Wednesday, June 11, 2008

Let Polanski Go!

Polanski victim wants case closed but no prison

By Michelle Nichols
Wednesday, June 4, 2008; 9:16 AM

NEW YORK (Reuters) - Oscar-winning movie director Roman Polanski should not have to serve time in prison for unlawfully having sex with a 13-year-old girl 30 years ago, the victim now says.

The French-Polish filmmaker fled the United States to France in 1978 before he was sentenced and Samantha Geimer, now 45 years old with three sons, said in an interview she wants the case resolved.

"I don't think he's a danger to society," said Geimer, who settled a confidential civil suit with Polanski more than 10 years ago. "I don't think he needs to be locked up forever and no one has ever come out ever besides me and accused him of anything."

A documentary, "Roman Polanski: Wanted and Desired," which debuted at the Sundance Film Festival and will air on U.S. cable channel HBO on Monday, throws the spotlight on the case.

"It was all so overwhelming," said Geimer, who lives in Hawaii and works as a personal assistant and bookkeeper. "I think we just wanted it to be over and sending him to jail was not going to help it be over.

"What happened that night, it's hard to believe, but it paled in comparison to what happened to me in the next year of my life," she said of the media frenzy surrounding the trial, adding that she was relieved when Polanski fled because the media attention died down.

The filmmaker, now 74, was charged with several counts, including rape by use of drugs, but in a deal pleaded guilty to unlawful sex with a minor, a crime committed during a photo session with Geimer. He bolted to France, where he is a citizen and cannot be extradited by the United States, before he was sentenced.


Polanski, who directed "Rosemary's Baby" and "Chinatown," already had spent 42 days in a prison for a psychiatric evaluation before his sentencing.

"I think he's sorry, I think he knows it was wrong," Geimer said. "He should have been given time served ... he needs to make a deal to be treated fairly when he gets back here and with his celebrity I think that's going to be hard."

At the time of the court case, psychiatric experts did not consider Polanski a sexual predator and both the defense and prosecution believed probation would be sufficient punishment.

Documentary director Marina Zenovich tracked down Polanski's lawyer, Geimer, her attorney, law enforcement officials, film industry colleagues and reporters who covered the case, among others to dig deeper into the case.

They all revealed troubling behavior by the judge, now deceased, who was so driven by media coverage that he kept a scrapbook of clippings. The film implied that Polanski fled because he feared unfair treatment amid the media frenzy.

Polanski, whose pregnant wife, actress Sharon Tate, was murdered by followers of Charles Manson in 1969, rebuilt his life and career in France and in 2003 won a best director Oscar for "The Pianist."

He declined to be interviewed by Zenovich for the documentary, which used archival interview footage.

"It was 30 years ago now," said Geimer, adding that she had spoken about it so often she was emotionally detached. "It's an unpleasant memory ... (but) I can live with it."

(Editing by Mark Egan and Bill Trott)


Pristash said...

From my last comment from the Col's previous post:

Ok, so who saw the Polanski doc on HBO? I did last night. My first reaction: what a weenie, if he had just served his 48 more days in jail, all this would be behind him and he could have lived in LA peacefully. But then they did mention that other prisoners don't like child molesters very much, of which he would be considered one, so I guess he really did fear for his life. Then, at the end, it says he was promised no prison time if he came back and appeared in LA court, but he refuses because they can't guarantee it wouldn't be televised. I'm not sure why he would care about that so much at this point, but I am not him. Then, the victim protests that everybody always asks, "where was your mother? What was she thinking, leaving you alone with him?" and she says leave her mother alone, they don't know her mother, which I say "WHERE WAS YOUR MOTHER? WHAT WAS SHE THINKING LEAVING YOU ALONE WITH HIM?!!?!" Finally, freaking Vannatter of OJ fame was involved in this case too! I can't believe you California people have to pay taxes that goes to this guy's pension! Does anybody know if he had any involvement in the TLB investigation? What a waste!

A.C. Fisher Aldag said...

This is completely, totally off topic, for which I apologize in advance.

Does anyone know if there is any connection between Charles Manson and Richard Nixon, besides Nixon declaring Manson guilty in the middle of the trial?

I'm talking about perhaps when Nixon was an attorney in CA, he may have prosecuted a trial involving Manson, or something like that. Or when Nixon was a representative, did he have any contact with Manson.

Appropos of nothing.

ColScott said...

your viewing comprehension is off
the doc makes it clear that even if he did the 48 days the judge could not be trusted

zoomjaw said...

Roman Polanski should have been prosecuted and sent to prison.He is no different or better than anyone else.He should not get any special treatment because of his wifes murder.The two cases are not related.

Marliese said...

When it comes to this awful case, why is there always so much reluctance to state an opinion based on the facts as they transpired?

The victim's mother didn't want her daughter testifying, the prosecution agreed to a plea deal to avoid a trial, Polanski pleaded guilty to the charge set forth in the plea agreement, he did the agreed lock up as ordered for the psych evaluation, the probation and psych reports said he was not a mentally disordered sex offender. So why isn't the judge held accountable for indicating he was pulling the plea agreement? Plea agreements are business as usual in courts everywhere for "anyone else" but unlike anyone else, they aren't tossed by the judge. Polanski admitted wrongdoing by pleading guilty of the charge asked of him, yet he's spoken of as though he skipped before he was arrested and charged...
I'm not excusing his behavior with a 13 year old, but he agreed to a plea deal, and it should have been honored or not offered and agreed to by the judge at the outset of the proceedings. His apparent reason for pulling it wasn't valid. He didn't commit another crime, he went out for a drink.

Jean Harlow said...

Is it just me or does the victim seem to enjoy the publicity over this case even though she says she wishes it would go away?

I mean she gives interviews to Inside Edition, Larry King Live etc. and then there are pictures at the HBO premiere of the documentary with the filmmaker? Plus she uses her real name not an alias?

Just my opinion and no I am not saying that she and her family did not suffer terribly from this terrible event... it just strikes me as odd.


Jean Harlow said...
This comment has been removed by the author.
Jean Harlow said...

sorry for the double comment

Pristash said...

Zoomjaw, that's exactly the point...the only special treatment being given to Polanski was not in his favor. His attorney researched and found that no one in California for the previous year had been sentenced to jail time for unlawful intercourse, yet the judge was insisting on jail time for Polanski, probably because of his celebrity.

Col, I get the judge was a whack job, but I probably would have taken my chances so I could remain in sunny SoCal instead of fleeing to the country.

Pristash said...

I meant, of course, fleeing the country.

zoomjaw said...

I think anyone getting a plea bargain is getting a favorable deal.You are right however to question the judges actions.He seemed like he had issues.

Marliese said...

I wonder if the mother set up the provocative school girl photos?

Jean, agree with you...not saying she didn't suffer terribly, and that what was done to her was not a crime but why does she seek publicity now? It's not a good look for her to ask that her mother be given a break.

Could the defense have asked for a new judge? Or if it had proceeded to the conclusion, could the outcome have been appealed based on the inconsistencies of the judge?

Pristash said...

I just read a new account, from a couple of years ago, where she says someone was supposed to chaperone her, but that Roman said it would be better if she came alone...and that her mother had no idea she was going unsupervised.