month has been arrested in New York for allegedly assaulting a hotel maid. This time the suspect is Mahmoud Abdel-Salam Omar, the 74-year-old former chairman of Egypt's Bank of Alexandria. He was staying at The Pierre hotel where, acccording to The New York Times, he "asked that a box of tissues be brought to his room about 6 p.m. on Sunday. A 44-year-old housekeeper delivered them. Once she was inside the room, Mr. Omar grabbed her breasts, kissed her and rubbed against her, the police said."
The latest incident comes just two weeks after the May 14 arrest of Dominique Strauss-Kahn, then the head of the International Monetary Fund, who allegedly tried to rape a maid at the Sofitel Hotel in Midtown Manhattan. Strauss-Kahn faces up to 25 years in prison for seven criminal charges. Omar is to be arraigned today.
The Strauss-Kahn incident had already incited calls for more protection for hotel maids. In its wake, the Sofitel began allowing maids to wear trousers with their uniforms instead of skirts. A New York lawmaker has introduced legislation that would require hotel housekeepers to be equipped with a "panic button" to be used in similar incidents.