York County, Pa., has tie to fugitive director Roman Polanski’s persistently newsworthy case
An Associated Press photographer captured Roman Polanski attending a funeral in January in France. He now faces extradition to the United States. Polanski has an unfortunate link to York County. Background posts: All York celebrities posts from the start.
Last week, Academy Award winning film director Roman Polanski lost a bid in court for the judge to dismiss a 1978 rape charge against him.
According to Reuters, the Los Angeles judge would not consider the case until Polanski appeared before him. The fugitive director has been living outside the United States after fleeing upon his guilty plea in the rape of a 13-year-old girl.
Why bring all of this into York Town Square?
The 13-year-old had York links (see photo below) … .
Eleven years ago, Samantha Gailey Geimer went public to correct the record.
Here are excerpts from the York Daily Record’s story on Jan. 15, 1998:
In the mid-1970s, Samantha Gailey was like many other children in York.
She attended Lincoln Elementary School, then Edgar Fahs Smith Middle School. She got top grades and was the pride and joy of her parents – prominent York attorney Jack Gailey and actress Susan Gailey.
But things changed quickly.
By March 1977, the Gaileys had divorced, and Samantha had moved with her mother to the San Fernando Valley in California.
At 13, she dreamed of becoming an actress like her mother – perhaps a movie star whom everyone admired.
So when she met Roman Polanski, she thought she had landed her first big break into show business. In actuality, it was the start of a media nightmare.
Polanski is the Polish film director who made such highly acclaimed movies as “Rosemary’s Baby,” “Chinatown” and “Bitter Moon.” In 1969, the Charles Manson “family” murdered his pregnant wife, actress Sharon Tate, at their Los Angeles ranch home.
Eight years later, Polanski was at the center of a sex scandal. He pleaded guilty to bedding a 13-year-old girl, then fled the United States to avoid a prison sentence.
Samantha Gailey – who spent the first part of her life on West Philadelphia Street in York – was that girl.
And today, as Samantha Geimer of Kauai, Hawaii, the mother of three children, she’s not afraid to admit it.
When Polanski attempted to re-enter the country last year and attain a lighter sentence for his crime, igniting the story anew, some magazines continued to print lies about the unidentified girl – rumors about what had happened on March 10, 1977.
Geimer decided to set the record straight. She went public with her story on television news shows and then again in the Dec. 15 issue of People magazine.
“I was tired,” Geimer said Wednesday from her home in Hawaii. “I just thought, 20 years is past and I still have to pick up a magazine and read this mean stuff that is not true about me and my mom.”
It wasn’t until the People article that some York residents recognized a photograph of her adoptive father – the late John “Jack” R. Gailey Jr. of York. In the photo, Gailey stood facing his daughter on her wedding day in 1982.
Gailey died in August 1995 at age 68. Geimer came to York for the funeral.
“For the years that I was in Pennsylvania and living with him, I couldn’t ask for more,” Geimer said. “I never felt bad about being adopted. He always provided everything I needed.”
Geimer hasn’t seen her biological father since she was very young. Her mother married Jack Gailey – her third husband – in 1966, when Samantha was 3 years old. They divorced about 10 years later, and Samantha lived in York with her father for a year while her mother pursued an acting career in New York.
Then, in 1976, Susan Gailey moved with Samantha and her other daughter, Kim, to California.
Jack Gailey continued practicing law in York until his death. In one of his last cases, he defended the man charged with throwing rocks at cars driving on Interstate 83 in southern York County.
Through the years, most of Gailey’s acquaintances knew nothing about his daughter’s trouble in California. Only the family and Gailey’s law partner knew the secret.
And, for the sake of Samantha, they kept it.
“I was in on it from the start,” said Harold N. Fitzkee Jr., Gailey’s law partner for almost 23 years.
Three months after it happened, Geimer returned to York to visit her father. She spent every summer here until she turned 18. She told no one here about what had happened. Neither did her father.
“It’s a private matter,” Fitzkee said. “She knew people around here. There’s no reason to tell anybody. I agreed with him entirely.
“She was a very together young girl. She was smart, very attractive, but she was just a regular kid.”
Jack Gailey, in his own right, had a measure of prominence in York that exceeded his reputation in the legal community.
According to his 1995 obituary, he represented York County in the Pennsylvania House for seven terms ending in 1968. He then directed Legislative Reference Bureau, a state agency, from 1968 to 1972.
In this Tuesday, May 6, 2008, Associated Press file photo, Samantha Geimer is seen at the opening of HBO’s ‘Roman Polanski: Wanted and Desired’ in New York. Polanski, who was accused of having sex in 1977 with the then 13-year-old Geimer, was arrested by Swiss police on Sept. 26, 2009, as he flew in for the Zurich Film Festival and faces extradition to the United States.