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Polanski Must Pay The Piper

October 1, 2009

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Roman Polanski, the celebrated film director who has been on the lam for more than thirty years, is now sitting in a Swiss jail awaiting the possibility of extradition to the United States. He may finally have to face the legal consequences of his admitted crime of having non-consensual sex with a 13-year-old girl after plying her with drugs and alcohol.

The Hollywood elite and some snobs in his current home country of France are crying foul.  “Absolutely horrifying,” lamented the current French culture minister, Frederic Mitterand.

As Dennis Miller pointed out on the O’Reilly Factor last night after having read chilling testimony from the case, what is truly horrifying was Polanski’s crime against the girl.  And this was not some sort of youthful indiscretion on Polanski’s part. He was 44 when he took the 13-year-old to Jack Nicholson’s house on the pretense of using her in a photography shoot for a French magazine and proceeded (in the words of his victim) to give her

“champagne and a piece of Quaalude.  And then he took advantage of me.  I said no, repeatedly, but he wouldn’t take no for an answer.” 

The coward then ran off to Europe after pleading guilty, believing that the judge was about to renege on the deal Polanski had worked out to avoid prison time.  And he has been living the grand life in France and Switzerland (where he has a second home) ever since.  That is, until he was arrested in Switzerland on a warrant from the United States as he tried to enter the country yet again, this time to receive an award.  Just because he has a home in Switzerland, he is not as protected there as he is in France.  It seems he pushed his luck just once too often.

One of Polanski’s  Swiss neighbors, in a bid to gain sympathy for the filmmaker, said:

“Everyone loves him.  He built a beautiful chalet with old wood. He skis like crazy.  He’s very family-oriented.   I’ve never seen a man who changed his life so much.”

Well, Polanski may just have to hang up his skis for awhile.  And the fact that he is a changed man or an accomplished film director is irrelevant. 

Polanski himself suffered the agony of the crazed murder of his pregnant wife, Sharon Tate, at the hands of the Charles Manson cult. Ironically, Susan Atkins, a member of the cult who admitted to ruthlessly stabbing Tate, recently died in prison from brain cancer less than a month after a parole board had turned down a bid for compassionate release. Did Polanski come to her defense before the parole board? Did he say he forgave her and plead for her immediate release?  Even if he wrote a letter to the parole board, should it make a difference?

Suppose that Susan Atkins had somehow managed to escape right after committing her crime and had re-established herself with a new identity, living a quiet family life for all these years and performing charity work for her local church. Would that wipe away her heinous, 40-year-old crime?  Is that what Polanski would consider a fair outcome if she had been apprehended 40 years later?  And again, even if he were prepared to forgive and forget, is that the last word on the subject for a judicial system that is set up to both punish and deter serious crimes?

Of course, I am not suggesting that what Polanski did to the 13 year-old-girl — who is now willing to forgive the crime and move on — approaches the horrible murder of his wife.  But neither was it a trivial crime, by any stretch of the imagination.

Moreover, simply dropping the case at this point would send two bad signals.  First, it would convey the message that the rich and famous — with lots of backing from their rich, famous and powerful friends — operate under a separate system of justice than the rest of us.  And it would send the signal that sexual molestation of a minor is a serious enough matter to merit significant jail time.

Just last night on the O’Reilly Factor, for example, there was a segment about a Missouri judge who unconscionably let a convicted child molestor off with probation. He refused to explain his decision to a Factor producer who had caught up to him in a public place.  Is this the direction in which we want the judicial system to go?  If Polanski gets away with his crime, will other lenient judges use that as a precedent in their courts to go easy on child molestors?

Polanski should drop the victim act and come back to the United States to face long-delayed justice for the crime he committed.  Perhaps, when all is said and done, the original deal that he thought he had worked out for time served will be honored.  Or perhaps he will face a harsher sentence. It is up to our justice system to decide. Not Hollywood or the French.

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13 Comments
  1. Cas Balicki permalink
    October 1, 2009 8:17 am

    “He skies like crazy.”

    Well that’s good cuz from here everything’s down hill.

  2. Marylou permalink
    October 1, 2009 9:34 am

    Kudos! Brilliant, making the corollary between Susan Atkins and Polanski and whether he would be willing to move past what part she had in harming his wife and baby. So simple.

    Just excellent. This comparison says it all, and I have not heard it elsewhere.

  3. October 1, 2009 9:45 am

    He now has two crimes to pay for…his first…the rape of a 13 year girl…and his second…his fleeing justice…I personally think he is a despicable man and a coward. He deserves to do time and it would be a travesty of justice to let him walk. To let him walk would signal that it is okay for the rich and famous to rape children which is among the most hideous of crimes one can commit. And to people like French culture minister, Frederic Mitterand, you ought to be ashamed of yourself for thinking it “horrifying” for Polanksi the rapist to be arrested…you clearly seem to think what he did is somehow okay. IT IS NOT…NEVER WAS and NEVER WILL BE.

  4. jbtrevor permalink
    October 1, 2009 12:31 pm

    Don’t get me wrong…I think the guy is scum, but won’t it be difficult to convict him if the 13yo, now 40 something woman has forgiven him and won’t testify?

    • Joseph Klein permalink
      October 1, 2009 12:47 pm

      Polanski has already pleaded guilty to having unlawful sexual relations with a minor. He would have to persuade a court to allow him to withdraw the plea. That might be difficult considering his decision to flee. Also, I believe there is testimony from the girl at the time that could be used if necessary.

    • Tom Trevor permalink
      October 1, 2009 8:13 pm

      In a sane world it wouldn’t be if she said it happened.

  5. melvin polatnick permalink
    October 2, 2009 1:02 pm

    There are other criminals in this filthy case, they are the money hungry mother and her well trained daughter. But being entrapped does not forgive him for a terrible crime. The pervert was tricked into pleading guilty to a lesser charge. The deal was for the judge to get half a million for no jail time. But once Polanski pleaded guilty the price went up. He was threatened with 50 years if he did not come up with the extra money. Polanski would not give up all his assets and fled the country.

  6. Karl Stein permalink
    October 2, 2009 1:42 pm

    Polanski was the victim of an extortion plot. I am a surgeon. I happened to have visited the emergency department where the accuser and her mother had gone for examination of the accuser. I was told by the emergency depatment doctor that the accuser had the demeanor and appearance of a 20 year old, and that no one. including himself, would have suspected that she was a teenager. I have been told by another source that the accuser had been going to the sets, trying to entice the staff including Polanski and no one again thought that she was a minor. It was also obvious to these people that she was taking drugs. So the mothers drops off this accuser for a “modeling” interview with Polanski at 9 PM and picks her up at 3 AM. In the real world, this sounds like the mother was a pimp for her daughter. I do not know if Polanski knew the age of this very mature looking female, and I do not know if he turned down an extortion attempt. I do know that he was in a very bad state due to the butchering of his wife, his unborn baby, and his friends. He was physically ill from this. The mother should have been charged with criminal activity, not the victim Polanski. Because of his severe depression due to the horrible deaths of his beloved wife and unborn child, he agreed to a lesser crime. I understand that the judge initially agreed to the deal and then renigned. Why? So the accused did what anyone might have done in this circumstance, and fled a confused and unjust judicial and political system. He may have been advised to do so by his lawyer. Anyhow, before convicting this man, one should investigate and know the facts.
    Michael Jackson was accused of having sex with minors, and the accusers admited after his death that he did not. That was after the accusation and the vulture press destroyed his life. Be just and know the facts, before conviction by the media. Stonefellow

    • jbtrevor permalink
      October 2, 2009 2:14 pm

      Confidentiality of patient information is vital to a trusting relationship with providers (trusting that only those people directly involved in your care will have access to and talk about your health related matters).

      How discouraging it is to read violations of this most sacred trust relationship. What other information to you share about people who visit the same facility in which you practice?
      So what is your excuse Dr. Stonefellow? Not really a physician perhaps or just making up the “facts”?

  7. Lou permalink
    October 2, 2009 3:11 pm

    Geez, he should just convert to islam.

    Then everything will be alright because…..thats what the prophet did!

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