Roman Polanski to face trial in US on rape lawsuit in 2025

Roman Polanski to face trial in US on rape lawsuit in 2025
Roman Polanski to face trial in US on rape lawsuit in 2025 Copyright AP Photo
By David Mouriquand
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Director Roman Polanski is sued over more allegations of sexual assault. He will face a civil trial in Los Angeles in 2025 for allegedly raping a teenager in 1973.

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A woman has sued director Roman Polanski, alleging he raped her in his home when she was a minor in 1973.

The woman aired the allegations, which the 90-year-old Polanski has denied, in a news conference with her attorney, Gloria Allred, who has represented the victims of Jeffery Epstein and Bill Cosby, on Tuesday (12 March).

The account is similar to the still-unresolved Los Angeles criminal sexual assault case that prompted Polanski in 1978 to flee to Europe, where he has remained since.

The unnamed plaintiff who filed the civil lawsuit said she went to dinner with Polanski, who knew she was under 18, in 1973, months after she had met him at a party. She said Polanski gave her tequila shots at his home beforehand and at the restaurant. She said she became groggy, and Polanski drove her home. She next remembers lying next to him in his bed.

“He told her that he wanted to have sex with her,” the lawsuit says. “Plaintiff, though groggy, told Defendant ‘No.’ She told him, ‘Please don’t do this.’ He ignored her pleas. Defendant Polanski removed Plaintiff’s clothes and he proceeded to rape her causing her tremendous physical and emotional pain and suffering.”

The woman first came forward at a press conference with Gloria Allred in August 2017. 

At the time, Allred said the plaintiff, then identified as Robin M., was 16 when the sexual assault occurred. She filed the lawsuit, using the name Jane Doe, in June 2023 under a California law that extends the statute of limitations for child sexual abuse. Polanski was served with the lawsuit at his home in Paris.

Allred and the plaintiff held another press conference Tuesday morning to discuss the case.

“It took me a really long time to decide this suit against Mr. Polanski,” the plaintiff said, adding that she ultimately did so “to obtain justice and accountability.”

The Santa Monica judge has set an August 2025 trial date.

The Academie des Césars headquarters in France - the graffiti reads "Violanski, César awards of shame," playing on the French word for rape – "viol" – and Polanski's name
The Academie des Césars headquarters in France - the graffiti reads "Violanski, César awards of shame," playing on the French word for rape – "viol" – and Polanski's nameTHIBAULT CAMUS / AP

At least three other women have come forward with stories of Polanski sexually abusing them.

In 1977, he was charged with drugging and raping a 13-year-old girl, Samantha Geimer. He reached an agreement with prosecutors that he would plead guilty to a lesser charge of unlawful sexual intercourse and would not have to go to prison beyond the jail time he had already served. But Polanski feared that the judge was going to renege on the agreement before it was finalized and in 1978 fled to Europe. 

According to transcripts unsealed in 2022, a prosecutor testified that the judge had in fact planned to reject the deal.

Polanski's lawyers have been fighting for years to end the case and lift an international arrest warrant that confined him to his native France, Switzerland and Poland, where authorities have rejected US requests for his extradition. He continued making films and won an Oscar for Best Director for The Pianist in 2003. But the Academy of Motion Picture Arts and Sciences expelled him in 2018 after the #MeToo movement gained momentum.

Last week, Geimer asked an LA judge to drop the case against the director. She has said that Polanski regrets what happened. “I would implore you to finally bring this to a close as an act of mercy to myself and my family,” Geimer said.

The director of Rosemary’s Baby and Chinatown remains a divisive figure, with some in the movie world hailing his creative genius, while others insist he was always a sexual predator.

He is currently facing a defamation trial in Paris. In that case, British actor Charlotte Lewis alleges that Polanski defamed her when he called her sexual assault allegations a “heinous lie.” Lewis has accused Polanski of assaulting her in 1983, when she was 16 years old.

Polanski has in recent years kept a very low profile, his latest film The Palace premiering without him at the Venice Film Festival last summer.

Additional sources • AP

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