Roman Polanski denies new 'violent' rape claim


Roman Polanski

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Roman Polanski won the Oscar for best director for The Pianist in 2003

Roman Polanski has denied a new claim that he raped a French actress in the 1970s.

The latest in a series of sexual assault accusations against the director, comes from Valentine Monnier.

Monnier, who is now a photographer, accused Polanski of an “extremely violent” assault and rape at his chalet in the Swiss ski resort of Gstaad in 1975, when she was 18.

The 86-year-old filmmaker has rejected the allegation, threatening to sue.

In an open letter published by French newspaper Le Parisien, Monnier said he tried to make her swallow a pill during the alleged attack, and later made a tearful apology while demanding a promise she never tell anyone.

“I thought I was going to die,” she wrote.

The Oscar-winning director’s lawyer Herve Temime told AFP in a statement he “disputes in the strongest terms this rape accusation”.

‘Re-write’ history

“We are working on the legal action to bring against this publication,” he added.

Polanski’s new film, An Officer and a Spy, which is out on Wednesday in France, had already courted controversy in September when it took second place at the Venice film festival. Monnier, who acted in a few films in the 1980s, said the release of the film, about one of the most notorious errors of justice in French history – The Dreyfus affair – had prompted her to speak out.

“How could he benefit from public funds to instrumentalise history, and in doing so rewrite his own to cover up his criminal past?” she wrote, referring to French subsidies for film productions.

“He pummelled me until I gave in and then raped me, making me do all sorts of things,” she added.

Polanski admitted unlawful sex with a minor in 1977 and served 42 days in prison, but later fled the US over concern that a plea bargain deal would be scrapped.

The Oscar-winning director, who is a citizen of Poland and of France, has been a fugitive since.

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