Swiss Nab Polanski on 31-Year-Old US Warrant

Fugitive director, in town for lifetime award, arrested on 1978 statutory rape charge

By Newser Editors and Wire Services

Posted Sep 27, 2009 5:50 AM CDT

(Newser) – Director Roman Polanski has been taken into custody by Swiss police on a 31-year-old US arrest warrant for statutory rape, organizers of the Zurich Film Festival said today. The 76-year-old director of Chinatown and Rosemary's Baby, slated to receive an award for his lifetime of work, had recently sought dismissal on grounds of misconduct by the now-deceased judge who had arranged a plea bargain and then reneged on it.

Polanski fled the US in 1978, a year after pleading guilty to unlawful sexual intercourse with a 13-year-old girl. Polanski has lived for the past three decades in France, where his career has continued to flourish. He received a directing Oscar in absentia for 2002's The Pianist. Festival organizers said Polanski's detention had caused "shock and dismay," but that they would go ahead with today's planned retrospective of his work.

In this 2008 file photo, Polish director Roman Polanski is seen in Oberhausen, Germany. Organizers of the Zurich Film Festival say Polanski has been taken into custody on a 1978 US arrest warrant.
In this 2008 file photo, Polish director Roman Polanski is seen in Oberhausen, Germany. Organizers of the Zurich Film Festival say Polanski has been taken into custody on a 1978 US arrest warrant.   (ROBERTO PFEIL)
In this 2008 file photo Polish director Roman Polanski is seen in Oberhausen, western Germany.
In this 2008 file photo Polish director Roman Polanski is seen in Oberhausen, western Germany.   (AP Photo/Roberto Pfeil, File)
Polish-born film director Roman Polanski during the burial ceremony for French filmmaker Claude Berri in Montrouge, outside Paris, in this Jan. 15, 2009 file photo.
Polish-born film director Roman Polanski during the burial ceremony for French filmmaker Claude Berri in Montrouge, outside Paris, in this Jan. 15, 2009 file photo.   (AP Photo/Michel Euler, File)
Samantha Geimer was the 13-year-old girl Polansky pleaded guilty to having sex with. She's since sought to have the 31-year-old case against him dismissed.
Samantha Geimer was the 13-year-old girl Polansky pleaded guilty to having sex with. She's since sought to have the 31-year-old case against him dismissed.   (AP Photo/Peter Kramer)
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