First, we were given a rare glimpse of the otherwise discreet lifestyle of an aristocratic socialist, and we learned that the life he practices in no way approximates the ideology of equality of result that he embraces.

Second, European lectures about power imbalances, the corrupting influence of money and privilege, etc., do not exactly square with quickie sexual acts — even if mutually consensual, or paid for — in a luxury hotel room with a randomly met West African immigrant maid.

Third, we assume that the most powerful men on the planet, whether governors of New York and California, the president of the United States, or the head of the International Monetary Fund, have an obligation not to let their private lives intrude into their public ones, by reckless sexual behavior of the sort that lessens respect for the office and questions their judgement to such a degree that it affects the lives of those they are pledged to serve.

If the preponderance of evidence in the accuser’s past soon undermines her credibility to such an extent that her word cannot be used against Strauss-Kahn, then we will still be left with a controversy. It will simply be a matter, not of legality, but of Strauss-Kahn’s judgement, morality, and hypocrisy — as is usually the case in high-profile sexual scandals.