Polanski sex assault victim tells her story in memoir

Polanski sex assault victim tells her story in memoir
Samantha Geimer

NEW YORK CITY - The woman sexually assaulted by filmmaker Roman Polanski 36 years ago, when she was a girl of 13, has published her memoir, saying it was time to "take back ownership of my own story."

"The Girl: A Life Lived in the Shadow of Roman Polanski," co-written by American Samantha Geimer, now 50, and her lawyer, details her account of the events of March 10, 1977, for which Polanski was initially charged with six felony counts, including rape and sodomy, before he accepted a plea deal.

In the book, Geimer described how Polanski - who fled the United States before he could be sentenced - had her pose for photos as he plied her with champagne and drugs, and then had sex with her, in Jack Nicholson's Hollywood home.

Under the effects of the alcohol and the drug, and overwhelmed by the star power of the successful directer and his greater age, Geimer said she did not try to fight him off.

"Why fight?" she wrote. "I'll do pretty much anything to get this over with."

She described her fear and her tears later in the car as Polanski drove her home and asked her if she was okay and told her not to tell her mother.

"I got my pics taken by Roman Polanski and he raped me. Fuck," she wrote after that night in her diary, according to the book.

She pressed charges, becoming the focus of a media and police storm, which prompted her, she wrote, to wish she'd never told anyone what happened.

"Somehow, what had happened - as bad as it was - was not going to be as bad as what was coming," Geimer wrote.

"I ran into the two-headed monster of the California criminal justice system and its corrupt players, whose lust for publicity overwhelmed their concern with justice."

At age 13, "My crime? Being the rape victim of a Hollywood celebrity."

Now a mother of three, Geimer said she harbors no hate or rage for her attacker.

"My family never asked that Polanski be punished. We just wanted the legal machine to stop."

And Geimer repeated that she ultimately forgave Polanski, not for him, but for herself, and denounced those who describe her as a "victim," a label she rejects.

"So much has been written about the Polanski case, but none of it has been written by me, the person at the centre of it," she said, explaining her motivation for the memoir.

She also included a short letter Polanski sent her in 2009, in which the fugitive filmmaker said he wanted her "to know how sorry I am for having so affected your life."

After pleading guilty to unlawful sex with a minor, Polanski served 42 days at a secure unit undergoing psychiatric evaluation.

But the Franco-Polish director, now 80, fled the United States on the eve of his sentencing in 1978 amid fears the trial judge planned to go back on a previously agreed deal.

In 2009, he was arrested again in Switzerland as the US sought extradition.

But he was ultimately freed by Swiss authorities who said the US justice department failed to provide records of a hearing in which Polanski claimed his case had been settled and sentence agreed.

Geimer's book, accompanied by several black and white photos taken in 1977 by Polanski, is set for release in France on October 3.

Purchase this article for republication.

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