The way British actress Charlotte Lewis tells her story, Polanski's hitherto unknown abuse of her occurred seven years after the director had fled the US, thus avoiding incarceration for his rape and sodomy of then 13-year-old Samantha Geimer. During a news conference, Lewis and attorney Gloria Allred told the press that they had contacted the authorities and disclosed that Roman Polanski had forced himself on the young woman a few days after her 16th birthday.
Although the legal age of consent is 15, according to French law, the operative word here is consent, and Mrs Lewis, now 42, clearly stated that she did not consent to what happened that day in a Paris apartment.
While an article in the Los Angeles Times
says that it was unclear why Lewis chose to step forward at this moment in time, the actress from Kensington, West London, clearly stated the following:
"I am also a victim of Roman Polanski. It is very important the district attorney and the Swiss authorities be armed with this information as they decide his fate. All I want is justice.
The new revelation comes just days after a new attempt by Polanski friends and supporters to influence the Swiss authorities, asking them not to extradite their 77-year-old colleague to the United States, where he is still wanted for sentencing. According to the Globe and Mail
, signatories of the latest petition include French director Jean-Luc Godard, French actor-director Mathieu Amalric and Cannes best director laureate Bernard Tavernier.
It will be most interesting to see how Polanski's wife will see this. In January 2010, actress Emmanuelle Seigner, aged 43, proclaimed that her husband is an impeccable man and that the 1970s were a "crazy time" in which both drugs and sex were viewed differently - hinting that what happened in 1977 must have been an isolated incident, and that the Zeitgeist was perhaps more at fault than her husband.
A short video of the Lewis press conference can be found on NBC Los Angeles