Director Polanski refused bail in Swiss court

Director Roman Polanski fled the U.S. more than 30 years ago and was detained in Switzerland in September.
A Swiss court has refused a request from director Roman Polanski to be released on bail, saying he poses a high flight risk, according to court documents.

The Swiss Criminal Court said measures such as revoking Polanski’s travel documents and requiring him to report daily to the police would not reduce the possibility that the director would flee. Polanski was arrested in Switzerland last month on a U.S. arrest warrant stemming from a 1977 sex case. He is fighting extradition to the United States. The Academy Award-winning director of “The Pianist” pleaded guilty in August 1977 to having unlawful sex with a 13-year-old girl. Prosecutors dropped other charges in exchange for his guilty plea. But Polanski fled the U.S. before sentencing after learning that the judge might not go along with the short jail term he expected to get from the plea agreement. Los Angeles, California, authorities sought his arrest when they learned he would be traveling to Switzerland for a film festival last month. Polanski remained free — mostly living in France — before his arrest in Switzerland on the 31-year-old warrant. He agreed to pay his sexual assault victim $500,000 to settle a damage claim she filed against him nearly 12 years after the crime, according to court papers released this month. Polanski still owed the money — plus another $100,000 interest — three years after the 1993 settlement, according to the documents.

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The victim sought money for damages suffered when Polanski had sex with her. She claimed Polanski plied her with alcohol and quaaludes during a photo shoot at the Hollywood Hills home of actor Jack Nicholson. It’s not clear if Polanski ever completed paying the woman, although court papers document efforts by her attorneys to garnish residuals and other payments owed to Polanski by the Screen Actors Guild, movie studios and other Hollywood businesses. She long ago came forward and made her identity public — saying she was disturbed by how the criminal case had been handled. In January, Samantha Geimer, now 45, a married mother of three, called for the case to be tossed out. In court papers, she said, “I am no longer a 13-year-old child. I have dealt with the difficulties of being a victim, have surmounted and surpassed them with one exception. “Every time this case is brought to the attention of the court, great focus is made of me, my family, my mother and others. That attention is not pleasant to experience and is not worth maintaining over some irrelevant legal nicety, the continuation of the case.” Besides his win for “The Pianist,” Polanski also was nominated for a best director Oscar for “Tess” and “Chinatown” and for best adapted screenplay for “Rosemary’s Baby,” which he also directed.