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Third woman claims she was sexually assaulted by Roman Polanski when she was a teen

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Roman Polanski appears at the 2014 Cannes Film Festival in France. The famed film director has been accused by another woman of sexually assaulting her when she was a minor.
(Valery Hache / AFP/Getty Images )

For years, the victim at the center of Roman Polanski’s sexual assault case has urged Los Angeles authorities to end the drawn-out legal saga, for her sake and for the sake of the movie director.

But when Samantha Geimer spoke sympathetically this year about Polanski before a scrum of reporters outside a Los Angeles courthouse, a woman who also claims be one of his victims was paying close attention.

She was not happy with Geimer’s forgiving attitude.

On Tuesday, she went public with her claim that Polanski sexually victimized her in 1973 when she was 16. She said she was speaking out after so many years of silence because Geimer’s remarks “infuriated” her.

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“I am not over it, and I certainly believe that Roman Polanski should be held accountable for his criminal conduct with Samantha Geimer,” said the woman, 59, who would give only her first name, Robin. She spoke at a news conference at the Los Angeles office of her attorney, Gloria Allred.

Geimer has long argued that prosecutors should sentence Polanski, 83, to time served. She was a 13-year-old junior high student when Polanski, then 43, took her to Jack Nicholson’s house for a photo shoot. He gave her champagne and part of a Quaalude pill and, according to testimony from Geimer soon afterward, forced her to have sex with him.

The director pleaded guilty in 1977 to having sex with a minor and fled to Europe before his sentencing.

Intense media scrutiny has shaped Geimer’s life since, and she wants to be left alone. Letting Polanski go would be “an act of mercy to myself and my family,” Geimer said after testifying in the case on June 9. She said she also felt “empathy for the way he’s treated,” particularly how he has been called a pedophile, a description she said is untrue.

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From her home in Hawaii, Geimer said Tuesday that she was outraged by Robin’s criticism of her.

“My life is not a bandwagon,” Geimer said. “They want to completely disregard the misery and hell I’ve been through with that court case and somehow tack on to it at the end of 40 years and get a little bit of justice for themselves?”

Robin would not provide details about what Polanski allegedly did to her or how she became acquainted with him.

Reading a statement, she said she told a friend about the incident the next day, then did not speak to anyone else about it for more than 40 years. She initially feared that her father would “do something that might cause him to go to prison for the rest of his life,” she said.

She is the third woman to come forward with similar allegations about Polanski, who directed movies such as “Rosemary’s Baby” and “Chinatown” and whose wife and unborn child were murdered by the Manson family in 1969.

In 2010, British actress Charlotte Lewis, who appeared in Polanski’s 1986 film “Pirates,” accused him of “forcing himself” on her in 1982 in Paris when she was 16. She also was represented by Allred.

Allred said Robin reported her allegations to law enforcement this year, even though the deadline for filing criminal charges has passed. That would help lay the groundwork for Robin to testify if Polanski withdraws his guilty plea and goes to trial, Allred said, adding that she hopes other victims will come forward.

Robin has no immediate plans to file a civil lawsuit, Allred said.

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“While we understand that Ms. Geimer would like this case to end, Robin and I feel that it is very important that Mr. Polanski returns to court in California to be sentenced,” Allred said. “An exception should not be made for a Hollywood film director, and it would be wrong for the court to appear to give special treatment to Mr. Polanski.”

In April, a Los Angeles County judge denied Polanski’s latest effort to resolve the 40-year-old statutory rape case, saying that the filmmaker cannot be sentenced in absentia because he remains a fugitive from justice.

Polanski’s attorney, Harland Braun, said Allred’s client “has no business interfering with Mrs. Geimer’s life and opinion.”

“This should be a no-brainer. This case should be over,” he said, adding that Polanski, who continues to live in exile in Europe, will not withdraw his plea.

Braun said that until Tuesday’s news conference, he did not know about Robin or any sexual allegations against Polanski from 1973.

After reaching a deal with prosecutors, Polanski was sent to a state prison for a 90-day diagnostic evaluation. Judge Laurence Rittenband, who was presiding over the case at the time, said the evaluation would help him reach a fair sentencing decision. The director was released after 42 days, with prison officials saying he did not need additional prison time.

Rittenband, facing fierce media pressure, went against the recommendation and decided to send Polanski back to prison for an additional 48 days.

Polanski then boarded a plane to Europe and never returned.

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In 1993, Polanski settled a civil lawsuit with Geimer, agreeing to pay her $500,000 plus interest.

As the decades have worn on, two portraits of Polanski have emerged. Many still shun him as a criminal who fled from justice. But some in Hollywood have argued that he was treated unfairly by a judge who wanted to make an example of a powerful filmmaker.

As the victim, Geimer has the right to be heard, but the criminal case was filed in the name of the people of California, Allred said.

“It is the judge who decides the sentence, not the victim,” she said.

cindy.chang@latimes.com

For more news on the Los Angeles Police Department, follow me on Twitter: @cindychangLA


UPDATES:

Aug. 16, 2:20 p.m.: This article was updated with the amount of the settlement that Polanski agreed to pay Geimer.

7:18 p.m.: This article was updated with comments from Geimer and additional comments from Polanski’s attorney, Gloria Allred and her client.

This article was originally published at 1:25 p.m.


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