Los Angeles police confirmed Tuesday they are investigating a woman’s allegation she was assaulted by fugitive filmmaker Roman Polanski when she was 10 years old in 1975.
Police did not release any details about the alleged victim, but she was identified by the British newspaper The Sun and the Los Angeles Times as Marianne Barnard, who contends the Oscar-winning director molested her when she was 10 years old during a photo shoot at Will Rogers State Beach near Pacific Palisades.
Barnard contends Polanski took photos of her at the beach when she was naked except for a fur coat.
Polanski’s attorney, Harland Braun, has denied the allegation by Barnard, who went public with her accusation to The Sun in October.
According to the Los Angeles Police Department, the alleged victim “came forward about a sexual assault involving Roman Polanski. The alleged assault occurred in 1975. We are investigating the matter, however, it appears that the case may be out of statute.”
“Out of statute” means the alleged crime appears to have occurred beyond the statute of limitations, meaning Polanski could not be prosecuted. Evidence from an investigation of such a case, however, could potentially be presented in conjunction with other cases.
The director, writer and producer, who won an Oscar in 2002 for “The Pianist,” fled to his native France in 1978 before he could be sentenced in Los Angeles for having unlawful sexual intercourse with a 13-year-old girl. He still lives in Europe, and is considered a fugitive. Southern California authorities have tried for years to bring him back to America.
Braun has repeatedly tried to have the case against the now-84-year- old Polanski dismissed. Braun maintained that he has already served more than enough time, including time he spent at a state prison in Chino in the late 1970s for a pre-sentencing diagnostic examination and also in jail and under house arrest in Switzerland in 2009 as Swiss authorities considered an extradition request.
–City News Service