Polanski’s Arrest: Why the French Are Outraged

So what if he raped a 13 year old? He made Chinatown!

Although the cultural divide between Europe and the U.S. has narrowed over the years, the legal fate of director Roman Polanski shows there are still major differences. Polanski’s arrest in Switzerland on Sept. 26 was greeted with satisfaction in the U.S., where authorities hope he will face sentencing for having sex with a 13-year-old girl in 1977. Europeans, meanwhile, are shocked and dismayed that an internationally acclaimed artist could be jailed for such an old offense.

“To see him thrown to the lions and put in prison because of ancient history — and as he was traveling to an event honoring him — is absolutely horrifying,” French Culture Minister Frédéric Mitterrand said after Polanski was arrested upon arrival in Switzerland to attend the Zurich Film Festival, where he was to receive a lifetime achievement award. “There’s an America we love and an America that scares us, and it’s that latter America that has just shown us its face.” In comments that appeared to be directed at Swiss and American authorities to free Polanski, Mitterrand added that both he and French President Nicolas Sarkozy hoped for a “rapid resolution to the situation which would allow Roman Polanski to rejoin his family as quickly as possible.”



  1. ARE THEY KIDDING??!! Yeah, we don’t give special treatment to celebrities and the uber-rich.

    Someone is accused of a double homicide and on the run. Cops in pursuit are surrounding the car.
    DO they:
    A) run it off the road
    B) lay down stop sticks and blow the tires
    C) Close down the freeway to provide a police escort and call it a “low-speed chase”

    Answer: Depends on how many Superbowls you’ve been in.

    Hey, Vince Neil, you got a DUI manslaughter? No problem, just do a few PSAs about drunk driving and we’ll call it even.

    Sure, Bernie Maddoff, you can have house arrest in your million-dollar penthouse.

    What’s that, Michael Smith, you’re part of the Kennedy family? That rape in Florida never happened.

    You have unpaid parking tickets and you live where? Harlem? Get yer ass to jail!

    Sure France, that shit never happens here.

  2. Is this where I get to voice the unpopular minority opinion again?

    Yes, Polanski should be let off. It’s 32 fucking years ago and he hasn’t misbehaved since then, so he’s clearly not a pedophile. If they wanted him back they should have tried harder in the seventies, but they didn’t. They didn’t actively try to get him back until 2005. Should have tried harder earlier.

    Furthermore, he already went to prison – briefly, sure, but it was the seventies and he got no more or less time than anyone else in that position. The judge on the case, Rittenband, acted like a complete ass. Polanski would never have gotten a fair trial, even the victim’s lawyer and the DA thought so.

    Finally, if he’d been John Jones from Shakesville, South Dakota, they wouldn’t have put in all the effort and money to get him either.

  3. @Circe

    WTF, that’s your reasoning??? We should go easy on him because he’s successfully avoided being extradited for 32 years?

    Polanski didn’t get a fair trial? HE PLED GUILTY!

    And John Jones from SD would be in jail for it since he wouldn’t have had the money or resources to hide away in France.

    Seriously, your argument is just dumb.

  4. Didn’t Kissinger — who still is treated as a celebrity in America — once order the secret bombing of thousands of square kilometers of two countries with which you were not at war, killing thousands and rendering land dangerous and infertile for decades after, riddled with chemicals shown to cause birth defects that will affect generations?

    Anyone bringing him to justice? No? Then spare me the discussion of people avoiding punishment for long-past crimes.

  5. @Mick: he pled guilty to sexual misconduct, made a deal, and then the judge reneged on that deal. He also tried to stage show trials. Geimer repeatedly said she felt he didn’t have her interests at heart. He just wanted camera time.

    I know this sounds like I’m justifying what he did, but there is no way Polanski would have gotten a fair trial. Please do you research. This case is much more complex than it seems.

    @Omnivore: more than that, Kissinger won a nobel prize for bombing Cambodia. It takes a very special kind of genius to be that evil

  6. @Circe

    It is more complex – more complex than you make out.

    Read the trial transcripts where Polanksi admits muliply raping a young girl who repeatedly said ‘no’ and then tell me that’s ‘sexual misdemeanour’.

    It sounds *exactly* like you’re justifying what he did.

  7. @ Lance: I did read those transcripts (The Smoking Gun has had them on for ages). What matters in the end, though, is that he wasn’t convicted for rape. The victim and her family refused to. She doesn’t want him persecuted. It was the judge who single-handedly decided to renege on earlier deals go after Polanski, which isn’t his place.

  8. @Circe: you’re forgetting to think of the children.

    The dozen years of Iraq sanctions resulted in the deaths of 500,000 children, and the subsequent invasion and occupation probably accounted (or will account, with the ruined infrastructure) for as many more. The civilian toll from undiscriminating “smart” bombs, including unnumbered deaths of children, continues to rise in Afghanistan and Pakistan.

    And faraway and forgotten Vietnam can look forward to many more generations of children born with severe defects as a result of soil poisoned by Agent Orange and other American chemicals.

    But the Polanski arrest is important, and probably has nothing to do with the pressure the US has been putting on Switzerland with respect to banking records and privacy laws.

  9. @Circe,

    I agree 100% with you Circe. I also think that Manson should be released from prison. I mean, the Tate murder and others were so long ago… I mean, he’s served his time. FREE CHUCKIE!

  10. Deals are made SUBJECT to approval of the judge. The judge cannot renege, only approve or disapprove. In this case, the judge did neither. The defendant fled before sentencing.

    As for not being a pedophile, no subsequent charges, do not equal no other incidents.

    I think drugging any woman for sex is wrong. Even if she is over 13 years old and even if it was in the 70’s.

    But what do I know?

  11. I guess I’m of the unpopular opinion that Polanski is being treated unfairly. Granted, he did something wrong, but it was several decades ago and he hasn’t repeated the offense since. I think it’s safe to say he isn’t a dangerous individual. At this point he’s being punished to prove that nobody escapes America.

  12. He didn’t just rape her. He drugged her, gave her alcohol, and then sodomized her. I don’t care if you’re Jesus H. Christ, if you do that to a young girl you shouldn’t be let off, much less celebrated.

    If he’d done that to my beautiful little girl I would hunt him down, even if it took 32 years, and shove a broomstick up his ass.

  13. Unpopular opinion here. The woman who was victimized has settled with Polanski out of court, and she has repeatedly said she wants the whole thing to be just a memory. It seems her wishes would be the important ones to take into account.

    Also, nice job people with bringing Kissinger and Iraq into this! Keep up the extremely pertinent work!

  14. (I’m not sure if this is exactly what King Taco meant bu his last sentence)Aside from the debate over the rape charge, can’t we agree that he should still be punished for fleeing the country in a Federal case?

  15. Had he come to America I’d agree it was only fair he be dragged to court for fleeing during a federal case, but taking him from another country seems excessive given the amount of time that’s passed.

  16. “[The justice system] works on behalf of the people, in fact — the people whose laws in every state make it clear that both child rape and fleeing prosecution are serious crimes. The point is not to keep 76-year-old Polanski off the streets or help his victim feel safe. The point is that drugging and raping a child, then leaving the country before you can be sentenced for it, is behavior our society should not — and at least in theory, does not — tolerate, no matter how famous, wealthy or well-connected you are, no matter how old you were when you finally got caught, no matter what your victim says about it now, no matter how mature she looked at 13, no matter how pushy her mother was, and no matter how many really swell movies you’ve made.”


  17. I was hoping someone would post the Salon piece.

    So Circe, King Taco and other rape apologists – you really want to continue sending the idea to the world that it’s ok to rape someone, a CHILD FOR FUCKS SAKE? That if a decent amount of time passes, that if she expresses a weary need to be rid of 30 YEARS of injustice and scrutiny, that if he does something that’s deemed approval in the world’s eye, he should be let off.

    Way to forward women’s rights and justice. It’s shit like this that brings the discussion about rape, victim blaming and rape apology to an absolute standstill.

    The man needs to be made an example of.

  18. Nice anti-european libel
    “At the same time, many people in France have over the years downplayed the gravity of Polanski’s crime because of his immense talent and artistry as a director”
    Being Zurich in Europe I guess not all the european authorities agree with that.

    I guess it’s more about the victim appealing for pardon and about the fact that prisons are made to re-educate criminals and prevent further crimes, something that feels unnecessary with Mr. Polanski.

  19. I’m pretty sure I never said anything that’d make you right in labeling me a rape apologist. Nor did I ever say anything even close to condoning rape of any kind. What he did was wrong. He should have been punished. But it’s been 32 years, to the best of my knowledge he hasn’t committed a similar act since and there seems to be very little point in putting a 76 year old behind bars. Certainly, his trial would be somewhat symbollic but it would do very little to prevent future rape incidents and seems unlikely to make silent victims more comfortable coming forward. If the same media attention given to this were given to raising awareness about preventing rape and the large sum of time and money likely to be spent prosecuting him put into programs designed to reduce risk it’d probably be much better spent.
    So while I’m definitely not defending Polanski’s actions or saying his crimes are irrelevant it certainly doesn’t seem that the content of his offense is the primary motivator for going to such lengths to bring him to justice after so long.

  20. @Justin

    The error you make in your first paragraph — basically a misunderstanding of how the law works — leads to the remark directed at my comment about Kissinger.

    Criminal cases are not fought by the victim against the alleged perpetrator. The state is always the prosecutor, because crimes of this sort offend the social demand for equality before the law. If it is a matter of an arrangement between the victim and a very powerful, rich or influential man, as in this case, it is unlikely that equality will prevail. If the law is allowed to fall into disrepute, the thinking goes, then its force will be lost or at least weakened, denying others their claim that justice be done without favour.

    But if the state has this responsibility, then they cannot introduce other forms of inequality before the law, and the failure to prosecute or even indict Mr Kissinger for what are among the most egregious injustices of the 20th Century, and for the man to sit on boards, attend premieres, consult with corporations and lecture at universities with impunity is clearly an offense against the spirit of equality before the law, and to a far greater degree brings the law into disrepute. If that selfsame state can justify the continued hunting down of Mr Polanski because it must be seen that the state is ever vigilant and does not forget, then we are entitled to demand the same in far, far more serious cases.

  21. “crimes of this sort offend the social demand or equality before the law”

    should have said

    “crimes of this sort offend society as a whole.”

  22. The victim in this case seems to have made up her mind as to how she feels about the entire matter, and some of you seem to be saying that her opinion is unimportant.
    I’m going to agree w/Circe and King Taco on this.

  23. This is so weird. I just don’t want to get swept up in the emotion with everyone else. I want to be careful that I’m not just following what everyone else is saying. And with that said, 13 year old’s in the 70’s were not the same as 13 yr old’s today. Decades pass and people are growing up much slower. Thirteen year olds now are just different. I mean, parents of parents got married at 16 and had kids at age 17 – – Again- the rage over this issue is strange. How come everyone forgot about the molestation charges for Michael Jackson when he died? Why did everyone forget that? I just think media controls us more than we think. They say we should hate Roman for sex with minor, so we do. They say we should forget Michael touching little boys, so we do. Duh. Ugh.

  24. “So while I’m definitely not defending Polanski’s actions or saying his crimes are irrelevant it certainly doesn’t seem that the content of his offense is the primary motivator for going to such lengths to bring him to justice after so long.”

    So while rape is bad, it’s not bad enough. Gotcha.

    @ ADreadfulMan: see the above differences between Civil and Criminal cases.

  25. France: We don’t tolerate drugging and anally raping 13-year-old girls. Unless you’re an artist, and you ran away from it so long that it’s, like, old.

    Read the Salon article linked to by Meg above for a few other good reasons why it doesn’t matter that he’s a “great artist,” that the girl favors dropping the charges, and that it’s really old.

  26. “How come everyone forgot about the molestation charges for Michael Jackson when he died?”

    I didn’t. But I got told not to be mean, and not speak ill of the dead.

    ” I just think media controls us more than we think. ”

    Really. People can’t POSSIBLY have an opinion without being told what to think? You honestly can’t be angry about a FUGITIVE CHILD RAPIST without being told to be so.

    His celebrity aside, if this was ANY human being, I would be just as angry.

  27. OK, so the victim has put this behind her. Shouldn’t this bastard at least owe some kind of reparations to her for pain and suffering? She may have put it behind her, but I’m sure it didn’t happen overnight. At the very least make him donate money to a children’s welfare program. It’s not like he doesn’t have the money.

  28. Mike: Civil remuneration is not criminal justice.

    This case may be just one drop in the bucket, but there needs to be a societal wide change in the thinking that you just can’t buy your way out of a conviction.

  29. Wow Amanda, what a well thought out argument. Clearly you’re a very wise and insightful human being. The world is better for having you and your witty one-liners in it. Thank you ever so much for engaging me in rational discussion. USING THE CAPS LOCK BUTTON IS AN EXCELLENT WAY TO MAKE A VALID ARGUMENT EVEN MORE CROMULENT.

  30. KingTaco: Thanks for the debate Bingo. But please, keep telling me I’m an irrational wimmin unentitled to my anger.

    Here’s another take, from Shakesville:

    “What [the victim] quite evidently wants is this shit to end. She wants closure—something Polanski has been cruelly denying her for three decades while living as a fugitive.

    When justice is denied, or interminably deferred, often one finds a way of closing the chapter, just to get on with life—to be able to live unencumbered by an ever-present sensation of imbalance. One longs desperately to evade the niggling feeling that you’re betraying yourself, or upending some karmic sense of justice, merely by getting on with your life as though there had been a satisfactory and fair resolution, when there hasn’t been.

    When there is no justice to free you, no closure, it can feel as though not living as a victim tacitly condones what was done, retroactively making it not matter. Survivors of sexual assault whom the law has failed often feel they must serve a sentence of suffering themselves, beyond what they might otherwise naturally bear, in order to not join in the ubiquitous chorus trumpeting that what happened to them was No Big Deal.

    That self-imposed sentence can be a hard place to leave. But once you grant yourself parole, it’s an even harder place to which to return.”


  31. Amanda: I think you misunderstood me. I’m not saying he should be able to buy his way out of a conviction. No one should. My statement was directed to those that feel that enough time has passed and he is now a “well-behaved citizen” and shouldn’t be jailed. Even in that circumstance he should still be held accountable and do something to atone for his crime. If jail is determined to be inappropriate, he should still pay somehow, rather than us just shrugging our collective shoulders and accepting that he beat the system.

  32. Amanda – I never said the man did good. I never said rape is good. What I did say was I don’t understand the extreme media coverage on it. The rage over HIM is weird. That’s all I meant by my post. And to clarify, the media is not telling me to feel that rape is bad.

  33. http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/List_of_fallacies

    Don’t make this about insulting each other or feeling insulted, people.

    My two bits:
    It was 30 years ago. The girl’s life has been ruined more by the media attention than the actual rape. Society can’t put out a message that rape is OK, granted, but it shouldn’t be putting out a message that vengeance is a driving force of the legal system.

    The victim: “I’m sure if he could go back, he wouldn’t do it again. He made a terrible mistake but he’s paid for it.”

  34. Wow Amanda, way to project your notions of the chauvinist male on me. What did I ever say or do to deserve that?

    Well summarized Ddes. I apologize if I appear to be insulting. Admittedly I felt a bit scandalized at being called a rape apologist, but then again who wouldn’t?

  35. I aplogize if I’ve come across rather strong.

    KT: I understand why you’d feel wierded out being called a rape apologist, but this is a pretty cut n dried case – guilt has been admitted, a conviction has taken place, and he skipped the country. To argue that it’s ok that he can get off because of some made up statute of limitations, *is* making light of his actions by letting him get away with it.

    Nanet: I think the rage over Polanski is that people have had enough of rape being swept under the rug. It’s about him and about a wider debate in society that we’re angry and we just won’t take this injustice against women’s rights any longer.

    Mike: I see what you mean. I still don’t think that’s a good way to conclude the action though – it still is a “collective shrug of shoulders”. If you’re sincere enough in your apology, you’re atoned – not good enough. An apology is only one part of justice. (I think I’m parroting the Shakesville post there).

    DDES: I don’t think it’s vengeance. The American Justice system is only doing what it was set up to do – act according to it’s rule. Once he skipped the country, statute of limitations was voided – he was a fugitive. It would be the same for any criminal who skipped the country to avoid justice.

  36. Is there some particular reason why people think that Polanski simply had CONSENSUAL sex with this woman when she was 13? I have plenty of objections to the legal reasoning behind statutory rape laws, but according to her testimony he drugged her and had sex with her while ignoring her demands to stop. Bet you anything that more than half of the people making the “forget it, Jack, it’s the 70s” argument would change their tune when they realize he committed more than statutory rape.

  37. “Is there some particular reason why people think that Polanski simply had CONSENSUAL sex with this woman when she was 13?”

    Her testimony then doesn’t exactly line up with her statements now – she basically says the investigation and trial were worse than the initial events.

    13 was at the top end of ages of consent virtually everywhere until the mid twentieth century, it’s still the AOC in Japan and elsewhere and 14’s pretty popular, even with several US states. We’re not talking about child molestation, here.

    And I know plenty of people who started having sex at thirteen. One of them, technically I guess he was statutorily raped. He was a 14-year-old freshman and she was an 18-year-old senior (yeah, really). That’s outside the state’s Romeo and Juliet range, so…technically rape.

    I knew a couple of girls who fucked teachers in high school, too, and…not cool with me, obviously, on the teachers’ part, but there was no rape. Both girls went after both teachers, big time.

    I’d feel differently if the victim seemed to, but…I just don’t see the point of any of this. The guy went to jail, he got a time served deal based on negative assessments of the likelihood of reoffense, and the judge was going to jerk the deal and give him hard time b/c of pressure from the emerging Moral Majority, basically. I think I’d go home in that situation, too.

  38. ” I think the rage over Polanski is that people have had enough of rape being swept under the rug.”

    Well, good thing *that* hasn’t happened ever in my lifetime.

    Also, Polanski’s a terrible example of sweeping anything under the rug, since the US has been after him for six hundred years and people who weren’t even born then are still baying for his blood like rapid bonobos.

  39. RN, while I agree with you that the whole spotlight on this becomes kind of ridiculous, and we hear too much tired braying from the same all-too-often-outraged talking heads, the fact is that the guy should answer for his crime as the law provides. This isn’t changed by the fact that he’s a brilliant director, or that his pregnant wife was killed by the Manson Family, or that he escaped the Nazis.

    People aren’t helping the cause of the arts when they mindlessly gloss over what he did and call for Polanski’s release — they simply add more fuel to the conservative fire.

  40. Sam: I’m not glossing over anything Polanski did, and I certainly wouldn’t give him a break for making neat movies, even if his late output *did* match his early work, which it rarely does. I’m one of those people, for instance, who can’t stand watching Victor Salva’s movies. He…seems unrepentant to me, pretty clearly, and he’s a pedophile.

    Polanski screwed a teenager of debatable age of consent in a state where it wasn’t debatable, he broke the law, he got caught. Clearly, he had to be corrected, somehow, but he just as clearly was completely fucked in the head and not a reoffense danger. And…yeah, he was a famous director and a significant business asset to a major US corporation, and this was a first offense, so he got a deal.

    And the trial was full of monkey business, particularly on the part of the judge, so he ran back to Europe when his lawyers told him the guy was going to put him in prison forever. I don’t see what the point of that was, then, and I don’t see what the point of any of this is, now. It certainly has nothing to do with justice or retribution, even. It just seems like a long national grudge, and kind of a petty one, at this point.

  41. A lot of discussion has focused on the fact that it’s been over 30 years since Polanski raped a 13 year old girl. Would any of the Polanski apologists please let me know what they consider the minimum amount of time that has to pass to make rape O.K.?

  42. RN: “Well, good thing *that* hasn’t happened ever in my lifetime.

    Also, Polanski’s a terrible example of sweeping anything under the rug, since the US has been after him for six hundred years and people who weren’t even born then are still baying for his blood like rapid bonobos.”

    Ok, so if we don’t make a fuss about this rape, which rape *do* we make a fuss about. One next year? In 5 years? Perhaps another 30?

    Not making a fuss abrogates societies responsibility to trying to make this shit right. Fusses have been made before, fusses will be made again. The day we stop making a fuss is the day either the world is perfect unicorns shitting cupcakes, or the day we stop caring that women get raped.

  43. Wait, so he did actually rape her? Reading about this for a while I thought it was just “statuatory rape” which isnt rape at all. 13-18 year olds are perfectly capable of having consensual sex and it is normal for them to do so. A quick googling shows 1/3rd of people lose their virginity before the age of consent, so 1/3rd of people have been raped? It’s an extremely illogical concept to be defining our biological capabilities by precise earth rotations.

  44. Amanda:
    We know about thousands of rapes that happened centuries ago. For one thing there’s documented evidence that many if not most slave owners were rapists. We don’t go after them or their descendants. Why? If you want to argue that their children aren’t the people they are, I would reply that I’m not the person I was ten years ago either, and in 30 years time I’ll certainly be more different from me at 25 than me at 25 is from my father at 25. Sure, as the law is written you want to enforce the warrant if he happens to wander into a police station or gets pulled over for a traffic stop, but what people are objecting to is the degree of fuss about it. And it’s clearly a matter of degree, people. When there’s a reported rape, we don’t require all citizens stop work and go on a manhunt, do we? Why not, if rape is so terrible? International pursuit for a crime three decades old is a bit much, no matter how horrible the crime was.

  45. @Ddes, The girl’s life has been ruined more by the media attention than the actual rape.

    And you came to this conclusion how exactly? Unless you’re her, this is speculative and presumptuous at best.

    We don’t go after them or their descendants. Why? If you want to argue that their children aren’t the people they are, I would reply that I’m not the person I was ten years ago either, and in 30 years time I’ll certainly be more different from me at 25 than me at 25 is from my father at 25.

    Really? Your argument doesn’t follow at all. Children literally aren’t the same individuals as their parents. “I’m not the person I was ten years ago” is figurative, cliché, and (arguably) untrue, except perhaps in the physical sense.

    Besides, your time line is completely arbitrary. If you’re not the same person 25 years later, are you the same person 25 seconds later? When exactly do you dissociate from your past self? You are the same person, always, and therefore always culpable. If you argue otherwise, then by your logic, someone would not be responsible for a murder they committed minutes ago. Or maybe you do think that we are not our same selves as we were an immeasurably small moment ago, in which case, none of us are responsible for anything. Yeah, that sounds like a good system.

    When there’s a reported rape, we don’t require all citizens stop work and go on a manhunt, do we? Why not, if rape is so terrible?

    Well, we don’t require that average citizens stop work and go on a manhunt when there are murders or other crimes either. Way to trivialize.

  46. I’m not poking at ANYONE here on either side of the debate, but think about this…

    Manson Family member Susan Atkins just died in prison.

    Despite being a model prisoner, earning several degrees, and mentoring younger prisoners, she was denied parole twelve times.

    So the question is:
    Seeing that it’s been 40 years, and she had clearly turned her life around, do you feel she should, or should not have been released before her death?

    And let’s get the obvious differences out of the way:

    > We’re talking brutal murder, not a semi-conscious rape.

    > At her trial she showed no remorse for her crime. She even made light of it.

    > The victims’ families have consistently urged the parole board to keep her behind bars.

  47. I actually would have been in favor of giving Susan Atkinson a fair chance at a life on the outside if she really was reformed. However I question the feasibility of such a well known person ever being able to live normally. Outside of some crazed vigilante going after her life it just seems likely she wouldn’t be welcomed in most communities. I’m very much for the idea of prisons being places of reform as opposed to human time capsules.

    Polanski is most likely guilty of rape (actually he did admit his guilt after fleeing at some point didn’t he?), he’s definitely guilty of sex with a minor. I think it’s safe to say that most of us know how badly his trial was botched by a media-hungry judge. It seems to me the meat of this case has already been put to rest. Polanski’s extradition seems to be the product of Sweden trying to appease America during a time of great pressure and the American justice system getting revenge on a man who fled from it due to his lack of confidence in it.

    Man, if only Polanski was a non-controversial figure like the king of pop. Maybe it’s because he’s a foreigner with an accent.

  48. Amanda – please supply a link to some outraged diatribe you’ve posted regarding the rape of detainees in Abu Ghraib. I really want to take you seriously.

  49. I’m not so self-centered to think that any of this is for the sole purpose of persuading me, but nothing in this thread has swayed me from the position that justice should be waived: even if Polanski is reformed, even if he made great movies, even if the victim does not want it pursued, even if it’s been 30+ none of this changes the fact that he raped a child and should face the same justice that anyone else who had done the same. It’s not about vengeance, it’s about justice. The salon article (linked way up) says it best

  50. ARGH … fail fail fail. Meant to write, nothing in this thread has swayed me from the position that justice should not be waived

    Really appreciating the relative anonymity of the internets right now

  51. To those irrational and despicable people who are defending RP: read Kate Harding’s article

    “Reminder: Roman Polanski raped a child”

    Roman Polanski raped a child. Let’s just start right there, because that’s the detail that tends to get neglected when we start discussing whether it was fair for the bail-jumping director to be arrested at age 76, after 32 years in “exile” (which in this case means owning multiple homes in Europe, continuing to work as a director, marrying and fathering two children, even winning an Oscar, but never — poor baby — being able to return to the U.S.). Let’s keep in mind that Roman Polanski gave a 13-year-old girl a Quaalude and champagne, then raped her, before we start discussing whether the victim looked older than her 13 years, or that she now says she’d rather not see him prosecuted because she can’t stand the media attention. Before we discuss how awesome his movies are or what the now-deceased judge did wrong at his trial, let’s take a moment to recall that according to the victim’s grand jury testimony, Roman Polanski instructed her to get into a jacuzzi naked, refused to take her home when she begged to go, began kissing her even though she said no and asked him to stop; performed cunnilingus on her as she said no and asked him to stop; put his penis in her vagina as she said no and asked him to stop; asked if he could penetrate her anally, to which she replied, “No,” then went ahead and did it anyway, until he had an orgasm.

  52. anonymojus

    …but let’s ALSO bear in mind that this is a matter of law, and RP was not convicted of anything other than unlawful sex with a minor. You want to object to the fact that the prosecution chose to drop the more serious charges, fine – I personally find that decision utterly bewildering – but the chief target of your ire should be the stupid, broken travesty that is the US plea-bargaining system.

    No one is dismissing the crime as irrelevant, but not all of us agree with Kate Harding that the procedures of law and such things as the presumption of innocence and the burden of proof should be cheerfully ignored if an alleged crime is shocking enough.

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