TODAY

TODAY   |  September 16, 2013

Roman Polanski victim: I’m telling story ‘on my own terms’

Samantha Geimer, who at age 13 was at the center of a sexual abuse charges against director Roman Polanski, speaks out 36 years later in her new book “The Girl: My Life in the Shadow of Roman Polanski.” She tells TODAY’s Savannah Guthrie that the book is a way ‘to tell my story on my own terms.”

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This content comes from Closed Captioning that was broadcast along with this program.

>> three decades of virtual silence, the woman at the center of the roman polanksi sex assault case is speaking out. but first, her story.

>> samantha was 13 years old when she first metro man polanksi, acclaimed director of award winning films like china town .

>> at the right time and the right place, they're capable of anything.

>> and rosemary's baby.

>> rosemary, go back to bed. you know you're not supposed to be up and around.

>> she agreed to model for poll polanksi for a magazine spread and these were some of the photos taken. polanksi gave her champagne and then sexually abused her. she pressed charges and he pleaded guilty to having unlawful sexual intercourse as part of a plea bargain.

>> never drempt of finding myself on the other side of the law.

>> facing the possibility of deportation he fled to his home in france hours before he was to be formally sentenced.

>> i'm not happy about it. i would be an idiot to convince you i like what happened.

>> to this day, polanksi is exiled over seas.

>> in her new book, a girl, a life in the shadow of roman polanksi , she reveals the details of the sexual assault and how it effected and continues to effect her life today.

>> samantha guymer is with us now. good to see you.

>> thank you for having me.

>> you write that some ways in all of these years you were a player in telling your own story. you write so much has been written about the polanksi case but none of it has been written by me. what did you want to say?

>> i wanted to tell the truth of the story and tell it on my own terms. not as a reaction to whatever might be bringing it back into my life.

>> one of the things that comes up throughout the book is your desire to just have a normal life and just go on with your life. you know there's a certain irony here. writing a book has the opposite effect. now it's all in the open again.

>> yes, so this time i'm bringing it all on myself but it comes back to me anyway. so i wanted to handle it on my own terms finally.

>> the cover of the book has also gotten attention. you actually use one of the photographs that roman polanksi took of you when you were 13. are you surprised at the reaction that has gotten?

>> i was surprised at the reaction but it seemed like a good choice. that's me at that time.

>> you describe exactly what happened to you that day. the first time when you met him when he had you pose topless and the second time when the statutory rape occurred. was it difficult to relive the details? did you remember everything just as though it had happened the day before?

>> it wasn't really difficult to relive it because hi to do it so much. immediately after and throughout the years. it's a familiar story to me. so it's kind of easy for me to tell it.

>> one of the things that is striking about the book, i don't think you feel about this incident is at all obvious or predictable. how do you feel about roman polanksi and what happened that day, do you consider it rape? because when you read the book, it's not obvious how you feel about it?

>> well, how do i feel about him? i hope he is well. i was 13. that makes it rape. but i didn't experience it that way. in my mind, i didn't know that was illegal. i didn't understand he could go to jail for it. i was young.

>> so do you feel now -- do you have a different perspective now, you're a mother, you're an adult. do you think he took advantage of you.

>> yes it was a bad thing to do and he knows that.

>> how was your life after that? you had this court case and were in the center of it and you felt victimized by the process as much.

>> it was a horrible worst year of my life. from the minute my mom called the police. it went on and on. the phone range off the hook. my whole family was traumatized. it was terrible.

>> you mention your mother. she was the one that called police. especially in the early days, she was like a stage mother or wannabe actress that let you be taken advantage of. anything you want to say about that?

>> that's not true. my mom was an actress and that's how she paid her bills and didn't have any idea i would be in trouble or anything bad would happen. she was trying to help me in my career.

>> you have been in touch with mr. polanksi over the years.

>> several times.

>> what would you say to him?

>> i don't know. i would have to think about that and hopefully it wouldn't be a surprise if i saw him.

>> well, samantha geimer thank you for being here.

>> thank you.

>> the book is called "the