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Roman Polanski civil trial over alleged 1973 rape of girl is set for 2025

A start date has been set in the sexual assault trial of director Roman Polanski, who is being accused of raping a girl in the 1970s.
A start date has been set in the sexual assault trial of director Roman Polanski, who is being accused of raping a girl in the 1970s.

The sexual assault case against director Roman Polanski is set to proceed with an upcoming trial.

Attorney Gloria Allred, who is representing the woman accusing Polanski of raping her as a minor in 1973, issued a statement Tuesday confirming the 10-day trial will begin Aug. 4, 2025. The woman, whose name has been kept anonymous, is suing Polanski on charges of rape/sexual battery and intentional infliction of emotional distress.

The civil lawsuit was originally filed in June 2023 in the Los Angeles County Superior Court under a California law that temporarily allowed people to file claims of childhood sexual abuse after the statute of limitations had expired. The case was then served to Polanski at his home in Paris, France, in September of that year, according to Allred.

The woman first came forward with her story in 2017 after another Polanski accuser asked a judge to dismiss her charges, which he declined to do. At the time, the woman gave her first name and middle initial and said she was 16 at the time of the assault.

“It took me a really long time to decide to file this suit against Mr. Polanski, but I finally did make that decision,” the woman said during a press conference Tuesday. “I want to file it to obtain justice and accountability.”

Defense attorney Alexander Rufus-Isaacs said in an email to The Associated Press Tuesday that Polanski “strenuously denies the allegations made against him in the lawsuit and believes that the proper place to try this case is in the courts.” The attorney also asserted the lawsuit is unconstitutional because it relies on a law not passed until 1990.

USA TODAY has reached out to representatives for Polanski for comment.

The trial will center on an incident from 1973, in which the woman went out for dinner with Polanski after previously meeting the director at a party, according to a copy of the lawsuit obtained by USA TODAY. The woman’s age at the time of her interactions with Polanski is not disclosed in the complaint, though it’s stated she was “a minor.”

The woman claims she first met up with Polanski at his house in the Los Angeles neighborhood of Benedict Canyon. Polanski then allegedly gave the young woman two shots of tequila to drink, per the lawsuit.

When Polanski and the woman arrived at the restaurant for their date, the pair’s table was not ready for them, according to the filing. Polanski and the woman proceeded to seat themselves at the bar, where Polanski allegedly ordered the woman more tequila.

Polanski reportedly drove the woman back to his house after she began feeling ill from the tequila she had drank, per the lawsuit. The woman alleges she remembers being led by Polanski into his bedroom and passing out on his bed.

The woman also claims in the complaint that she woke up in Polanski’s bed with the director lying next to her. The director allegedly told the woman he “wanted to have sex with her,” a request she denied. Polanski then removed the woman’s clothes and raped her, which caused the woman “tremendous physical and emotional pain and suffering.”

In addition to the trial, the woman is seeking a combination of “non-economic” and “special” damages as compensation, with the latter covering “past, present and future lost earnings, economic damages and others,” according to the complaint.

Roman Polanski previously accused of raping teen in 1970s

Polanski was the subject of a criminal sexual assault case in 1977 after the director had sex with a 13-year-old girl. Polanski’s victim testified before a grand jury that during a photoshoot at Jack Nicholson’s house in March 1977 when the actor wasn’t home, Polanski gave her champagne and part of a sedative, then forced her to have sex. The girl said she didn’t fight him because she was afraid of him, but her mother later called police.

When the girl refused to testify in court, Polanski pleaded guilty to unlawful sex with a minor in exchange for prosecutors dropping drug, rape and sodomy charges. Polanski was arrested and spent time in jail before fleeing the U.S. in 1978 after becoming convinced the judge in the case, now deceased, planned to sentence him to a lengthy prison term.

According to transcripts unsealed in 2022, a prosecutor testified that the judge had in fact planned to reject the plea deal.

In her Tuesday statement, Allred said “the criminal justice system has not yielded a just outcome for the people of California who had a right to see Mr. Polanski sentenced for his sexual crime against a child.”

“Our client Jane Doe has demonstrated enormous courage in filing her lawsuit against a famous director who previously pled guilty to a sex crime against a child and then fled to Europe to escape sentencing,” Allred said. “Although (Polanski) has appeared to return to business as usual in his life, our client has not been able to return to business as usual since her victimization.”

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Contributing: Maria Puente, USA TODAY; Andrew Dalton and Brian Melley, The Associated Press

This article originally appeared on USA TODAY: Roman Polanski trial: Rape case against director receives start date