In recent months, it seems that not a week goes by without someone from the film industry or a prominent figure from another field facing allegations of a sexual nature. The latest to find themselves in this situation is Roman Polanski. Vulture has reported that Los Angeles Police Department has opened a new investigation that relates to Polanski allegedly committing a sexual assault against a child. The investigation is into an incident that happened in 1975.
Marianne Barnard, an artist, first came forward with her story in October. It was at the same time as the Harvey Weinstein scandal first became public that Barnard decided to use Twitter as a platform to let people know what had happened to her. On Twitter, Barnard stated that Polanski had taken her to a beach in Malibu where he had then taken provocative photographs of her, both in a fur coat and naked. She went on to say that she was aged just 10 at the time. Barnard wrote I her post that she wanted things like this to stop happening now and used the hashtag #ROSEARMY.
Allegedly, Barnard’s mother had accompanied her daughter on this trip with the famous film director. However, she claims that her mother left the photo shoot and that was when she was molested by Polanski. She has kept quiet about this incident for over 40 years. What inspired her to finally tell her story was the current outpouring of similar allegations against the heavyweights of Hollywood. Realizing that others had similar experiences gave her the strength to come forward.
Unfortunately, the statute of limitations has passed on this alleged incident as it occurred 42 years ago. However, police are still interested in investigating the claims as this case could provide evidence that they could use to support another case. According to Variety, Polanski has continued to maintain his innocence since the claims first came to light. This is not the first time the director has had to face such allegations as Barnard is the sixth woman to make an allegation against him. In fact, he has already been found guilty of statutory rape and spent time in jail.
In 1977, Polanski was accused of sexually assaulting Samantha Gailey, a 13-year-old girl, who had been modeling for Polanski at a photo shoot. The director was arrested in the home of actor Jack Nicholson. Polanski initially faced six charges of criminal behavior with one of those listed as rape. Polanski spent 42 days in jail while a plea bargain was arranged, and he agreed to plead guilty to one charge of unlawful sexual intercourse with a minor. The other five charges were dropped. The plea bargain should have freed him from prison, but he heard that the judge was not going to accept the agreement. As a result, Polanski fled and has been forced to live in exile ever since.
As he is a French citizen, Polanski headed to his country of birth and this has protected him from extradition. However, as he did not attend court to face the charges, they still stand in the United States.