A woman identifying herself as “Robin M.” accused filmmaker Roman Polanski of “sexually victimizing” her at a press conference in Los Angeles on Tuesday, according to a report by USA Today. The new accusation comes as the director is awaiting a decision on a request for the dismissal of the 1977 unlawful sex case that has kept him in exile from the United States for decades.
Polanski fled the country in 1978, concerned that an earlier plea bargain would be overturned. The “Chinatown” director pled guilty to drugging and raping then 13-year old Samantha Geimer at the home of actor Jack Nicholson. He agreed to plead guilty after more severe charges were dropped and spent 48 days in custody, but fled when he feared that the authorities would reject his guilty plea and subject him to extended jail time. In 2010, he was held under house arrest in Switzerland before a US extradition case was rejected. In 2016, Poland’s supreme court rejected another American request to extradite the director.
Earlier this year, a California judge denied a request by Polanski’s legal team to permanently close the case. In June, Geimer herself requested the case be closed. Following testimony introduced by Polanski’s lawyer Harland Braun, she told reporters, “If I were standing here saying throw the book at him, just put him in jail for life, my opinion would count.”
Robin M. said that she decided to come forward because she was “infuriated” by Geimer’s decision, and would be willing to testify herself should the Geimer case ever be brought to court. “I am speaking out now so that Samantha and the world will know that she is not the only minor Roman Polanski victimized.” She maintains that Polanski assulted her in 1973, when she was 16. The press conference was organized by attorney, Gloria Allred, who is known for her handling of high-profile cases, often involving famous and privileged men. She recently made news for representing 33 women who have accused Bill Cosby of rape, as well as multiple women who have accused President Donald Trump of sexual misconduct.
Braun provided the response from Polanski’s legal team. “If you have a position, you come to court and you file it. Why have a news conference? … The only purpose is to generate publicity and maybe try to influence a judge.”
The director’s case has been a consistent magnet for controversy. An acclaimed filmmaker with an almost unbelievably dramatic life story – he escaped the Holocaust as a child and lost his wife to the 1969 Manson murders – he continues to draw widespread support from among the Hollywood elect. His trial was the subject of the 2008 film “Roman Polanski: Wanted and Desired,” which was sympathetic to the filmmaker. In 2010, British actor Charlotte Lewis alleged that Polanski assaulted her when she was 16, prior to her work on his 1986 film “Pirates.”
It’s unclear if Robin M.’s statements will impact the director’s present case, or if she will ever have the opportunity to testify in court. Polanski turns 84 on Friday.
Daniel Witkin is the Forward’s Arts and Culture Intern. Reach him at firstname.lastname@example.org or on Twitter, @dzwitkin.