herald

Monday 25 September 2017

Polanski abused me when I was 16, says actress

CLAIM: Protege accuses director after 26 years

A British actress has claimed she was sexually abused by director Roman Polanski when she was 16 -- years before she appeared in one of his films.

Los Angeles prosecutors have met Charlotte Lewis (42) after she said the film maker abused her "in the worst possible way" in his Paris apartment in the 1980s.

Lewis provided no evidence to support her claims and her lawyer Gloria Allred did not permit her to answer questions during a news conference.

But Ms Allred said the Lewis provided evidence to a detective and officials from the Los Angeles County district attorney's office.



Drugs

She refused to give specifics or answer questions about whether Lewis' allegations involved drugs or rape.

"Our detectives did conduct the interview but the department has not begun an investigation," said police spokesman Richard French.

Lewis played a role in Polanski's 1986 film Pirates and is also credited with a role in the 1986 movie The Golden Child and small roles in other films and TV shows.

It was unclear what year the alleged assault took place.

"He took advantage of me and I have lived with the effects of his behaviour ever since it occurred," said Lewis. "All I want is justice."

Ms Allred said that to her knowledge, no criminal complaint or lawsuit was made in France over the alleged assault.

A statement released by Polanski's US legal team said his lawyers had no information about the allegations that were made at the press conference "but we do know that our district attorney continues to refuse to provide the Swiss government with accurate and complete information relevant to the extradition issue".

Polanski, the Oscar-winning director of Rosemary's Baby, Chinatown and The Pianist, is under house arrest at his Swiss chateau in connection with a child sex case.

Polanski was accused of plying a 13-year-old girl with champagne and drugs before raping her at Jack Nicholson's house in Los Angeles in 1977.

He pleaded guilty to unlawful sexual intercourse but fled to France before sentencing and remained a fugitive until Swiss authorities arrested him on September 26 last year on a US warrant as he arrived in Zurich.

Lewis said she came forward because she heard that Polanski was fighting extradition to the US and "that his legal team is portraying his previous offence against a minor as an isolated instance".

Ms Allred said she did not plan any legal action right now, but believed the allegations would be relevant when Polanski was sentenced.

hnews@herald.ie

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