French Actress Accuses Roman Polanski of Raping Her When She Was 18

Director denies rape allegations via French attorney

Roman Polanski
Getty Images

A French actress has accused Roman Polanski of raping her in 1975 in Switzerland when she was 18 years old.

According to Le Parisien, via translation, Valentine Monnier said the “extremely violent” rape occurred in a ski chalet in Switzerland.

While a spokesperson for Polanski has not yet responded to TheWrap’s request for comment, Polanski’s French attorney Hervé Témime told Le Parisien that Polanski strongly denies the allegations in a statement Friday and a separate statement on Sunday.

“Mr Polanski disputes in the strongest terms this rape accusation,” Temime told AFP. “We are working on the legal action to bring against this publication,” he added.

“I had no connection with him, no staff, no professional and hardly knew him,” Monnier said. “It was extremely violent, after a skiing trip, in his cottage in Gstaad (Switzerland). He hit me, beat me until I surrendered, and then raped me with all the vicissitudes. I had just turned 18 years old.”

She told the paper she was moved to speak out 44 years later because of Polanski’s film, “J’Accuse” (“An Officer and a Spy”), which will hit theaters in France next week.

“The response time is not forgotten, rape is a time bomb,” she said. “Memory does not fade, it becomes a ghost and pursues you, insidiously alters you. The body often ends up relaying what the mind has relegated, until age or an event puts you in front of the traumatic memory.”

Monnier said that shortly after obtaining her degree at a private Parisian high school, she went on a sabbatical, and was invited by a friend to go skiing in Switzerland and stay at Polanski’s. She loved skiing, so she accepted. She went skiing with the filmmaker and some of his friends. At one point when they were alone on a chairlift, Polanski propositioned her. She said she declined, but they later went to dinner and upon returning to the cottage, she said he got naked threw himself on her, struck her, tore off her clothes and tried to get her to swallow a pill before raping her.

“Life had not trained me to be suspicious,” she said. “I was totally shocked. I weighed 50 kg, Polanski was small, but muscular and, at 42, in the prime of life: he got the upper hand in two minutes.” She remembered she feared for her life, fearing that the director “could not take the risk that this is known, so he will have to kill her.”

Le Parisien spoke to several people who corroborated Monnier’s story, including a friend of Monnier’s who was there that night. Using the pseudonym “Charles,” the friend told Le Parisien he will sign an attestation and testify if there is a trial.

“After having dined and skied together with a group for a day or two, she called me and asked if she could come to my house. She looked upset. When she arrived in my cottage, I think I remember that she had a blue on the cheek,” he recalled. “Then she told me that she had been brutally raped by Polanski.”

A few months after the assault, Monnier also recounted her experience to a friend, Isabelle, and a man who became her boyfriend. Both corroborated their conversations with her. In 1993 Monnier shared the story with her husband; in 2001, she told her brother.

Polanski, 84, has been a fugitive from the United States since 1978 when he fled to France prior to sentencing in a sexual assault case involving his having drugged and raped a 13-year-old girl. Since then, several other women have come forward to accuse Polanski of raping them when they were children or teenagers under circumstances similar to the 1977 case. In December 2017, the Los Angeles Police Department opened a new investigation into accusations by artist Marianne Barnard that Polanski molested her in 1975. He has consistently denied all accusations.