British actress says Roman Polanski forced her to have sex with him in 1982 when she was 16
Charlotte Lewis, who appeared in Polanski's 1986 film "Pirates," told reporters that the Oscar-winning director "forced himself" upon her in 1982 in Paris as they worked on the film.
Lewis did not report the incident at the time in 1982, and it's unclear why she chose to hold a press conference now.
Lewis, now 42, alleges the incident occurred in a Paris apartment. The legal age of consent in France is 15, according to French law.
The actress was a child star in Britain on the TV show "Grange Hill" and also appeared in some movies.
She made the statements during a news conference with her Los Angeles attorney, Gloria Allred.Polanski's attorney released the following statement: "We don't have any information about statements made at a Gloria Allred press conference today, but we do know that our district attorney continues to refuse to provide the Swiss government with accurate and complete information relevant to the extradition issue."
The Los Angeles district attorney's office confirmed Lewis met with prosecutors on Thursday but declined to comment further. L.A. prosecutors want Polanski to be extradited from Switzerland to California to face sentencing for having unlawful sex with a 13-year-old girl more than three decades ago.
Polanski is now under house arrest in Switzerland and is fighting efforts to be brought to Los Angeles.
One legal expert said it was possible prosecutors could use Lewis' statements if Polanski does come to the U.S. for sentencing -- but it remains unclear whether they would.
"Other bad acts are something prosecutors can highlight," said Dmitry Gorin, a defense attorney and former deputy district attorney who prosecuted sex crimes. "It is my gut instinct that they will be able use this information unless there is something specific in the statutes preventing it."
-- Richard Winton
Photo: British actress Charlotte Lewis. Credit: Associated Press