Crime History, March 11, 1977: Filmmaker Polanski arrested for rape of 13-year-old girl

On this day, March 11, in 1977, filmmaker Roman Polanski was arrested on charges of drugging and raping a 13-year-old girl in Los Angeles.

Roman Polanski

Roman Polanski

Polanski, who directed “Chinatown” and “Rosemary’s Baby,” was the husband of Sharon Tate, the actress murdered by members of the Manson family cult in 1969.

Polanski was accused inviting the teenager to actor Jack Nicholson’s house for a photo shoot, then plying the child with champagne and a Quaalude before sodomizing her. Polanski was 43 at the time.

The director pleaded guilty in 1977 to having unlawful sexual intercourse with a minor, but fled the United States hours before his sentencing.

He has lived in France for decades to avoid arrest. He did not appear in the U.S. to pick up an Academy Award for Best Director for “The Pianist” in 2003.

Polanski was arrested at an airport in Switzerland in 2009. The Swiss rejected the U.S. request for extradition and released him in 2010.

— Scott McCabe

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