An American woman and former model has accused controversial director Roman Polanski of molesting her as a 10-year-old child, The Huffington Post reports. Marianne Barnard, an artist living in California, made the allegations in an interview with British newspaper The Sun, in which she claims Polanski molested her during a photo shoot which took place in 1975.
Barnard is one of a handful of women who have accused Polanski of sexual assault while they were minors. The director pleaded guilty to the statutory rape of 13-year-old Samantha Geimer in 1977, for which he served just 42 days in prison before fleeing to Europe. He was subsequently arrested in Switzerland in 1999 but was released months later after an extradition deal fell through. Now 84, Polanski has been seeking a return to the United States, but only on the grounds that he does not serve additional jail time.
According to Barnard, Polanski allegedly molested her while photographing her on a California beach.
“I had on a bikini and I thought that it was a modeling shoot," she told The Sun. "I had modeled as a child so this wasn’t out of the ordinary for me. 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.
“But then he wanted me to take my bikini bottoms off. I started to feel very uncomfortable. Then at some point I realized my mom had gone. 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, who has now reportedly filed an official police report with LAPD's sex crimes unit, told the paper that she suffered post-traumatic stress disorder and claustrophobia since the alleged attack. She has also started a petition demanding that Polanski be removed from the Academy of Motion Picture Arts of Sciences board.
The Academy recently expelled Harvey Weinstein following accusations of sexual harassment and assault. Barnard said the Weinstein case prompted her to speak of her own experiences.
“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 conscience knowing what I know, and having gone through what I’ve gone through, not speak out," she told The Sun.
Polanski has yet to comment.
If you have experienced sexual violence and are in need of crisis support, please call the RAINN Sexual Assault Hotline at 1-800-656-HOPE (4673).
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