Third woman claims she was sexually victimised by director Roman Polanski when she was a teenager
Complainant says she came forward because she was ‘infuriated’ that another victim said it was time to drop criminal proceedings against director
A woman claimed at a news conference Tuesday that film director Roman Polanski sexually victimised her in 1973, when she was 16.
She is the third woman to come forward with similar allegations about the director of movies such as Rosemary’s Baby and Chinatown. The filmmaker has lived as a fugitive in Europe since pleading guilty in Los Angeles in 1977 to having sex with a minor.
The woman, who gave only her first name, Robin, spoke to the media at the Los Angeles office of her attorney, Gloria Allred.
She said she decided to come forward because of statements by Samantha Geimer, the victim in the 1977 case. Geimer has said she wants the criminal case against Polanski to end so she and her family can move on.
She was 13 when Roman Polanski sexually assaulted her. Forty years later, she wants a judge to drop the case against him.
“This infuriated me,” said Robin, 59. “I am speaking out now so that Samantha and the world will know that she is not the only minor Roman Polanski victimised.”
In April, a Los Angeles County judge denied Polanski’s latest effort to resolve the 40-year-old statutory rape case, saying that the filmmaker cannot be sentenced in absentia because he remains a fugitive from justice.
Neither Allred nor the woman would discuss details about the 1973 incident, which Allred said took place in Southern California.
Allred said the legal deadline for filing criminal charges has passed, but Robin reported her allegations to law enforcement earlier this year.
Robin is willing to testify at his sentencing in Geimer’s case if Polanski withdraws his guilty plea and goes to trial, and she hopes other victims will come forward, Allred said. Robin has no immediate plans to file a civil lawsuit.
“While we understand that Ms Geimer would like this case to end, Robin and I feel that it is very important that Mr Polanski returns to court in California to be sentenced,” Allred said. “An exception should not be made for a Hollywood film director, and it would be wrong for the court to appear to give special treatment to Mr Polanski.”
Polanski’s attorney, Harland Braun, said Allred’s client “has no business interfering with Mrs. Geimer’s life and opinion.”
“This should be a no-brainer. This case should be over,” he said.
Geimer was a 13-year-old junior high student when Polanski, then 43, took her to Jack Nicholson’s house for a photo shoot. He gave her champagne and part of a Quaalude pill and, according to testimony from Geimer, forced her to have sex with him.
After reaching a deal with prosecutors, Polanski was sent to a state prison for a 90-day diagnostic evaluation. Judge Laurence Rittenband, who was presiding over the case at the time, said the evaluation would help him reach a fair sentencing decision. The director was released after 42 days, with prison officials saying he did not need additional prison time.
Rittenband, facing fierce media pressure, went against the recommendation and decided to send Polanski back to prison for an additional 48 days.
Polanski then hopped a flight to Europe and never returned.
As the decades have worn on, two portraits of Polanski have emerged. Many still shun him as a criminal who fled from justice. But some in Hollywood have argued that he was treated unfairly by a judge who wanted to make an example of a powerful filmmaker.
In 2010, British actress Charlotte Lewis, who appeared in Polanski’s 1986 film Pirates, accused him of “forcing himself” on her in 1982 in Paris, when she was 16. She also was represented by Allred.