“I was not as traumatized as everybody thought I should have been,” Samantha Geimer, the victim in Roman Polanski’s 40-year-old sex case, told reporters outside a Los Angeles courtroom Friday. Geimer, whose surprise testimony in court was her first public legal appearance in the case, strongly defended Polanksi both inside the courtroom and before a large press gaggle outside.
Under fierce questioning by several dozen reporters, she steadfastly refused to claim that she had been damaged by Polanski, who was charged was raping her in 1977 when she was 13. Instead she said the legal system had abused both her and Polanski almost from the beginning of the case.
“I was a young and sexually active teenager,” Geimer told reporters, insisting that she had not been deeply scarred by her sex and drug encounter with Polanski. She said both she and her mother had suffered more harm from those who focused attention on her from the beginning.
On Friday in fact, Polanski’s lawyer Harland Braun played the ringmaster in court as he introduced Geimer, now 53 years old, showed up in court to plead for an end to the case.
Los Angeles County Superior Court Judge Scott M. Gordon said he would issue a written ruling on Polanski’s request that he unseal testimony by a former Deputy District Attorney, Roger Gunson. The testimony was taken years ago when it appeared Gunson might not survive an illness. It is said to support the notion that Polanski has already served more than the prison time required under a plea deal which now-deceased Judge Laurence Rittenband planned to scrap, leading Polanski to flee the country in 1978.
Gordon did not specifically tip his ruling, but severely questioned Braun, frequently cutting off arguments the attorney had made repeatedly in the past. If Gordon was skeptical of Polanski’s arguments, however, he was solicitous of Geimer, who flew in to testify on Polanksi’s behalf. She was permitted to speak based on her status as a victim.
“Thank you for taking the time to come in,” Gordon told her.
In addressing the court, Geimer urged the judge to “consider taking action which will finally bring this matter to a close.” She said that both she and Polanski had suffered enough through the years, and she stressed her family had been dogged by the case for decades.
“I have now become a grandmother,” she said, adding she hoped to no longer tell her granddaughter “why she can’t go outside because of what happened to her Nana in 1977.”
“Holy cow!” Geimer said as she stepped in front of the cameras in the courtroom hall. Reporters severely questioned whether her defense of Polanski let him off too easily, and might encourage other predators. But she insisted that Polanski had done his time and had since suffered the sort of shaming that was once loaded on her. “I was a drug-doing Lolita who had cornered him,” she said, describing the sort of insults that were thrown at her in the 1970s. “Now, he endures it because everyone is calling him a pedophile, the insults have switched.”
Geimer said the Los Angeles DA’s office had been “hypocritical” in refusing to honor her request to close the case. “If I were standing here saying throw the book at him, just put him in jail for life, my opinion would count.” Deputy District Attorney Michele Hanisee in court had reiterated that the state, not the victim, must ultimately decide who is prosecuted.
Mostly, Geimer refused to claim deep damage from the original incident. “I’m fine,” she told reporters. “You don’t have to fall apart to show that what happened to you was wrong.”
Asked what she would say to Polanski if she met him, Giemer answered, “I hope your wife and family are well.”