Fugitive director Roman Polanski, already fighting a 40-year-old underage rape case in a California court, was accused on Tuesday by another woman, who says he raped her in 1973 when she was 16.
Attorney Gloria Allred, who's become the go-to lawyer for women accusing famous men of sexual abuse in decades-old cases, introduced "Robin M.," a new accuser of the Oscar-winning director, at a press conference at her office.
Robin M., 59, wouldn't give her full name or many details of her accusation, but said she was coming forward now, after 44 years of silence, because she was so "infuriated" by Samantha Geimer, Polanski's long-ago teen victim, who has publicly supported Polanski's long legal battle to get his case resolved.
Allred said Robin M. has no plans to sue Polanski, now 83, although she could in civil court. Her underage rape charge would appear to be too old to prosecute criminally under California law. But Robin M. did threaten to seek to testify against Polanski should he ever agree to go to trial on the Geimer case.
"I am speaking out now so that Samantha and the world will know that she is not the only minor Roman Polanski victimized," Robin M. told reporters, adding Polanski's fame "does not excuse his criminal conduct of sexually victimizing minors."
As she spoke, Robin M. dabbed at tears, not unusual at Allred press conferences featuring women who have accused Bill Cosby of raping them decades ago (Allred represents more than 30 Cosby accusers).
Allred told reporters it's understandable that Geimer would want the case to end after four decades. But any other defendant "who is not rich and famous" would be required to be present for a sentencing proceeding on a felony conviction. Polanski can't appear in California because he would be arrested and jailed.
"An exception should not be made for a Hollywood film director and it would be wrong for the court to appear to give special treatment to Mr. Polanski," Allred said.
Robin M. declined to say how she came to meet Polanski or where the encounter happened. She said she didn't tell anybody except a friend about it at the time, and she didn't tell her father for fear he would do something in response that would land him in prison.
Robin M.'s sudden appearance prompted annoyed head-scratching from Polanski's lawyer, Harland Braun, who suggested Allred and her new client are trying to derail his efforts on behalf of Polanski.
"If she wants to, she can come to court and file a brief in favor of the prosecution's position" on Polanski – not hold a news conference, Braun said.
Braun is trying to persuade a California judge to end the 1977 Geimer case, for which Polanski has been a fugitive from justice since 1978, when he fled to France on the eve of sentencing for his guilty plea to unlawful sex with Geimer, who was then 13.
Polanski feared the judge in the case (now dead) was going to renege on a plea agreement and send him away for more time than the six weeks he had already served in prison during a psychiatric evaluation prior to sentencing.
An international arrest warrant has confined him to France, Switzerland and his native Poland ever since. The warrant prevented Polanski from collecting his Academy Award for best director for his 2002 film The Pianist.
So far, Polanski and Braun have had little success in persuading Los Angeles prosecutors or the judge to dismiss the case.
In June, Geimer, now 54, went to court to tell Judge Scott M. Gordon that she wanted the case to end, either with an outright dismissal or by the judge sentencing Polanski to time served without him being present. The matter is still pending before the judge.
Allred acknowledged that Geimer does have rights to speak out as a victim in a criminal case in California, but the decision about Polanski is not up to her.
"It is important to point out that the criminal case was filed on behalf of the people of California, and it is not her case," Allred said. "Her feelings are not conclusive as to the outcome. It is the judge who decides the sentence, not the victim."
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