Advertisement

Roman Polanski to Face L.A. Trial on Rape Lawsuit in 2025

A Santa Monica judge has set an August 2025 trial date for a rape lawsuit against director Roman Polanski.

The plaintiff alleges that Polanski raped her in 1973, when she was underage, at his home in Benedict Canyon. According to her lawsuit, she had met him at a party months earlier. Polanski invited her to dinner at Le Restaurant on La Brea Avenue, gave her shots of tequila, and then drove her to his house, where she passed out on his bed, the suit states.

More from Variety

“Plaintiff remembers waking up in Defendant’s bed with him lying in the bed next to her,” the lawsuit states. “He told her that he wanted to have sex with her. Plaintiff, though groggy, told Defendant ‘No.’ She told him, ‘Please don’t do this.'”

According to the suit, Polanski ignored her pleas and proceeded to rape her. He then drove her home. That was the last time she saw the director, the lawsuit states.

The woman first came forward at a press conference with Gloria Allred in August 2017. At the time, Allred said the plaintiff, then identified as Robin M., was 16 when the sexual assault occurred.

She filed the lawsuit, using the name Jane Doe, in June 2023 under a California law that extends the statute of limitations for child sexual abuse. Polanski was served with the lawsuit at his home in Paris.

Allred and the plaintiff held another press conference Tuesday morning to discuss the case.

“It took me a really long time to decide this suit against Mr. Polanski,” the plaintiff said, adding that she ultimately did so “to obtain justice and accountability.”

Polanski’s attorneys have denied the claim.

“Mr. Polanski strenuously denies the allegations in the lawsuit and believes that the proper place to try this case is in the courts,” said Alexander Rufus-Isaacs, his attorney.

The two sides anticipate written discovery and depositions over the course of the next several months, including a deposition of Polanski. It is also possible that the case could be resolved before trial.

Polanski, who has been a fugitive from the U.S. since 1978, would not have to attend the civil trial in person, but could appear via live video feed if needed for testimony.

“He is not coming back,” Allred said. “But this is a civil lawsuit. He does not have to appear.”

Polanski fled the U.S. on the eve of sentencing for the rape of a 13-year-old girl, and has been unable to return to the country since then without fear of arrest. Over the following decades, numerous efforts to resolve the criminal case have gone nowhere, and efforts to extradite him have also been unsuccessful.

Robin M. initially came forward when a Los Angeles judge was considering a request from the victim in the criminal case, Samantha Geimer, to drop the charges. Allred and Robin M. opposed that request, which a judge denied a few days later. At the time, Allred said that her client had decided not to file a civil suit.

In 2017, Robin M. said she had recently reported the allegation to law enforcement. She said she did not come forward in 1973 because she feared that her father would “do something that might cause him to go to prison for the rest of his life.” She also said that she had told one friend shortly after the incident.

The director, now 90, is currently facing a defamation trial in Paris. In that case, British actor Charlotte Lewis alleges that Polanski defamed her when he called her sexual assault allegations a “heinous lie.” Lewis has accused Polanski of assaulting her in 1983, when she was 16 years old.

In the Santa Monica lawsuit, Polanski was initially sued under a pseudonym, “Doe.” The plaintiff later got permission to amend the suit with his real name. Polanski’s attorneys have asserted a catalog of boilerplate defenses, including that the court does not have jurisdiction over him.

On Friday, Judge H. Jay Ford III set a trial date of Aug. 4, 2025.

Best of Variety