British actress: Polanski abused me
Published 15/05/2010 | 04:31
Los Angeles prosecutors have met a British actress who claims she was sexually abused by director Roman Polanski when she was 16 - years before she appeared in one of his films.
Charlotte Lewis, 42, said the film-maker abused her "in the worst possible way" in his Paris apartment in the 1980s.
Lewis provided no evidence to support her claims and her lawyer Gloria Allred did not permit her to answer questions during a news conference in her office.
Ms Allred refused to give specifics or answer questions about whether Lewis's allegations involved drugs or rape. It is unclear what year the alleged assault took place.
But Ms Allred said the woman provided evidence to a detective and officials from the Los Angeles County district attorney's office. "Our detectives did conduct the interview but the department has not begun an investigation," said police spokesman Richard French. He did not know when the interview was conducted.
Lewis played a role in Polanski's 1986 film Pirates and is also credited with a role in the 1986 movie The Golden Child and small roles in other films and TV shows.
"He took advantage of me and I have lived with the effects of his behaviour ever since it occurred," said Lewis, reading from a prepared statement at the news conference. "All I want is justice." Ms Allred said that to her knowledge, no criminal complaint or lawsuit was made in France over the alleged assault. The duty officer for the French Justice Ministry said that he was not aware whether the British actress had filed a complaint in France.
A statement released by Polanski's US legal team said his lawyers had no information about the allegations that were made at the press conference "but we do know that our district attorney continues to refuse to provide the Swiss government with accurate and complete information relevant to the extradition issue".
Polanski, the Oscar-winning director of Rosemary's Baby, Chinatown and The Pianist, is under house arrest at his Swiss chateau in connection with a 33-year-old child sex case. He was accused of drugging a 13-year-old girl with champagne and part of Quaalude and raping her at Jack Nicholson's house in Los Angeles in 1977. He pleaded guilty to unlawful sexual intercourse but fled to France before sentencing and remained a fugitive until Swiss authorities arrested him on September 26 last year on a US warrant as he arrived in Zurich to receive a lifetime achievement award from a film festival.
Lewis said she came forward because she heard that Polanski was fighting extradition to the US and "that his legal team is portraying his previous offence against a minor as an isolated instance". Ms Allred said she did not plan any legal action right now, but believed the allegations would be relevant when Polanski was sentenced.