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May 14, 2010

"New Victim Accuses Roman Polanski of 'Sexual Abuse'"

The title of this post is the headline of this remarkable new ABC News story, which adds another remarkable layer to the seemingly never-ending Roman Polanski sentencing saga.  Here is how the piece starts:

A British actress who starred in a Roman Polanski film charged today that the director "sexually abused" her when she was 16 years old in his Paris apartment.

The incident allegedly happened in 1982, four years after Polanski fled the United States to because he feared a California judge was going to send him to prison on charges he raped a 13-year-old girl.

"Mr. Polanski sexually abused me in the worst possible way when I was just 16, four years after he fled the U.S. to avoid sentencing for his crime," Charlotte Lewis, now 44, told reporters.  Four years later in 1986, Lewis starred in Polanski's comedy "Pirates."

Lewis did not provide any details of the alleged encounter, including whether she was given drugs or raped.  She did say there were "similarities" to the 1977 case, in which Polanski gave 13-year-old Samantha Geimer champagne and Quaaludes before raping and sodomizing her. "Mr. Polanski knew I was just 16 when he met me and forced himself on me ... in his apartment in Paris," she said.

Lewis did not report the incident to French authorities at the time, and said she came forward now only to provide additional information that a judge might consider if Polanski is extradited back to the United States.

"He victimized another child while a fugitive from justice....  The sentencing judge needs this information to make an informed decision," said Lewis' American lawyer Gloria Allred.  "The judge may consider predatory claims ... [which] could certainly have an impact on Polanski's sentencing."  Allred said Lewis had no plans at this time to sue Polanski and only came forward now that it appeared Polanski may soon return to the U.S. for sentencing

Though I have no interest at all in taking sides in the Polanski saga or in defending any aspect of Polanski's apparent affinity for under-age girls, I cannot help but find the timing of this breaking news to be notable.  Efforts to bring Polanski back for sentencing in California have been making headlines now for nearly a year, and yet only now are we learning about this important and potentially very significant new accusation of similar sexual abuse.  And, speaking of notable timing, I also cannot help but find interesting that Lewis starred in a Polanski movie four years after Polanski, according to Lewis, "sexually abused [her] in the worst possible way."

Let me be clear: I am not noting this timing to directly question Lewis's claims or to suggest in any way that women subject to sexual abuse, especially at the hands of a powerful man, would not have lots of reasons to avoid or delay reporting this abuse (and to continue associating with the abuser).  But it seems that this new allegation of long-ago sexual abuse would have been of great importance in the on-going legal dispute concerning Polanski's extradition, which started full-tilt last September and has already involved significant court rulings.  The goal of my comments above are to ponder (1) just why this significant accusation is coming out now, and also (2) whether the timing of this new accusation will be part of the discourse about its significance for Polanski's pending extradition and future sentencing.

May 14, 2010 at 04:13 PM | Permalink

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Comments

You might be misreading the article, Professor, if I'm reading it right.

"The incident allegedly happened in 1982, four years after Polanski fled the United States..." and " Four years later in 1986, Lewis starred in Polanski's comedy "Pirates."

So she apparently didn't star in the movie 4 years after her own abuse, but her abuse allegedly occurred 4 years after he fled when she stared in the new movie.

There are two other key words in the article: Gloria Allred.

Posted by: George | May 14, 2010 4:35:10 PM

hmmm can everyone say bull crap!

let's see she's a british actress living in paris but has an AMERICAN lawyer.

then there's this little statment!

"The incident allegedly happened in 1982, four years after Polanski fled the United States to because he feared a California judge was going to send him to prison on charges he raped a 13-year-old girl."

which is followed by this little bit of info!

"Charlotte Lewis, now 44, told reporters. Four years later in 1986, Lewis starred in Polanski's comedy "Pirates."

this women AND her lawyer need to be arrested and charged with fraud!


sorry i just can't see it. IF she was in fact raped and in a similar violant way as the first girl and see seems to indicate she knew about it. WHY would she EVER get near him again let alone do a movie with him.

And it only took her 24 YEARS to get the guts to come forward. PLEASE get real!

Posted by: rodsmith | May 14, 2010 4:37:37 PM

Wait, I read it wrong. From 1982 (alleged abuse) to 1986 (movie made) is four years.

Apologies.

Posted by: George | May 14, 2010 4:46:34 PM

yea that was a big sticking point for me as well. he rapes you and you go back and make a move with him 4 years later. sorry only reason i'd be getting that close to somewho who did something like that to me the headlines wouldnt' be talking about the move we made!

you'd be seeing them on the hideous way i killed him.

Posted by: rodsmith | May 14, 2010 11:07:50 PM

rodsmith "IF she was in fact raped and in a similar violant way as the first girl and see seems to indicate she knew about it. WHY would she EVER get near him again let alone do a movie with him."

me: two answers one serious and one joking. the serious answer is that men who victimize women and girls often are able to control them through various means. in the case of polanski that was the lure of fame and fortune. abusive men tend to destroy the woman's self esteem so that they think they are nothing without him. perhaps polanski threatened her - if not physically, then her career.

the joking answer is that maybe at the age of 20 she thought she was too old for polanski to be interested in her anymore :P

ginny :)

Posted by: virginia | May 15, 2010 5:38:37 PM

Age 14 marks a biological landmark of adulthood, true for 10,000 years of human history. The 19th Century left wing lawyer moved it to age 18, when nothing of any note takes place. He did so to remove competition from the labor market for his union clients, and to make work for high school teachers in government sinecures providing babysitting for 4 years at great taxpayer expense.

Posted by: Supremacy Claus | May 15, 2010 6:39:42 PM

I am compelled to agree with George: The two key words in the article are "Gloria Allred."

Obviously I'm no partisan of criminal perverts, from Polanski to Lawrence Taylor, but an accusation that comes so far after the alleged crime must be viewed with more than a little suspicion.

Posted by: Bill Otis | May 15, 2010 8:51:20 PM

I'm proud of you, Bill.

BTW: 30 years ago when I worked on the city desk at the Daily News in L.A. I recall Gloria Allred parading into the newsroom every so often with potentially news-worthy victims she'd attached herself to like a barnacle on a pier pillar.

Posted by: John K | May 15, 2010 11:15:31 PM

ginny!

"me: two answers one serious and one joking. the serious answer is that men who victimize women and girls often are able to control them through various means."

in this case all i can say is horse hockey! She didnt' live with him and nothing in this shows that she had any contact with him in the 4 years between the attack and the movie deal.

so from where i set the first response to anyone that might have suggested she make a movie with him should have started with "are you friggin nuts!" she could then have provided a reson why it was NEVER gonna happen.

Posted by: rodsmith | May 16, 2010 12:49:38 AM

It's really hard to believe that Polanski would ever force himself on a young girl. Are you people for real?! She has nothing to gain by this. It will not help her career, is she still has one, and will only hurt it. She can't sue.

The guy rapes her, acts like it is nothing out of the norm, everybody is acting like he's the victim of the California rape, etc. Does this mean that every kid raped by a parent or step parent is automatically lying because they didn't come forward immediately? Right.

Posted by: ed | May 16, 2010 10:11:33 AM

ed: "The guy rapes her, acts like it is nothing out of the norm..."

So much for the presumption of innocence.

Posted by: John K | May 16, 2010 11:13:15 AM

Yaps that was a big sticking point for me as well. He rapes you and you go back and make a move with him 4 years later. It looks very bad but this is true.

Posted by: software testing services | Jun 30, 2010 12:00:32 AM

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