Roman Polanski Denied Request To Have Sexual Abuse Case Resolved
On Monday, a Los Angeles County judge denied a request from film director Roman Polanski that his decades-old sexual abuse case be resolved in his absence.
Judge Scott M. Gordon of the Superior Court of Los Angeles County denied the motion the French director was seeking that would have guaranteed that he would not service jail time if he returned to the U.S.
Polanski fled the country in 1978 after admitting to having unlawful sex with then 13-year-old Samantha Jane Gailey (now Samantha Geimer). The grand jury had charged Polanski with five charges: rape by use of drugs, perversion, sodomy, lewd and lascivious act upon a child under fourteen, and furnishing a controlled substance to a minor.
He was charged in 1977 by the grand jury, and he later pled guilty to the charge of statutory rape. He served in prison for 42 days, before being released and put on probation as part of a plea bargain. When Polanski learned that the judge had changed his mind and would reject the plea bargain, the director fled to Paris before sentencing.
Polanski continued to make films in Europe, including Tess (1979), which won France’s Cesar Awards for Best Picture and Best Director, and received three Oscars. He went on to produce and direct The Pianist, starring Adrien Brody, which won three Academy Awards, including Best Director.
On Monday, Judge Gordon rejected the motion by Polanski’s lawyers to resolve the 40-year-old statutory rape case, stating there was insufficient reason for reconsideration.
Polanski’s lawyer, Harlan Braun, had asked the L.A. court to consider the 42 days Polanski had spent in a California jail, along with 300 days in custody while going through extradition in Switzerland as time already served. Braun used this as the argument that Polanski should not have to serve more jail time in the United States.
His lawyer claimed that based on the standards in 1970s, his client would have faced a maximum of 12 months for the crime committed, and thus has already served out most of that time. Braun also sought for the lifting of Polanski’s arrest warrant, which was issued in 1978.
Geimer, who had years ago identified herself as the victim, said she was taken advantage of and made to have sex. She has also urged for the matter to be dropped.
A hearing will be held on April 26 to consider a piece of testimony the filmmaker is attempting to unseal.