Valentine Monnier, the former actor who recently went public with her accusation that Roman Polanski raped her 44 years ago, sent an anonymous letter to L.A. prosecutors in early 2017 detailing those allegations, sources tell Variety. The Los Angeles County District Attorney’s office has confirmed that it received such a letter in February 2017 and has kept it in its files, but declined to comment further.
Monnier lives in Paris and now works as a photographer. A source close to her said she sent the letter anonymously to L.A. prosecutors in early 2017 out of anger upon hearing that Polanski was to be named the honorary president of the Cesar Awards, France’s highest film prizes. At the time, Polanski’s attorneys were making various requests of the L.A. Superior Court, including that he be sentenced in absentia for his 1977 statutory rape conviction and allowed to return to the U.S. The D.A. opposed those requests.
The source said Monnier wrote to the D.A.’s office to try to assist in its efforts to get Polanski to return and submit to U.S. jurisdiction.
In an investigative story published by the French newspaper Le Parisien on Nov. 8, Monnier went public with her allegation that Polanski raped her violently in a chalet in Gstaad, Switzerland, in 1975, when she was just 18. The source close to Monnier said the letter described the alleged incident in greater detail than the story in Le Parisien.
Polanski’s French attorney, Hervé Témime, has said that the filmmaker vehemently denies the allegation and is considering taking legal action against Le Parisien. In an interview published in Rome’s Il Messaggero newspaper on Tuesday, Polanski said: “The media continue to accuse me….Absurd tales are published with accusations by women whom I’ve never known regarding facts that theoretically took place decades ago. Defending myself is like fighting against windmills.”
The source close to Monnier said she wrote a second, signed letter about her alleged rape to the Los Angeles D.A.’s office in late 2017, after the Harvey Weinstein scandal broke; Monnier herself told Le Parisien that she had sent such a missive. But the D.A.’s office told Variety that it had no trace of a second letter on the matter.
The source said Monnier didn’t contact Swiss authorities in 2017 because she knew that her allegation could not result in any criminal charges, because Switzerland’s 20-year statute of limitations had passed.
Polanski has been living in exile in France since fleeing the U.S. in 1978, before he could be sentenced after pleading guilty to having sex with a 13-year-old girl.
Monnier’s testimony has struck a chord in France, coming only a few days after actor Adele Haenel’s alleged that director Christophe Ruggia sexually harassed her over several years.
Although Polanski has faced backlash in the French media following Monnier’s allegation and a potential suspension from France’s authors, directors and producers guild, his latest film, “An Officer and a Spy,” has performed well at the box office there. It has sold more than 500,000 tickets in just one week in theaters across France. His previous movie, “Based on a True Story” had sold less than 200,000 tickets during its entire B.O. run in France.