January 22, 2019

Roman Polanski faces allegation of molesting an underage girl

Director Roman Polanski is facing an allegation of molesting an underage girl in 1975, adding to the torrent of sexual assault allegations against members of Hollywood in recent weeks.

Marianne Barnard, an artist, told The Sun in an interview that she met Polanski on a beach at the age of 10 through her mother, where he took photos of her in a bikini and a fur coat. Barnard said she started to feel “uncomfortable” when he asked her to take off her bikini bottoms.

“At some point I realized my mom had gone,” said Barnard. “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 revealed to the Sun that she has suffered from claustrophobia and post-traumatic stress disorder (PTSD) since.

“I’ll probably always have post traumatic stress and have claustrophobia be afraid of the dark – there are some things that will never go away – but I have come out the other side of a tremendous amount of darkness and I live a full and healthy life,” said Barnard.

She felt compelled to speak out after being inspired by the women in the #MeToo movement.

“I felt like I wasn’t doing the right thing by being quiet and I needed to speak out,” said Barnard. “I want him to be exposed so he cannot carry on this behavior.”

Barnard has launched a petition calling for Polanski to be expelled from the Academy of Motion Picture Arts and Sciences board. Over 17,000 people have signed the petition, putting her close toward her goal of 18,000 signatures.

“We’ve stayed silent until now,” Barnard wrote in the petition. “We feared. But, we can no longer be silent and allow this man who sexually assaulted little girls to enjoy fame, recognition or an honored place in history.”

Barnard is the fifth woman to level an accusation of sexual assault against Polanski. Polanski has been living on the run in Europe to avoid being sentenced for raping Samantha Geimer at the age of 13 in 1977. There is still a warrant out for his arrest in the United States.

This accusation is the latest among many against Hollywood moguls following the wave of sexual assault allegations against Harvey Weinstein.