Fugitive film director Roman Polanski has failed in his bid to get his 40-year-old sex assault case dismissed so he can return to the US despite support from his victim.
Samantha Geimer, who was 13 when he is said to have plied her with champagne and a sedative, had asked the court to end her suffering in an “act of mercy” by ceasing the attempt to bring the Oscar-winner to justice.
But on Friday, Polanski’s 84th birthday, Los Angeles Superior Court’s Judge Scott Gordon dismissed the director’s request and said he must return for sentencing. Judge Gordon said it is established the case cannot be rejected “merely because it would be in the victim’s best interest” and added that her testimony was “dramatic evidence” of the persisting damaged Polanski caused.
“As eloquently described by Ms Geimer, his conduct continues to harm her and compounds the trauma of the sexual assault committed against her that gave rise to this case,” he said. In June, Ms Geimer, 54, made her first appeal to a court when she urged the action to be ended so she could move on from her own “40-year sentence”.
Harland Braun, Polanski’s lawyer, said he was “disappointed but not surprised” by the latest ruling and said his client would not be returning. Polanski, who won a best director Oscar for The Pianist, has been in self-imposed exile since he fled the States in 1978, fearing a judge would extend his sentence after he served 42 days in jail.
He pleaded guilty to the lesser charge of having unlawful sex with Ms Geimer in 1977 at the Hollywood Hills home of Jack Nicholson, who was not there at the time. Prosecutors dropped charges of rape and sodomy against Polanski, who is currently living in Paris, France.
The judge’s decision comes days after a third woman, named only as Robin, came forward to accuse him of assaulting her as a minor. She told a press conference that she was “sexually victimised” by the director at the age of 16 in 1973.