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Polanski's victim asks court to dismiss charge

Samantha Geimer says the media frenzy is interfering with her life and her family.

October 27, 2009|Victoria Kim

In the four weeks since director Roman Polanski's arrest, Samantha Geimer has once again found herself in an unwanted spotlight.

Phone calls from the media besieged her at home, on her cellphone, at work, seeking comment from the woman who was the 13-year-old victim in the director's sex case three decades ago.

Calls have come at all hours of the day, from as far as Germany, Israel and Japan. Every TV network's national morning show called, as did Larry King and Oprah Winfrey. The calls to Geimer and her attorney, Lawrence Silver, numbered close to 500.

Some media outlets offered money. Others ambushed her at the airport. Reporters and photographers showed up at her children's schools and at her husband's job. They offered her children toys in exchange for information. They camped out in front of her home in Hawaii and photographed and videotaped her through holes drilled in their cars.

The details are contained in a statement filed with the 2nd District Court of Appeal, in which Geimer's attorney asked that the case against Polanski be dismissed. The statement argues that as a victim of crime, Geimer has a right to "finality" guaranteed by the California Constitution.

This statement makes one more demand, one more request, one more plea: Leave her alone, she said through her attorney in the filing.

The appellate court is reviewing an L.A. County Superior Court ruling that Polanski's case cannot be thrown out on grounds of judicial and prosecutorial misconduct while the director remains a fugitive.

At the time of the 1977 criminal case, Geimer told police and a grand jury that Polanski gave her a Quaalude and champagne and raped her during a photo shoot. Her attorneys at the time supported a plea deal, saying it was in the victim's best interest. Polanski pleaded guilty to unlawful sexual intercourse with a minor but fled to France before being sentenced.

In 1993, Polanski settled a civil suit with Geimer and agreed to pay her at least $500,000. It is not known whether he has paid.

Polanski was arrested last month in Zurich and faces extradition to Los Angeles to face sentencing in the child sex case.

Swiss officials have twice rejected his efforts to be released on bail, and legal experts said it could be months before the Swiss justice system decides whether to extradite the director of "Chinatown," "Rosemary's Baby" and "The Pianist."

This is not the first time Geimer has publicly backed Polanski. She wrote an op-ed article in The Times in 2003 saying the case should not be a barrier to his winning an Academy Award.

That year, Polanski won best director for "The Pianist."

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victoria.kim@latimes.com

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