Berliner TageBlatt - Roman Polanski: One rape case and multiple assault claims

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Roman Polanski: One rape case and multiple assault claims
Roman Polanski: One rape case and multiple assault claims / Foto: © AFP

Roman Polanski: One rape case and multiple assault claims

Veteran Franco-Polish filmmaker Roman Polanski, ordered to stand trial in France for defamation of a British actress who accused him of sexual abuse, has been on the run from US authorities for over four decades.


Polanski fled the US in 1978 before being sentenced for the statutory rape of a 13-year-old girl. He settled in his native France, which has refused to extradite him back to the US. Attempts to get Switzerland and Poland to hand him over also failed.

In recent years the 89-year-old has been targeted by several other allegations of sexual abuse of minors, one as young as 10.

Here is a summary of the cases taken, and claims made against the Oscar-winning director of "Chinatown", "Rosemary's Baby" and "The Pianist".

- US rape case -

On March 10, 1977, Polanski, then aged 43, invites 13-year-old Samantha Gailey (now Samantha Geimer) to take part in a fashion shoot at the Hollywood home of actor Jack Nicholson.

The girl tells her mother that Polanski plied her with alcohol and drugs and raped her. Polanski is arrested and tried on charges including rape and sodomy. He initially pleads not guilty, but under a plea bargain agreement, admits to unlawful sex with a minor.

Sentenced to 90 days in prison, he is released after 42 days for good behaviour but the judge later changes his mind, saying he thinks the sentence was insufficient.

Fearing a hefty sentence, Polanski flees the US on the eve of the January 1978 hearing to approve the plea deal and settles in France, which refuses an extradition request.

In 1994, he reaches an agreement to pay Geimer $225,000 dollars in damages to settle a civil case. But California refuses an appeal by both the film-maker and his victim to lift the criminal charges.

In September 2009, he is arrested in the Swiss city of Zurich.

He spends two months behind bars followed by eight months under house arrest in his ski chalet in the resort of Gstaad while Swiss authorities consider a US extradition request.

They eventually decide against handing him over and Polanski is freed.

In 2014, he is questioned by authorities in Poland, again at the request of the US, but Polish authorities decline to extradite him.

- British actress -

In May 2010, at the Cannes film festival, a 42-year-old British actress, Charlotte Lewis, alleges that Polanski sexually abused her at a casting when she was 16.

In an interview with Paris Match magazine Polanski calls her a "liar" and a "fabulist".

In late August 2022, the Paris criminal court orders him to stand trial for defamation.

- Other accusers -

Between 2017 and 2019, four other women come forward with claims that Polanski abused them as minors.

In August, a woman identified as Robin M, claims at a news conference in Los Angeles that Polanski had sexually assaulted her in 1973 when she was 16.

In September, former German actress Renate Langer reports to Swiss police that Polanski raped her at his Swiss home in 1972 when she was 15. Swiss prosecutors rule out bringing charges because the statute of limitations has expired.

And month later, 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 2019, French photographer Valentine Monnier accuses Polanski of raping her at his Swiss chalet in 1975 when she was an 18-year-old actress, saying he tried to give her a pill as he beat her "into submission".

Monnier did not file a complaint but two women in whom she confided at the time confirmed her account to Le Parisien newspaper.

Polanski has denied all the allegations.