September 28, 2009
Posted: 08:06 AM ET
Oscar-winning filmmaker Roman Polanski has been arrested in Switzerland on a decades-old arrest warrant stemming from a sex charge in California, Swiss police said Sunday.
Polanski, 76, was taken into custody trying to enter Switzerland on Saturday, Zurich police said. A spokesman for the Swiss Justice Ministry said Polanski was arrested upon arrival at the airport.
He has lived in France for decades to avoid being arrested if he enters the United States and declined to appear in person to collect his Academy Award for Best Director for "The Pianist" in 2003.
The director pleaded guilty in 1977 to a single count of having unlawful sexual intercourse with a minor, acknowledging he had sex with a 13-year-old girl. But he fled the United States before he could be sentenced, and U.S. authorities have had a warrant for his arrest since 1978.
Polanski was nominated for best director Oscars for "Tess" and "Chinatown," and for best writing for "Rosemary's Baby," which he also directed. He was en route to the Zurich Film Festival, which is holding a Polanski tribute this year, when he was arrested by Swiss authorities, the festival said.
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