Tuesday, October 6, 2009

Roman Polanski

I'm getting so tired of people defending Roman Polanski. Yes, he has suffered far more than most of us can ever know. And yes he is a very talented movie director. And yes, it's highly unlikely that he is a child predator. Still, he did rape a thirteen year old girl, and that shouldn't be forgotten.
Those who seek to defend Polanski usually make those three arguments. But, as far as I know, there is no exemption in the law for personal suffering. Having lost his mother to the Nazis, having survived in the Warsaw ghetto during World War 2, having had his pregnant wife murdered by the Charles Manson gang, are all pretty terrible things, and I'm not arguing any sort of equivalency, but I can go to some of the gang infested areas of Los Angeles, and find gang members who were abandoned by their fathers, who had crack head mothers, and who saw childhood friends and family gunned down in front of them. I'm often accused of being soft on crime because I think those things should be taken into account when those young men are arrested and tried for their crimes, but I've never argued that they should be allowed to walk.
Is there a talent exemption in the law? When one sees how some Hollywood people are treated by the LAPD, one might think so, but it's not true. The fact is, the grand jury transcript from Polanski's victim's testimony paints a picture of a child, drugged by a man 30 years older than her, who then proceeded to anally, and vaginally penetrate her. Had Polanski been charged with forcible rape, and had he been convicted, he would have been looking at a decade in prison. The fact is, when he was allowed to plead to the much lesser offense of statutory rape, he was treated very leniently. His position in the Hollywood community probably got him treated far better than the average defendant, but even his status as star movie director couldn't get him a complete pass. He may not have had a history of child rape, and he may never have committed another such crime, but that doesn't matter. He pleaded guilty to the crime he was accused of, and that's the only question involved.
And as far as his victim's wish to let things be forgotten. It's The State of California vs Roman Polanski. It doesn't' matter if she wants to forget things. Her wishes are not relevant. Roman Polanski pleaded guilty to a very serious crime. He was warned that plea deals aren't valid until the judge signs off. He fled the jurisdiction to avoid jail time, which is another crime in itself. I don't think the book should be thrown at him, but I do think, if he is extradited to the United States, he should be given some jail time, both for the rape, and for jumping bail.

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