The world-renowned director has issued a belated apology to Samantha Geimer, 36 years after he fled the United States after a Santa Monica judge wrongly decided to send him back to prison after serving a prison sentence for statutory rape.
We’ve written extensively about the case, and about the outrageous conduct of Los Angeles County Superior Court Judge Laurence J. Rittenband.
But Polanski admitted in court that he had sex with the then-13-year-old Geimer at actor Jack Nicholson’s Coldwater Canyon home during a photographic session for the French edition of Vogue.
In a plea bargain accepted by the judge, prosecutor, defense attorney, and Geimer’s family, Polanski agreed to be incarcerated at the state prison in Chino under the guise of a psychiatric evaluation.
The state psychiatrist, a court-appointed psychiatrist, and the Los Angeles County Probation Department all agreed that Polanski shouldn’t receive additional incarceration, but after hearing complaints from the wives of friends who belonged to the Hillcrest County Club, Rittenband decided to send Polanski back to prison, in violation of both judicial ethics and the plea bargain.
In the years since, the details of the case have been revealed, most notably in Maria Zenovich’s documentary Roman Polanski, Wanted and Desired, is which we appear.
But in all the years since the events in Santa Monica, Polanski has kept silent about the case.
From Scott Roxborough of The Hollywood Reporter:
Director Roman Polanski publicly apologized to Samantha Greimer [sic], the woman he sexually assaulted 33 years ago, in a new documentary that had its world premiere Tuesday at the Zurich Film Festival.
“She is a double victim: my victim and a victim of the press,” the Oscar-winning director says near the end of Laurent Bouzereau’s Roman Polanski: A Film Memoir.
But those hoping this new documentary would provide further evidence for or against Polanski in the case that led him to flee America back in 1978 will be disappointed. The film, shot while Polanski was under house arrest in Switzerland two years ago awaiting possible extradition, offers little new information not already in the public record.
We agree with Polanski.
Polanski was guilty of a crime, and plead guilty, serving a sentence in state prison. Geimer and her family were relentlessly pursued by the press, especially the Hollywood foreign press corps. One reporter offered esnl $25,000 for a location where they could “ambush” the teenager for photos and an interview. We declined.
Geimer and her family were the subjects of endless and often scurrilous tabloid speculation, as was Polanski himself.
Neither the Los Angeles District Attorney’s office nor the courts will acknowledge the great miscarraiges of justice that led Switzerland to deny extradition after they arrested Polanski on an Interpol hold after he arrived in the country to receive the Lifteime Achievement Award from the Zurich Film Festival — an award he finally received last night to a standing ovation.