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Mon., Oct. 5, 2009

Outside Voices: Let Polanski face the law

Dallas Morning News, Sept. 29: Fugitive film director Roman Polanski learned over the weekend that you can’t outrun the long arm of the law. Swiss police nabbed the confessed sex criminal as he arrived in Zurich to accept a film festival award. Now Polanski, 76, faces extradition to Los Angeles County, where prosecutors have waited more than 30 years for the rapist to show up for sentencing.

Anyone who feels sorry for Polanski – having to live in exile all these years and now facing the prospect of extradition and a prison term in the United States – should understand what Polanski did to land in this mess. He drugged, raped and sodomized a frightened 13-year-old girl.

Polanski eventually pleaded guilty to having had unlawful sex with a minor but skipped the country before his sentencing. Since then, he has lived primarily in France. Not long ago, his victim, now married with children, reached a civil settlement with Polanski and publicly forgave him.

But that doesn’t settle Polanski’s debt with the law.

Chicago Tribune, Sept. 30: Poor Roman Polanski. The fugitive film director thought he was going to Zurich to pick up a lifetime achievement award and ended up in a detention cell, fighting over whether he should be returned to Los Angeles on a 1977 conviction for having sex with a child.

Of all the dirty tricks.

Never mind that Polanski pleaded guilty to the crime, which involved champagne, half a Quaalude, a hot tub and a 13-year-old girl. He spent 42 days in a state prison undergoing psychiatric evaluation, believing he’d cut a deal with prosecutors to avoid further time. But then he got word that the judge might not go along with it. So instead of going to prison, he went to France.

It was a natural choice. France has no extradition treaty with the United States and apparently no problem with middle-age guys preying on barely teenage girls.

Washington Post, Oct. 2: First, there was: “He’s a brilliant guy, and he made a little mistake 32 years ago.” Next came: “Whatever you think about the so-called crime … it is a shocking way to treat such a man.” And, then: “I know it wasn’t rape-rape. It was something else, but I don’t believe it was rape-rape.”

Roman Polanski’s apologists don’t let basic facts, or even simple decency for that matter, get in the way of their defense of this notorious director.

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