Monday, November 29, 1999

Polanski faces new sexual abuse charge

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Los Angeles, May 15 -- British actress Charlotte Lewis Friday said she was sexually abused by film-maker Roman Polanski, the second such charges against the famed director in recent decades. Lewis, now aged 42, made it known Friday in Los Angeles, through her lawyer Gloria Allred, that Polanski abused her in his Paris apartment when she was 16. There were no further details of the alleged incident, although the actress had a small part in Polanski's 1986 film Pirates. According to Allred, her client is willing to testify under oath. The lawyer stressed that Polanski has to be held accountable as a sex offender. Lewis' accusations were likely to play a key role in the ongoing US case against Polanski, 76, the winner of an Academy Award for best director in 2002. The director of the recent critically acclaimed film The Ghost pleaded guilty in 1977 in California to unlawful intercourse with then 13-year-old Samantha Geimer. Polanski then spent 42 days at Chino State Prison. "That period was to have covered the totality of my sentence," Polanski recalled in an open letter earlier this month. "By the time I left prison, the judge had changed his mind and claimed that the time served at Chino did not fulfil the entire sentence, and it is this reversal that justified my leaving the US."In April, the Paris-born Polanski, who is of Polish descent, lost a court bid to be sentenced in absentia in this case.

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