Documents in Roman Polanski rape case to be unsealed after 45 years

·2-min read

The Los Angeles County District Attorney’s Office says it will no longer object to the release of a transcript sought by Roman Polanski, so that the filmmaker’s 45-year-old rape case might be re-examined.

George Gascon announced on Tuesday that the office had reversed its position and would allow the transcripts of former Deputy District Attorney Roger Gunson in the case to be unsealed.

Polanski pleaded guilty to one count of unlawful sexual intercourse with a minor in August 1977 but fled the United States to France before a sentencing hearing.

61st Cannes Film Festival – Closing Ceremony
Polanski pleaded guilty to one count of unlawful sexual intercourse with a minor in August 1977 but fled the United States (Joel Ryan/PA)

He has lived abroad ever since.

Gascon said the decision came following a letter from Samantha Geimer, the victim in the case, who has sought for years to have the case dismissed. She was 13 years old when Polanski pleaded guilty to sexually assaulting her.

The DA’s office released a letter it had received from Geimer on June 20, in which she asked that the transcript be unsealed and that the office “take a fresh look” at the case and conduct an investigation into alleged judicial misconduct.

“This case has been described by the courts as ‘one of the longest-running sagas in California criminal justice history,’” Gascon said.

“For years, this office has fought the release of information that the victim and public have a right to know.

Roman Polanski in 1977
Roman Polanski in 1977 – the year he pled guilty to unlawful sexual intercourse with a minor (Aleksander Jalosinski/Alamy/PA)

“After careful consideration of the victim’s wishes, the unique and extraordinary circumstances that led to his conditional exam and my commitment to transparency and accountability for all in the justice system, my office has determined it to be in the interest of justice to agree to the unsealing of these transcripts.”

Gascon added that Polanski, known for films such as The Pianist and Chinatown, remains a fugitive from justice and should surrender himself to the Los Angeles County Superior Court to be sentenced.

The director was married to actress Sharon Tate, and shared a house with her before her murder at the hands of the Manson Family cult in 1969.

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