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Roman Polanski’s Rape Victim Urges Court to Drop 40-Year-Old Case

Variety logo Variety 6/9/2017 Gene Maddaus
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Samantha Geimer, who was raped at 13 by director Roman Polanski, urged a judge on Friday to resolve the 40-year-old case.

“I would implore you to finally bring this to a close as an act of mercy to myself and my family,” Geimer told L.A. Superior Court Judge Scott Gordon. “We are human beings, not wins and losses.”

Polanski pleaded guilty to raping Geimer in 1979, but fled the country before sentencing. He has lived as a fugitive abroad ever since, and is now seeking to dispose of the case so that he can travel without fear of arrest.

In April, Gordon rejected Polanski’s latest effort to be tried in absentia, ruling that Polanski must first return to the U.S. and submit to the court’s jurisdiction before the case can be resolved. Polanski has made several earlier attempts to get the case dismissed, without success.

Geimer said this was the first time she has been allowed to address the court in the long history of the case. Over the years, she has repeatedly expressed her wish that the case come to an end, and has said that the media circus was worse than the rape.

“He got arrested. I knew he was sorry the next day,” she said after the hearing. “I was sure he instantly regretted what he had done and wished it hadn’t happened. It just wasn’t as traumatic for me as everyone would like to believe it was. I was a young sexually active teenager and it was a scary thing, but it was not an uncommon thing. I understood much worse things happened to people. So, I was just not as traumatized as everybody thinks I should have been.”

Geimer also resisted the idea that Polanski was a pedophile.

“I was almost 14,” she said. “I wasn’t 10.”

Geimer said she felt her own feelings about the case don’t matter to the court.

“Everyone’s entitled to their opinion,” she said. “I was there. I am fine. I don’t think that I should be forced to lay my feelings bare and have a pity party for myself just for people’s entertainment, and I’m not going to do it. I am fine.”

In court, Gordon thanked Geimer for appearing and praised her courage as a survivor of sexual assault.

“Closure is something you deserve,” he said. “There is a person who holds the key to that closure very clearly. Mr. Polanski’s made the decisions he’s made.”

Polanski’s attorney, Harland Braun, is seeking the release of a sealed transcript of testimony from former prosecutor Roger Gunson, which he believes will show that Polanski was mistreated by the court in 1979.

Gordon appeared frustrated with Braun, repeatedly advising him not to relitigate issues that had already been decided. At one point, Braun said he had “done everything I can to resolve this case.”

“Well, with one exception,” Gordon replied, suggesting that Polanski do what young men and women “do every day in this court” and come in for sentencing.

When Braun suggested that L.A. Superior Court judges had engaged in behind-the-scenes misconduct against Polanski, Gordon became visibly irritated.

“He was angry with me,” Braun said outside court. “I think he was about ready to unload on me and thought better of it… Judge Gordon is like every other judge. They’re trying to cover for the other judges.”

Gordon said he would issue a written ruling on the release of the Gunson transcript.

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