Polish Authorities to Again Question Roman Polanski Over Sex Crime Case

Roman Polanski

Prosecutors in L.A. have asked the country to extradite the Oscar-winning director, who faces sexual assault charges dating back to 1977

Polish prosecutors plan to again question Oscar-winning director Roman Polanski after they received a request for his extradition to the United States in relation to a sex crime from 1977.

Polish authorities questioned Polanski last year and released him. The octogenarian filmmaker has been spending time in the Polish city of Krakow, where he plans to shoot his next film.

Mateusz Martyniuk, a spokesman for the prosecutor general's office in Warsaw, told Reuters that the extradition request, came from prosecutors in Los Angeles and that it would be passed on to the prosecutors' office in Krakow.

"Prosecutors will want to summon Polanski for questioning," Martyniuk said.

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A Polish lawyer for Polanski told Reuters that the situation has not changed since October, where Polish authorities requested the director but released him, saying there were no grounds for an arrest.

Polanski pleaded pleaded guilty to having unlawful sex with then 13-year-old Samantha Geimer in 1977 after a photoshoot at Jack Nicholson's house in Los Angeles in which Geimer was plied with champagne and Quaaludes. Polanski fled the country before serving his full 90-day sentence, believing the judge hearing his case could overrule the deal and put him in jail for years.

Polish police questioned Polanski last October when the director traveled to Warsaw for the opening of a Jewish museum. The authorities released him without charge, saying Polanski complied with all their requests and was “a free citizen and free to travel.”

The director of The Pianist, Chinatown and Carnage was born in Poland but has dual French-Polish citizenship and lives in France. France does not extradite its own citizens. Under a treaty between Poland and the U.S., Poland may, but is not required to, extradite citizens.

While Polanski has not returned to the U.S., he had traveled, and worked, freely throughout Europe until, in 2009, he was arrested while visiting the Zurich Film Festival to receive a lifetime achievement award. He was placed under house arrest until the Swiss authorities decided not to extradite him. The Swiss Justice Ministry said at the time that U.S. authorities had not made a convincing case for extradition as they did not address the issue of whether Polanski could be giving an extended prison sentence in connection to the original case.

Polanski was first charged with six offenses, including rape and sodomy but only pleaded guilty to the lesser charge of unlawful sex with a minor. He served 42 days of a 90-day sentence and fled the U.S. after hearing rumors that the judge in the case was about to re-sentence him for a much longer term.

Late last year, Polanski tried to get a California court to dismiss his decades-old case but his motion was rejected by Superior Court Judge James Brandlin who said couldn't address Polanski's claims of judicial misconduct while the director remains a fugitive outside the country.

Polanski's lawyers have been seeking assurances from the Polish authorities that he can travel freely back and forth to Krakow to work on his latest project about the 19th century Dreyfus affair. The case, which divided Parisian society at the time, involved the false conviction of French-Jewish army officer Alfred Dreyfus on drummed up charges of treason.

Polanski recently staged a musical version of his 1967 horror comedy The Fearless Vampire Killers, which is currently running in Paris.

His victim, Geimer, last year published her account of the incident, The Girl: A Life Live in the Shadow of Roman Polanski, says she has forgiven the director and just wants "the legal machine to stop."

Twitter: @sroxborough