The allegations against Roman Polanski

Roman Polanski fled to the US in 1978 after admitting to the statutory rape of a minor. — AFP pic
Roman Polanski fled to the US in 1978 after admitting to the statutory rape of a minor. — AFP pic

PARIS, Nov 10 — A French former model and actress has accused Oscar-winning director Roman Polanski, 86, of raping her in a Swiss ski resort in 1975 when she was 18 years old.

It is the latest in a series of allegations against the director, who fled to France from the United States in 1978 after admitting to the statutory rape of a 13-year-old girl.

Here is a summary of the accusations concerning Polanski, whose award-winning film An Officer and a Spy is released in France next week.

 The US rape case

On March 11, 1977, the then 43-year-old Roman Polanski is arrested and accused of having drugged and raped a 13-year-old during a photo shoot the day before. He faces up to 50 years in prison.

He is charged later that month on five counts, including rape by use of drugs and committing a lewd and lascivious act on a child under 14.

In August, to avoid a trial, Polanski pleads guilty to a single, lesser charge of unlawful sexual intercourse, an agreement reached with the judge and with the consent of the victim’s family.

Sentenced to 90 days in prison, a psychiatric evaluation concludes he is not a danger and he is released after 42 days for good behaviour.

But the day before a hearing to approve the deal, the judge changes his mind, saying he thinks the sentence was insufficient.

On January 31, 1978, Polanski flees to Paris, making use of his French citizenship. The US issues an international arrest warrant.

Polanski has since paid US$225,000 (RM929,925) to the victim, Samantha Gailey (now Geimer), to end a civil suit.

US extradition bids

US authorities have on several occasions tried to have Polanski extradited to face trial.

On September 26, 2009, he is arrested in Zurich, Switzerland, on a US-issued international warrant. 

After two months in prison and eight months under house arrest at his chalet in Gstaad, in the Swiss Alps, Switzerland rejects the request in July 2010.

In 2014, Polanski is arrested in Warsaw, although Poland refuses to extradite him.

In 2016, Poland’s conservative government re-opens the case, but the Polish Supreme Court closes it in December. 

Despite requests from both Polanski and Geimer, in August 2017, a Los Angeles judge refuses to close the case.

Fresh accusations

At the Cannes Film Festival in 2010, 42-year-old British actress Charlotte Lewis alleges Polanski sexually abused her when she was 16 during a casting session at his home in 1983.

In August 2017, a second woman going by the name of “Robin” accuses Polanski of sexual aggression when she was 16, in 1973.

In September 2017, Renate Langer, a 61-year-old former actress, accuses Polanski of having raped her in 1972 in Gstaad when she was 15.

The following month, California artist Marianne Barnard accuses him of sexually assaulting her in 1975 after asking her to pose naked when she was just 10 years old.

In November 2017, Swiss prosecutors rule out bringing charges over the latest allegations because the statute of limitations for the assault has expired

Polanski’s lawyer says his client denies all the allegations against him.

Oscars outlaw

Plans for Polanski to preside over the Cesars, the French equivalent of the Oscars, are abandoned in 2017, amid the fall-out from “Me Too” movement that started with accusations of sexual assault against US producer Harvey Weinstein.

Although awarded the 2003 Best Director Oscar for The Pianist, Polanski is expelled from the US Academy of Motion Picture Arts and Sciences in 2018.

The same year, his wife, actor Emmanuelle Seigner, refuses an invitation to join the Academy in protest at her husband’s treatment.

The latest accusation

On November 8, 2019, French newspaper Le Parisien carries allegations against Polanski from French former model and actress Valentine Monnier.

She says he raped her at his chalet in the Swiss ski resort at Gstaad when she was a teenager in 1975, when she was 18 years old.

While she did not file a complaint against him, she confided in two women at the time, both of whom confirmed her account to Le Parisien.

Polanski’s lawyer has said he “firmly denies all accusations of rape”. — AFP

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