Roman Polanski’s child rape victim Samantha Geimer successfully sued Polanski in the 1990s and reportedly received a civil settlement in excess of $500,000 from the fugitive director. However, she had difficulty collecting from him, and by the mid-1990s, she was owed over $600,000 — plus interest — from Polanski. According to the Los Angeles Times, she likely received her money by 1997, as that was the year she became a convert to his campaign seeking exoneration.
In May 1997, Geimer submitted a letter on Polanski’s behalf to a Los Angeles County Superior Court asking that the Polanski criminal case be settled.
She wrote, “It is also my opinion as the victim of this crime that the 42 days he has already served is excessive.” Her conversion to becoming a Polanski advocate was furthered by her association with a 2008 HBO biography ,
Roman Polanski: Wanted and Desired, portraying the convicted child rapist as victim. Geimer was photographed smiling before a poster for the documentary.
While Geimer, who is now in her 40s, has publicly declared Roman Polanski to be on the side of the angels, Lewis is not so forgiving. The picture that emerges of Polanski is one of a sexual predator as well as pedophile. Only in America (and apparently France and Switzerland) can such a man be portrayed as a victim of society after money has changed hands.
A Free Man
The Swiss federal minister of justice announced on Monday, July 12th, that the Swiss were releasing Polanski from house arrest. The Swiss fuzz had pinched him back in September on an outstanding warrant after he had arrived to receive an award at a film festival. Polanski is considered an international fugitive from justice, but was very careful in the past 32 years — since fleeing California rather than face a possibly jail term on statutory rape charges — of not traveling in countries like Britain that have extradition treaties with the United States.
During a celebrated libel case against Vanity Fair Magazine held in a London court, Polanski was allowed to testify via video hookup since he could not travel to England and open himself up to arrest. Ironically, he won the case even though the Vanity Fair barristers argued that he had no reputation to libel due his statutory rape conviction, the very legal problem that kept him from being in the London courthouse to defend himself in person.
Both France, where Polanski is a citizen, and Switzerland, where he owns a ski chalet in Gstaad, have extradition treaties with the U.S.; however, France seldom extradites its own citizens which is why Polanski lives in Paris. Switzerland is a country filled with law-breakers, typically of the financial kind (such as money-laundering) and it has allowed Polanski free egress over its borders for years. His arrest allegedly was done as an act of goodwill towards the Obama Administration, which is embroiled with the Swiss government over the Swiss bank UBS abetting tax-dodging by American citizens. Once negotiations over UBS broke down, the chances of Polanski’s being extradited to California became moot.
Los Angeles County District Attorney Steve Cooley declared that he was disappointed with the actions of the Swiss Justice Ministr. Cooley said that the Swiss decision to free Roman Polanski was a “disservice to justice and other victims as a whole.”
Cooley believes that the Swiss were looking for an excuse to free Polanski. The Swiss Justice Ministry demanded records from the U.S. Department of Justice about the deceased Los Angeles judge who oversaw the Polanski case. Polanski’s lawyers have charged the dead man with judicial misconduct, and the Swiss Justice Minister cited the failure of the U.S. to provide the records as a reason it set Polanski free.
The judge in question has not officially recognized as having done any wrong-doing.
The Swiss also declared that Polanski’s spending 42-days in California’s Chino State Prison for a psychiatric evaluation represented his having served his full sentence for the crime of statutory rape. In truth, the evaluation was a requirement before the judge could pass sentence.
Polanski reportedly fled the U.S. not for the reason he stated — that he feared the judge would give him 50 years in prison (under California law, statutory rape carries a sentence of one year at a county farm or up to 2-4 years in a state prison; Polanski likely would have done his time of a year or less in a county farm) — but because he feared being murdered in prison.
Steve Cooley must wait until Polanski is arrested again under the international warrant, which is unlikely as the director has been very canny in the past about his travels.
Wants it to End
After Polanski was arrested in Switzerland, Samantha Geimer’s attorney, Lawrence Silver, filed a motion with the California Court of Appeals court to drop the case against him. Later, in January 2010, Silver requested that prosecutors terminate their attempt to extradite Polanski. Geimer’s official request to dismiss the case against Polansi was denied in April 2010 on the grounds that she “has no right or authority to dictate the outcome of a criminal case.”
The fact is, Samantha Geimer wants the case to be dropped as she wants it over. In 2003, when Polanski was nominated for an Oscar as Best Director for The Pianist, she wrote an op-ed piece in the Los Angeles Times telling Academy Award voters they should vote for his work and not for the kind of man he was. She said she had gotten over the assault.
She made the same claim on the Larry King Show that year, in a joint appearance with her lawyer, Larry Rivers.
“Frankly, the phone is quiet for years,” Silver told King, “and then when something happens to Polanski, her and my phones ring.
Silver went on to claim, “If we could get the matter resolved, then people would pay attention to other things and not pay attention to this matter.”
“I got over it a long time ago,” Geimer told King. “I wasn’t prepared to carry a lot of bad feelings with me and further damage my life and continue the trauma of it.”
It is an opinion that she continues to give throughout the years.
Polanski won his Oscar and the phones didn’t ring again for another six years, until his arrest.
“Every time this case is brought to the attention of the Court, great focus is made of me, my family, my mother and others,” Geimer was quoted by CNN as saying. “That attention is not pleasant to experience and is not worth maintaining over some irrelevant legal nicety, the continuation of the case.”
Geimer is dismayed that she was ignored by District Attorney Steve Cooley before he went ahead and made his legal assault on Polanski, which once again thrust her into the news.
“My views as a victim, my feelings as a victim, or my desires as a victim were never considered or even inquired into by the district attorney prior to the filing,” MSNBC quoted her as saying in 2009. “It is clear to me that because the district attorney’s office has been accused of wrongdoing, it has recited the lurid details of the case to distract attention from the wrongful conduct of the district attorney’s office as well as the judge who was then assigned to the case.”
In July 2010, Yahoo! News quoted her as saying, “Enough is enough.”
Geimer cannot talk about her civil lawsuit under the terms of her settlement, but she insists that Polanski’s paying her damages didn’t influence her view that the case against him should be convinced.
“I’ve felt this way from the beginning,” she said.
In the 2008 documentary movie that she and her original attorney appear in, Roman Polanski: Wanted And Desired, it is made clear that from the very beginning of the case, her family did not want to subject her to a trial and to publicity from the Polanski scandal. The family did not want Polanski going to jail and the family lawyer was instrumental in agreeing to the plea bargain that Polanski claims the judge reneged on, triggering his flight from the United States.