DOCUMENT: Celebrity, Sex, Crime

Victim Sought Polanski Leniency

"Substantially recovered" woman supported fugitive's return

Samantha Geimer

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Victim Sought Leniency For Polanski

SEPTEMBER 28--Two decades after Roman Polanski pleaded guilty to having sex with a 13-year-old California girl, the victim emerged from anonymity to say that she did not want the film director jailed if he returned to the United States from his European exile.

In 1997 letters to a Los Angeles judge and prosecutor, Samantha Geimer criticized the jurist who had previously refused to guarantee that Polanski would not be incarcerated for the March 1977 sexual encounter. "I do not believe that it was Mr. Polanski's intention to frighten me or cause me harm," Geimer, pictured at left, wrote to Los Angeles Superior Court Judge Larry Fidler. "I am sure that he now understands why his actions were in fact inappropriate and damaging to me."

Noting that she had "substantially recovered from the harm that Mr. Polanski caused me," Geimer asked District Attorney Gilbert Garcetti to dismiss fugitive charges against Polanski and honor the terms of the plea deal originally approved by prosecutors. "I believe with certainty that if Mr. Polanski is allowed to return and this case can be officially marked 'closed,' the degree of public scrutiny of myself and my family, although initially magnified, will begin to be diminished," wrote Geimer.

Weeks after the sex crime, Geimer--then known as Samantha Gailey--testified before an L.A. grand jury that later voted to indict Polanski on several felony charges. Her graphic testimony can be found here. (4 pages)