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Roman Polanski was to pay Samantha Geimer a $500,000 settlement

October 2, 2009 |  2:31 pm


Roman Polanski agreed to pay Samantha Geimer at least $500,000 as part of a settlement after he fled from the U.S. to avoid sentencing for sexually assaulting her, according to court documents reviewed by The Times today.

But the documents indicate that Geimer's attorneys  battled with Polanski to get him to pay the settlement, and it remains unclear exactly how much money the director gave her.

Media outlets requested access to the court file for Geimer's civil suit this week after Polanski was arrested in Zurich, Switzerland, in connection with the more than 30-year-old case.

The terms of the settlement were confidential. But many of the details are contained in court filings arising out of Geimer's efforts to get Polanski to pay. The documents were retrieved from archives and made available today in a Los Angeles courthouse.

Geimer filed the civil lawsuit in 1988, accusing the director of, among other things, sexual assault, false imprisonment, intentional infliction of emotional distress and seduction. Polanski was deposed in Paris in 1993.

In October 1993, Polanski agreed to pay Geimer $500,000 with interest, according to the settlement documents. He was given two years to pay. But her attorneys said in a filing that the director missed the 1995 deadline. At one point, her attorneys attempted to garnish wages to Polanski from movie studios, his agent and the Screen Actors Guild, the records show. 

The case file does not make clear if Polanski paid Geimer. The last document in the file is an August 1996 statement saying the director still owed her $604,416.

Geimer was 13 when Polanski plied the aspiring model with Champagne and Quaaludes and told her he was photographing her for French Vogue. The 1977 incident occurred in a bedroom in Jack Nicholson's house. Actress Anjelica Huston, who was also in the home, was a potential witness.

Polanski was arrested in L.A. and pleaded guilty to one count of unlawful sexual intercourse with a minor. He then fled to France.

Geimer, now a mother of four, has said repeatedly and publicly that she thinks Polanski was treated unfairly and expressed a desire for the case to be resolved without prison time.

When Polanski sought to have the rape charge dismissed in 2008, she told The Times she welcomed an opportunity to finally end the case. "It's been a long time," she said. "I don't wish for him to be held to further punishment or consequences."

In 2003 she wrote an opinion piece for The Times saying the case should not be a barrier to Polanski's winning an Academy Award.

Polanski ended up winning best director for "The Pianist."

-- Harriet Ryan

Photo: Samantha Geimer in 2008. Credit: Peter Kramer / Associated Press