A woman has accused Roman Polanski of raping her when she was 18 years old, marking the Polish film director’s sixth charge of sexual violence against a teen.
French photographer Valentine Monnier, now 62, claims that Polanski violently forced himself on her at his Swiss ski chalet in 1975. Monnier says that she came forward after 44 years of silence because of a recent interview in which Polanski, 86, proclaimed himself a victim of persecution for enduring years of repercussions stemming from sexual abuse accusations.
Polanski was famously charged with raping and drugging a 13-year-old girl in the United States in 1977. He was convicted of statutory rape and subsequently fled the country to avoid a prison term. He has not returned to the U.S. since, but he has continued to have a prolific film-making career.
Speaking of Polanski’s self-imposed status as a persecuted artist-in-exile, Monnier said in an interview with Le Parisien, “Is it credible to hear somebody say, ‘I accuse’ when they have branded you and forbidden you, the victim, to accuse him?”
Monnier described her violent assault by Polanski as something that “shocked” her.
“Life had not yet trained me to be suspicious,” she said. She asserted that the much older man had used vulgarity to propose sex with her before eventually striking her and ripping her clothes off before raping her. “I was totally shocked,” she said. “I weighed 50 kilos. Polanski was small but muscular and at 42 was in the prime of his life. He got the upper hand in two minutes.”
She also said that she feared for her life during the violent attack. “I said to myself, this is Roman Polanski. He can’t take the risk that this would be known, so he will have to kill me.”
Lawyers for Polanski, who is currently promoting the Wednesday release of his film An Officer and a Spy, denied Monnier’s accusations and chided Le Parisien for publishing her story. “For 45 years, these accusations have never been reported to judicial authorities,” Polanski’s lawyer Hervé Temime said. “I strongly deplore their publication a few days before the release of his film.”
The statute of limitations for prosecuting rape is 20 years in France, so Monnier would not be able to file charges against Polanski. “I denounce this crime knowing that there can’t be any punishment, in an attempt to end exceptions, impunity,” she said. Monnier said she hoped sharing her story would stop the public from “idolizing the guilty ones.”
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