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Polanski Victim: Justice "Never Too Late"

Filmmaker Roman Polanski's lawyers filed for his release Tuesday, but he remains behind bars in Switzerland, after fleeing sentencing in the United States 31 years ago on the charge of sexually assaulting a 13-year-old girl.

That victim, Samantha Geimer, isn't talking right now, but several years ago she spoke to Early Show national correspondent Hattie Kauffman.

Geimer, who was assaulted by Polanski in 1977, has said she's forgiven Polanski and moved on. But in 2003, following news of Polanski's nomination for a Best Director Academy Award for "The Pianist," Kauffman said Geimer was adamant, saying it's never too late for justice to be served.

Polanski's Lawyers File for his Release

Geimer was a young girl who wanted to be a movie star, Kauffman reported. Polanski was one of Hollyood's hottest directors when they met in 1977 for a photo shoot.

Geimer said during Kauffman's interview, "He took topless pictures of me, which I think in the back of head, I was thinking, 'They'll be cropped, or it's in a European magazine, and we all know they show breasts in European magazines.'" Geimer did not tell her mother about the topless photos.

Polanski, basking in the success of his recent film, "Chinatown," starring Jack Nicholson, arranged a second photo shoot - this time at Nicholson's house.

Kauffman asked Geimer, "How did it go from a photo shoot to a rape?"

"Well, the last photos were taken in the jacuzzi," Geimer said. "But then he got in the jacuzzi, and that's when I started realizing that I might be in trouble, or I felt uncomfortable - I knew it didn't feel right.

"So I told him I wanted to get out of that jacuzzi, that the steam was giving me asthma and I couldn't breathe, and I thought maybe he should take me home - I just made that up. So he said OK, you know, come out now and grab a towel, run in the house. That's also when he said 'Well here, take this little, this will help you, little piece of a pill,' to relax my asthma attack."

The pill, Geimer said, was a quaalude. Then Geimer said she had sex with Polanski against her will.

Geimer told her mother, who called police. Polanski was charged with six felony counts.

Facing decades behinds bars, Polanski fled to Europe, where he's been a fugitive until his arrest this weekend.

In an interview with "60 Minutes" correspondent Mike Wallace in 1978, Polanski claimed the sex was consensual.

"She wasn't unschooled in sexual matters," Polanski said. "She was consenting and willing."

But is it too late for justice to be served?

Geimer told Kauffman, "It's never too late. It's never too late to go back and fix something that wasn't done right. It's been too long, but it will never be too late."

In a 2003 Op-Ed for the Los Angeles Times, Geimer wrote, "The one thing that bothers me is that what happened to me in 1977 continues to happen to girls every day, yet people are interested in me because Mr. Polanski is a celebrity. That just never seems right to me. It makes me feel guilty that this attention is directed at me, when there are certainly others out there who could really use it."

Earlier this year, Geimer filed a formal request that Los Angeles prosecutors drop the charges against Polanski, saying she wanted to move on and stop reliving the details.

Polanski has also moved on, according to Robert Harris, a bestselling novelist and Polanski's friend. Harris has been working with Polanski on a film adaptation of his novel, "The Ghost."

Photos: Roman Polanski

Polanski was arrested Saturday as he arrived in Zurich to receive an award from a film festival.

Harris told "Early Show" co-anchor Harry Smith Polanski didn't live in fear of arrest.

"I've been working with him pretty continuously for three years," Harris said. "And he traveled very freely back and forth between France and Switzerland. He has a house in Switzerland, which is why it seems so astonishing when he was actually picked up at the airport on Saturday night, because he could have been picked up at anytime if they wanted to do so."

In fact, Harris said, Polanski traveled to China, Egypt, Greece and Germany.

Harris said Polanski is embarrassed about the case's reprisal in the news for his young children.

He attributes Polanski's arrest to the HBO documentary, "Roman Polanski: Wanted and Desired," which revealed what many consider judicial misconduct.

"When this HBO documentary ... came out last year, I think he thought it was a turning point for him because that film, while not glossing over the seriousness of what happened, nevertheless did show the things that had gone on behind the scenes with the judge changing his mind on the plea bargain, which was the reason why he fled to Europe."

Documentary: "Roman Polanski: Wanted & Desired"

Harris added, referring to when the film was released, "I think he thought at that point (he was in) a position to get the whole thing thrown out. It may be that he then became too overconfident, too aggressive in his legal action in Los Angeles, (and) their patience finally snapped. And really, a half-hearted pursuit over the past 30 years became suddenly much more intense."

It's an ironic situation, Harris said.

"He sowed the seeds of his own defeat, and I think the Los Angeles prosecutors have been stung - some to action - by that movie," Harris said. "I can't see otherwise why the Swiss should suddenly have arrested him after all this time. They are now cooperating much more fully with America, and other countries ... and it may be that they're just trying to show that they're keen boys."