Tuesday 28 March 2017

'Polanski slept with me when I was 16'

Nick Allen in Los Angeles

A British actress has come forward to claim she was the victim of "sexually predatory" conduct by the film director Roman Polanski when she was 16.

Charlotte Lewis, who starred in his 1986 film 'Pirates', alleges that he forced himself upon her in his apartment in Paris.

Ms Lewis (43) gave evidence to police and prosecutors in Los Angeles who are trying to extradite the director from Switzerland over a 1977 case in which he is alleged to have had illegal sex with a 13-year-old girl.

The incident involving Ms Lewis was alleged to have happened in 1982, four years after Polanski fled the US.

Ms Lewis said: "Polanski knew I was only just 16 when he met me and forced himself upon me in an apartment in Paris. All I want is justice. I have travelled to the US at my own expense to ensure justice is done." She said she would testify under oath against the director if asked to do so.

The actress, who was born in Kensington, London, also starred in the British television series 'Grange Hill' and the Hollywood film 'The Golden Child' with Eddie Murphy.

Speaking at her lawyer's office, Ms Lewis said she came forward because she believed the director's legal team were intending to portray the 1977 case as an "isolated incident".

She said: "It is very important that the district attorney and the Swiss authorities be armed with this information as they decide Polanski's fate."

Arrested

Gloria Allred, her lawyer, said if the judge believed Ms Lewis's claims it could affect the director's sentence, especially if he was found to have behaved in a similar way in both cases.

Polanski (76) who won an Oscar in 2002 for 'The Pianist', is being held in Switzerland, where he was arrested on a US warrant last year.

Los Angeles prosecutors are insisting that he should return to California to be sentenced.

In a rare statement last week, Polanski said: "The US continues to demand my extradition more to serve me on a platter to the media of the world than to pronounce a judgment concerning which an agreement was reached 33 years ago." (©Daily Telegraph, London)

Irish Independent

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