Samantha Geimer, the woman at the center of the sex-crime case that led to director Roman Polanski’s exile from the U.S., appeared before a judge in Los Angeles Superior Court today and asked him to end the case against Polanski, ABC News reports. Geimer, who is now 54, told Judge Scott Gordon that she has suffered more from the extended legal battle than from the assault itself, referring to the case as a “40-year sentence.” Ending it, either by sentencing Polanski in absentia or dropping it entirely, would be “an act of mercy to myself and my family,” The Hollywood Reporter quotes her as saying.
Geimer was 13 when Polanski allegedly drugged and raped her during a photo shoot at actor Jack Nicholson’s home, leading to him fleeing to France on the eve of his sentencing on charges of unlawful sex with a minor in 1978. Ever since, she says, she’s been the target of intense scrutiny and hurtful allegations from the media and from those involved in the case, including a judge who asked her if she and her mother were a “mother/daughter prostitution team.” She said, “The trauma of the ordeal that followed was so great that, you know, the brief encounter with him that evening that was unpleasant just faded and paled … We were just trying to survive as a family and get through something. We didn’t understand that was going to happen.”
Geimer has publicly forgiven Polanski and has been supportive of efforts to end his fugitive status, but this is the first time she’s appeared in court on his behalf. “I commend you for coming in,” Gordon told her. “Your courage as a survivor is noted.” He went on to tell Geimer that she and her family deserve closure, but stopped short of making a final ruling, noting that Polanski himself has the power to end the case once and for all if he simply returns to the U.S. for sentencing.