HORRIFYING

Roman Polanski Accused of Sexually Assaulting a 10-Year-Old Girl

In the wake of the Weinstein allegations, artist Marianne Barnard has come forward to allege that filmmaker Roman Polanski sexually assaulted her in 1975 when she was just 10.

Pascal Le Segretain/Getty Images

Roman Polanski, who fled America after he was convicted of sexually assaulting a 13-year-old girl, has been accused by yet another woman of sexually assaulting her when she was underage.

Marianne Barnard, a California-based artist, first tweeted the following about Polanski on Oct. 13: “#RomanPolanski took photos of me naked & in fur coat on beach in Malibu, I was 10 yrs old. He went on from there. This ends now #ROSEARMY.” The hashtag #RoseArmy was created by actress Rose McGowan, who The New York Times reported had settled with Harvey Weinstein for $100,000 over a 1997 incident in a hotel room during the Sundance Film Festival. McGowan later claimed that Weinstein raped her.

Invigorated and emboldened by the string of women who have stepped forward to speak openly about the alleged abuse they suffered at the hands of film mogul Harvey Weinstein, Barnard opened up to The Sun about her experience with Polanksi.

At the impressionable age of 10, Barnard says she met Polanski in 1975 in Malibu for a photo shoot—where she was set to be covered, clad in a bathing suit while sitting atop a bed of rocks. During the shoot, she says that Polanski asked her to remove her top, and given her inexperience, she didn’t think anything of it. “First he was taking pictures of me in the bikini, then it was with the coat then he said take off the bikini top, which I was comfortable with as I was only 10 and I often ran around with no top on,” Barnard recalled

It was after he allegedly told her to remove her bottoms that she became wary of his motives. “But then he wanted me to take my bikini bottoms off—I started to feel very uncomfortable,” said Barnard, who realized her mother, who had accompanied her there, had stepped away from the shoot. “I don’t know where she went and I didn’t really register her leaving but she was no longer there. Then he molested me.”

Barnard notes that she still suffers from PTSD and claustrophobia from her alleged encounter, but she finds solace in telling her story to the public, and hopes that her voice will encourage other individuals to open up about their cases of abuse, too. According to The Sun, she has “made an official report with the Los Angeles Police Department’s Robbery-Homicide Division (RHD) sex crimes unit,” and even launched an online petition to have Polanski removed from the Academy, which recently kicked out Weinstein.

“I felt terribly conflicted that I have been silent all this time and all these women are bravely coming forward and I thought to myself I can’t in good conscious knowing what I know—and having gone through what I’ve gone through—not speak out,” she continued. “Even though it puts me in a very bad—even dangerous position—with my mom and Polanski and other people who are involved, I can’t be silent any more.”

Since Polanski was convicted of drugging and sexually assaulting 13-year-old Samantha Geimer in 1977, forcing him to live in exile, three other women besides Barnard have come forward accusing the legendary filmmaker of sexual assault. Charlotte Lewis, a British actress, accused Polanski of “forcing” himself on her back in 1982, when she was just 16; a woman identified only as “Robin M” alleged reported to the LAPD that she was sexually assaulted by Polanski in 1973 at the age of 16; and earlier this month, German actress Renate Langer accused Polanski of raping her when she was 15. 

Even though he pleaded guilty to “unlawful sexual intercourse with a minor,” the Academy awarded him the Best Director Oscar in 2003 for The Pianist. And in 2009, when Polanski was arrested in Switzerland on a warrant from his 1977 U.S. child sex charge, 138 people in the film industry signed a petition requesting his release. One of the most high-profile signatories was Harvey Weinstein.