The justice system's decades-long pursuit of Roman Polanski for unlawful sexual intercourse has harmed his victim more than the film director ever did, the woman told "Good Morning America" in an exclusive interview today.
"What I want people to know is that they don't understand what happened," Samantha Geimer, now in her mid-40s, said of the 1977 incident.
"It was [rape] because I was 13, but he didn't mean to hurt me, he thought it was all right and I was just scared and it was bad but it wasn't as bad as grand jury testimony, it wasn't as bad as having my sons traumatized by paparazzi.
"You shouldn't be damaged more by the court than by the crime," the mother of three said.
Polanski, 77, recently returned to France after spending 10 months under house arrest in Switzerland. It was the latest attempt to extradite the famed director back to the United States.
In the interview, Geimer revealed a never-before-seen photo taken by Polanski of her weeks before that fateful night in the California Hollywood hills.
Polanski, then 43 and the director of famous films such as "Chinatown" and "Rosemary's Baby," promised that he could make the teen's dreams of becoming a model and actress a reality, she said.
The photo shows a fresh-faced blond teen smiling for the camera. Looking at the photo today, Geimer teared up.
"I'm kind of used to seeing it but, yeah, it's hard to look at it," she said. "That was not a great time for me."
Geimer testified in court that Polanski took topless photos of her as well.
Polanski first met Geimer at her home Feb. 13, 1977. Geimer said the director asked her mother if he could photograph her for French Vogue. The mother agreed.
A few weeks after the photo shoot, Polanski brought the young girl to the home of his friend, actor Jack Nicholson. Nicholson was not there at the time.
Geimer testified that Polanski plied her with champagne, gave her a Quaalude sleeping pill and then brought her into a bedroom where he sexually assaulted her.
Polanski Sent Apology Note to Geimer
The two have never spoken since that day.
"After Marina Zenovich made her [documentary] movie, 'Roman Polanski: Wanted and Desired,' ... he sent me a small note that was like an apology for all the trouble he put me through, so that was nice," she said. "I appreciated the apology, it meant a lot to my mom."
Polanski pleaded guilty to one count of unlawful sexual intercourse in 1977 but fled to Europe before being sentenced. He has never returned to the United States.
The latest effort to extradite Polanski in 2009 took Geimer by surprise, reopening old wounds.
"I was terrified and shocked and had no warning," she said. "I was on vacation. The media descended on my home, questioned my sons. They couldn't leave the house.
"I was accosted at the airport, I couldn't go home, I had to sleep at my office."
Geimer hoped that her sons would never be exposed to the same media frenzy she experienced as a teenager.
"My sons should never have had to know what it's like to deal with that," she said. "In the back of their mind, they know something bad happened to mom and they don't really want to hear about it. ... So, yeah, I'm angry."