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Roman Polanski’s 1977 rape victim asks court to forgive him

Alik Keplicz / AP File

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Roman Polanski’s 1977 rape victim asks court to forgive him

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A Los Angeles judge rejected a request by Samantha Geimer to have the criminal case against Roman Polanski dismissed. Geimer was 13 years old when Polanski sexually assaulted her in Los Angeles in 1977. Polanski, who admitted to the crime, fled the United States after spending 42 days in pre-trial custody. He has not returned to the United States since.

Judge Scott Gordon ruled that Polanski remained a fugitive from justice and that the court could not dismiss the case “merely because it would be in the victim’s best interest.” Geimer had previously asked the court to resolve the case, stating that she had forgiven Polanski and wanted the case put to rest.

Polanski’s attorney, Harland Braun, also requested that the court unseal testimony about the 1977 plea deal in an attempt to persuade European authorities to lift the international arrest warrant against Polanski. This request was also denied by the judge.

Two recent attempts by the United States to extradite Polanski from Switzerland and Poland have failed. Braun stated that Polanski wants to be able to travel freely and visit the grave of his wife, Sharon Tate, who was murdered in Los Angeles by followers of Charles Manson in 1969.

Polanski’s career has not been hindered by the rape case. In 2003, he won an Oscar for directing the Holocaust film “The Pianist” but did not travel to the United States to collect it. Braun expressed frustration at the failure to resolve the case, stating that “this case is 40 years old, with an 84 year-old defendant and a 50 year-old victim requesting that the matter be resolved… It appears that a resolution of this case should be simple.”

The ruling by Judge Gordon follows the first appearance in the case by Geimer in June, where she pleaded for the case to be resolved. In her statement, Geimer emphasized the continued impact of the case on her and her family, stating that she remained a victim because of media attention each time there was a new development in the case.

The criminal case against Polanski has been ongoing for over four decades, with numerous attempts by his lawyers to reach a deal without him serving more time in prison having failed. The director, who turned 84 on Friday, has been a fugitive from justice since fleeing the United States.

Despite the notoriety of the rape case, Polanski’s career has continued to flourish. In addition to his Oscar win for “The Pianist,” he has directed numerous critically acclaimed films and remained a prominent figure in the film industry.

The decision by Judge Gordon to reject Geimer’s request and keep the case against Polanski open has drawn criticism from some who argue that the continued pursuit of the director is unnecessary and harmful to both Geimer and Polanski.

Others have pointed out that the ruling highlights the unequal treatment of sexual assault victims and perpetrators in the criminal justice system. The fact that Polanski has been able to continue his career and avoid punishment for his crime while Geimer has had to endure ongoing trauma and media attention is seen by some as a clear example of this unequal treatment.

The ruling by Judge Gordon is likely to further complicate the already complex legal situation surrounding Polanski and the 1977 rape case. It remains to be seen whether the director will ever face justice for his crime and whether the case will ever be resolved to the satisfaction of all parties involved.

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