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© Reuters. FILE PHOTO: Film director Roman Polanski poses prior to the screening of his movie © Reuters. FILE PHOTO: Film director Roman Polanski poses prior to the screening of his movie “D’apres une histoire vraie” at the Cinematheque in Paris

ZURICH (Reuters) – Swiss prosecutors have dropped an investigation of film director Roman Polanski after finding the statute of limitations did not allow pursuing allegations by a former German actress and model that he raped her in 1972 when she was 15 years old.

The woman, Renate Langer, made the allegations to Swiss authorities only in September.

When they emerged, a lawyer for the 84-year-old French-Polish film director called them an absurd attempt to generate media attention.

Prosecutors in the central canton of Bern said late on Wednesday the time limit for filing charges had expired.

Langer was the fourth woman to accuse Polanski publicly of sexually assaulting them when they were teenagers.

Swiss authorities arrested Polanski in 2009 on his arrival in Zurich to receive a lifetime achievement award at a film festival. He was released two months later on bail under “house arrest” in his Gstaad chalet.

This was for fleeing U.S. sentencing in 1978 for unlawful sex with 13-year-old Samantha Geimer in Los Angeles, in 1977 in a case in which he pleaded guilty at the time.

In August, Los Angeles Superior Court Judge Scott Gordon rejected a request by Geimer to have the criminal case against Polanski dismissed, ruling that the director remained a fugitive from justice.

In a statement to Reuters last month, Polanski’s lawyer reiterated that Polanski had acknowledged having had a sexual relationship with Geimer, and repeated that he strongly denied all other allegations against him.

In July 2010, Polanski was released from Swiss house arrest after authorities decided against extradition because of potential technical faults in the U.S. request and because he had for years come to Switzerland in good faith.

The New York Times has quoted Langer as saying she was speaking out only now because she had read an account of another woman who came forward in August and because her parents were no longer alive.

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