In 1993, Samantha Geimer reached a settlement in a civil suit against Roman Polanski for sexual assault, false imprisonment, seduction of a minor and intentional infliction of emotional distress, among other things. The public record does not reveal whether the payment was ever made. Polanski had until October 1995 to pay the settlement, with interest. But according to the L.A. Times, in 1996:
…her attorneys enlisted the Los Angeles County Sheriff’s Department in an attempt to garnish money intended for Polanski from movie studios, his agent and the Screen Actors Guild, the records show.
The case file does not reveal how the issue was resolved. The final document filed in the case bears an August 1996 stamp and has the director still owing Geimer $604,416.
The file hints at other elements of the settlement. A document written by Geimer’s lawyer refers to a life insurance policy Polanski was to buy. And a note on an order signed by a judge the day after the settlement was finalized suggests a more complex financial arrangement than the $500,000 payment. The note read “250,000 + 500,000 + maybe 500,000″ followed by the words “settled” and “confidential.”
Hopefully, eventually, she got something worthwhile from him. But is it any wonder she wants the case dropped? She’s done the right thing at every turn, only to have this man thumb his nose at her personally, at California generally, and at the concept of justice. Have you ever had to deal with someone seems compelled to make every obligation s/he has to you into a huge ordeal you’ll regret? It wears you down, because every negotiation is a battle. Eventually you realize this person considers you an uppity little entitled shit for continuing to bother him or her.
Or worse: the person flatters him- or herself that you’re obsessed with them, and just can’t let them out of your lives. In a way, they figure they’re giving you what you want by dragging out every negotiation as long as they can.
Is it any wonder she’s saying he’s suffered enough, too? I think the above-linked L.A. Times piece may be hinting at this question: was public support for Polanski a compromise Geimer had to make in order to get her settlement? Most settlements do include some sort of “gag order” or restrictions or requirements on what the plaintiff is allowed to say about the defendant.
But one point Geimer has made in recent years keeps coming back to me: that no one else has ever alleged sexual misconduct by Polanski, and therefore it would seem he’s not a danger to society. She’s got a point. I find it very hard to imagine Polanski only pulled a stunt like this once, because I believe rapists who report that committing sexual assaults is a sort of high, and once you’ve done it nothing else in life compares, and so you have to do it again. But that’s just my belief. If no one else comes forward, it’s hard for Geimer to argue that justice for her would be justice for all.
That’s where the rest of humanity comes in, or should.
Remember, no one ever came forward about Arnold Schwarzenegger’s sexual assaults on female peons in the film industry, because they knew if they ever wanted to work in film again, they were not to mouth off about misconduct by someone important like him. The allegations only came up because the L.A. Times knew – as did half of Los Angeles – that he had a reputation for groping women (and worse). The paper, motivated by Schwarzenegger running for governor of California – took it upon themselves to do some research. They found women who had credible stories. Some of them were even willing to talk now, even if it meant killing their careers in film. Some sort of justice was one step away – that step being the one where public sentiment picked up the ball and demanded it.
But you know what happened then? Nobody cared. They elected him instead. Just think about that.