Polanski Child Sex Victim Speaks Out

ByABC News via logo
January 30, 2003, 12:17 PM

Jan. 30, 2003 -- It was 25 years ago this week that director Roman Polanski became a fugitive from justice. His crime, drugging and raping a 13-year-old girl, shocked the American public.

Polanski had pleaded guilty in the case but, faced with the prospect of serious jail time, he fled just before sentencing to Paris, where he has remained an exile from Hollywood and the United States.

Now, 25 years later, his victim, Samantha Geimer, says she hopes the director will return to America so the whole ordeal can be put to rest.

"You know after the publicity came out and stuff, I knew it was just as bad for him as it was for me," Geimer told ABCNEWS' Good Morning America. "I'm sure if he could I'm sure he'd go back and wouldn't do it again."

With the recent success of Polanksi's movie The Pianist, the director is back in the news and so is Geimer. Now 38 and the mother of three, Geimer says it has become clear to her that her ordeal won't end until his does.

"I would love to see him resolve it," Geimer said. "And I think we've always had the position of, you know, the sooner the better. For the whole last 20 years, if we could just put this to rest that would be great."

Big Hopes for Hollywood

In 1977, Polanski asked Geimer's mother if he could photograph the 13-year-old girl for a magazine, and her mother allowed a private photo shoot.

Geimer says she thought the photos would help her acting career.

"It was just to get more jobs, you know," she said. "I had done some commercials. I didn't really want to be a model, but I though it'd be helpful, still."

It didn't take long after their initial meeting for Geimer to feel uncomfortable around the much older director, she said.

"Actually it went fine, but then he asked me to change, and change in front of him, and stuff," she said. "It didn't, you know, feel right and I didn't want to go back thus to the second shoot. I didn't at that time have the self-confidence to tell my mother and everyone, 'No I'm not going to go.'"

It was during that second shoot that Polanski's mood and motives clearly changed, Geimer says.

"We did photos with me drinking champagne," Geimer said. "He was friendly and then right toward the end it got a little scary, and I realized, you know, he had some other intentions and then I knew I was not where I should be. I just didn't quite know how to get myself out of there."

Geimer said Polanski sexually assaulted her after giving her a combination of champagne and quaaludes.

Then, she said, "all hell broke loose" when her mom found out.

"My sister overheard me telling my then-boyfriend what happened on the phone after I got home. So she went in and told my mom," Geimer said.

Polanski was arrested the next day. He claimed that the sex was consensual. Geimer says it was not and that she resisted.

"Just by saying no, you know, several times, and then I just kind of gave up on that," Geimer said.

‘It Was Not the Right Thing to Do’

For years Polanski insisted Geimer had agreed to everything that happened that day, but several years ago he softened his tone in an interview with ABCNEWS.

"I know now it was, it was not the right thing to do," he said in a 1994 interview with ABCNEWS' Diane Sawyer. "But I was, there was no premeditation, you know, it was something that just happened."

But the former prosecutor on the case, Roger Gunson, said the evidence read like a scene from one of Polanski's most famous movies.

"In Rosemary's Baby, the husband plies Mia Farrow with alcohol and with a drug and the devil rapes Mia Farrow," Gunson said. "Polanski plied this victim not only with champagne but also gave her a quaalude and when she became affected by the alcohol and the drug, he raped her."

Polanski pleaded guilty to unlawful sexual intercourse as part of a plea agreement and he went to jail for a short time in order to undergo psychiatric evaluation.

When Polanksi realized the judge intended to sentence him to more time behind bars, he fled to France.

Geimer says his disappearance was easier to deal with than the attacks she faced from the media.

"I just remember it was all my fault," Geimer said. "It was all my mom's fault. We were lying. We were after money. We wanted a career move, or something, but nothing nice."

Geimer said the public was sympathetic to the famed director, whose eight-months-pregnant wife, actress Sharon Tate, had been slaughtered in 1969 in the grisly Manson Family murders.

Geimer, who filed a civil suit against Polanksi that was settled with an agreement neither party is at liberty to discuss, hopes Polanski will be pardoned and able to return soon.

The 69-year-old director was nominated by his peers earlier this week for the Directors Guild of America Award.

His nomination for The Pianist was his first by the DGA since he fled the United States.

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