British actress stands by Polanski claims

19th May 2010, Comments 0 comments

A British actress who claims she was sexually abused by Roman Polanski insisted she was telling the truth Wednesday after the emergence of an old interview which cast doubt on her allegations.

Charlotte Lewis, 42, held a press conference in Los Angeles last week to allege that she had been abused by fugitive Polanski "in the worst possible way" at the film-maker's Paris apartment just after her 16th birthday.

However Lewis's version of events was called into question after the emergence of a 1999 interview she gave with the British tabloid News of the World, where she said she was Polanski's lover for several months.

"I knew Roman had done something wrong in America but I wasn't too sure what," Lewis was quoted as saying in the interview 11 years ago. "Anyway, I was fascinated by him, and I wanted to be his lover.

"He'd already cast me in his film Pirates, so it wasn't like it was a casting-couch thing where you have to sleep with someone to get the part. I wanted him probably more than he wanted me."

A lawyer for Polanski, who is fighting extradition from Switzerland to face sentencing in the United States in his 1978 child sex case, said on Monday Lewis's allegations amounted to a blackmail attempt.

However Lewis, who was interviewed by Los Angeles police and prosecutors, said in a statement issued by her lawyer Wednesday she stood by her story, claiming she had been misquoted in the News of the World interview.

"Many statements quoted from the News of the World article are not true. I stand by my statements to the Los Angeles Police Department and the Los Angeles County District Attorney's Office, and would welcome the chance to confront Roman Polanski face to face anytime, anywhere in the world because I am telling the truth and he knows it," Lewis said.

"Further, shortly after the incident with Mr Polanski when I was 16 I told a friend the truth about how Mr Polanski had taken advantage of me.

"My attorney, Gloria Allred, delivered a notarized statement to law enforcement from that friend and it supports my statement.

"I will not be deterred by Mr. Polanski or his supporters from going forward. In the end, I have confidence that truth will prevail."

© 2010 AFP

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