NEW YORK - IMF chief Dominique Strauss-Kahn was placed under a suicide watch in jail, while pressure mounted on him to resign yesterday and the hotel maid who accused him of attempted rape said through her lawyer that she had no idea who he was when she reported him to the police.
Law-enforcement officials emphasized that Strauss-Kahn had not tried to harm himself but that guards were keeping a close watch on him just in case.
Meanwhile, details began to emerge about his accuser, a 32-year-old immigrant from the West African nation of Guinea with a 15-year-old daughter.
"There is no way in which there is any aspect of this event which could be construed consensual in any manner. This is nothing other than a physical, sexual assault by this man on this young woman," said her attorney, Jeffrey Shapiro. He added: "She did not know who this man was until a day or two after this took place."
Strauss-Kahn, 62, the managing director of the International Monetary Fund, was arrested Saturday and is being held without bail at the city's Rikers Island jail, kept apart from his fellow prisoners in a unit that normally houses inmates with contagious diseases.
Police and prosecutors said he ambushed a housekeeper who had come to clean his $3,000-per-night room at a New York hotel. Lawyers for the influential banker have challenged that account, saying the evidence doesn't support accusations of forcible sex.
They wouldn't elaborate, but the assertion gave rise to speculation that they might argue it was consensual sex. At the same time, some of Strauss-Kahn's supporters in France, where he was considered a possible challenger next year to President Nicolas Sarkozy, have suggested he may be the victim of a setup.
Strauss-Kahn's arrest continued to produce calls for his resignation from the IMF, which provides emergency loans to stabilize countries in economic distress and is now grappling with the debt crisis in Europe.
Meanwhile, Strauss-Kahn's past conduct with other women is getting new scrutiny.
The banker was investigated internally by the IMF following a 2008 affair with an employee, the Hungarian-born economist Piroska Nagy. The institution eventually absolved him of wrongdoing, but on Tuesday a person close to Nagy said she had sent the organization a letter at the time warning about his behavior toward women.
Strauss-Kahn himself appeared to realize that his relationships with women could be a political problem. The French daily newspaper Liberation reported this week that at a meeting with Strauss-Kahn in April, he speculated that his presidential campaign might be subjected to low blows over "money, women and my Jewishness."
"Yes, I love women . . . so what?" the newspaper quoted him as saying.
All prisoners arriving at Rikers Island are given a mental-health assessment to determine whether they pose a suicide risk. Norman Seabrook, president of the guards union, said Strauss-Kahn did or said something during that evaluation that made doctors concerned, and he is being monitored day and night.
Strauss-Kahn is charged with attempted rape, sex abuse, a criminal sex act, unlawful imprisonment and forcible touching. The most serious charge carries five to 25 years in prison.