Polanski rape victim asks judge to close 1977 case as 'act of mercy'

Javier Tovar, Agence France-Presse

Posted at Jun 10 2017 08:24 AM

LOS ANGELES, United States – An American woman raped by filmmaker Roman Polanski as a teenager four decades ago pleaded with a California judge on Friday to end the case so she could move on with her life.

Samantha Geimer, who was 13 at the time of the assault in 1977, said she has been serving a 40-year sentence that has kept a cloud over her and her family.

"I would implore you to consider taking action which would finally bring this matter to a close as an act of mercy for myself and my family," the 54-year-old told Los Angeles Superior Court Judge Scott Gordon, reading from a statement.

"I do not want to have to explain to my granddaughter why she can't go outside or answer the phone, or why there are cameras outside the home and eventually what happened to her nana in 1977," she said.

Geimer's testimony marked the first time she has appeared in court in the drawn-out case involving the 83-year-old Oscar-winning filmmaker, who fled to his native France in 1978 and has been engaged in a legal battle to avoid further jail time if he returns to the United States.

Geimer, who now lives in Hawaii and was accompanied to Friday's hearing by her husband of nearly 30 years, told the judge he could explore various avenues to settle the matter, including dismissing it, sentencing Polanski to time served or recalling an international arrest warrant against the director.

She said Gordon could also unseal documents that Polanski claims prove he had struck a deal with the initial judge in the case.

The Los Angeles judge commended Geimer for speaking out, telling her: "Your words mean a lot to this court."

- Treated as 'lying gold diggers' –

Geimer, who has three sons, has said in the past that she has forgiven Polanski.

Following the hearing, Geimer told reporters she empathized with the filmmaker, who was now facing the same type of abuse that she endured after the assault.

"When this happened, my mother and I were (treated) as lying gold diggers who were attacking poor unfortunate Roman. It was a much different story," she said.

"Now everyone calls him a pedophile and says terrible things about him that aren't true."

The director of "Rosemary's Baby" and "Chinatown" was accused of drugging the 13-year-old Geimer before raping her at the house of film star Jack Nicholson in Los Angeles.

Polanski admitted statutory rape after the more serious charges that he drugged, raped and sodomized the teen were dropped, and spent 42 days in custody to undergo psychiatric evaluation before being released.

His attorney Harland Braun also filed a motion to dismiss the case on Friday saying his client had served time for his crime.

The prosecutor objected to the motion.

The director claims that he was promised that the six weeks he spent in custody would be the only time he would serve.

But in 1978, convinced the judge was going to scrap his plea deal and send him to prison for up to 50 years, he fled to France.

Polanski -- who is married to French actress Emmanuelle Seigner, with whom he has two children -- has since refused to return to the United States without assurances that he would not serve additional time in prison.

For decades, he has been engaged in a cat and mouse game with US authorities as they unsuccessfully sought to have him extradited from various countries.

He was arrested in Switzerland in 2009 and placed under house arrest for nearly a year while fighting extradition.

Polanski reportedly wants to return to the United States to visit the grave of his late wife Sharon Tate, who was murdered in 1969 by members of the Charles Manson family when she was eight months pregnant.

© Agence France-Presse