Would Polanski get a pass if he were a paedophile priest?

September 29, 2009

polanskiIt’s hard to watch France’s political and cultural elite rush to support filmmaker Roman Polanski against extradition to the United States on a decades-old sex charge and not wonder exactly how they interpret the national motto liberté, égalité, fraternité.” It’s tempting to ask whether they’re defending the liberty to break the law and skip town, respecting the equality of all before the law and championing a brotherhood of artists who can do no wrong.

(Photo: Roman Polanski, 19 Feb 2009/Hannibal Hanschke)

Here in Paris, Foreign Minister Bernard Kouchner declared the arrest was “a bit sinister … frankly, (arresting) a man of such talent recognised around the world, recognised in the country where he was arrested — that’s not very nice.” He and his Polish counterpart have written to Secretary of State Hillary Clinton about the issue. Culture Minister Frédéric Mitterrand said “just as there is a generous America that we like, there’s also an America that scares us, and that’s the America that has just shown us its face.” Directors, actors and intellectuals have been signing a petition demanding Polanski’s immediate release.

Almost all the focus is on the argument that Polanski is a brilliant director, the charge of unlawful sex with a 13-year old dates back to 1977 and the victim herself says she wants the whole issue to be forgotten.  Almost completely ignored is the fact that he fled the U.S. to escape sentencing, which added a crime to the original crime. There is such a widespread assumption that all artists and intellectuals would automatically support Polanski that Paris papers today — both the left-of-centre Libération and the conservative Le Figaro — wrote with an air of surprise that Hollywood was not storming the barricades to back him.

The French Greens leader Daniel Cohn-Bendit made headlines by bucking the trend and saying he was “ill at ease” with the rush to absolve Polanski of raping a minor and the culture minister should have been more cautious in his comments.

Across the Atlantic, by contrast, Hollywood’s hometown paper, the Los Angeles Times, reviewed the objections by Polanski’s supporters and concluded: “Plausible or preposterous, these arguments are eclipsed by a simple fact: Polanski fled the country … the Justice Department and L.A.’s district attorney are right to seek extradition.”

reeseAnd almost nobody in the media here in France asks the tough questions that Fr. Tom Reese, S.J. (photo at right) did in his Washington Post blog post entitled “Father Polanski would go to jail”:
“Polanski’s defenders … argue that he should not be punished. They say that the girl was willing and sexually experienced and she has forgiven him (after receiving a settlement). They even cite his tragic childhood and life as an excuse. And besides, it is ancient history. Such arguments from paedophile priests would be laughed out of court and lambasted by everyone, and rightly so…

“The Catholic Church has rightly been put under a microscope when 4 percent of its priests were involved in abuse, but what about the film industry? The world has truly changed. Entertainment is the new religion with sex, violence and money the new Trinity. The directors and stars are worshipped and quickly forgiven for any infraction as long as the PR agent is as skilled as a saintly confessor. Entertainment, not religion, is the new opiate of the people and we don’t want our supply disturbed.

“Is there a double standard here? You bet.”

There’s a lot to say about the different ways Americans and French approach the law. But let’s go right to Tom Reese’s question. Do you think Polanski’s supporters cut him slack they wouldn’t think of permitting for a paedophile priest? Is the entertainment industry setting our values?

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If Polanski were a priest he’d be quietly reassigned to some other parish while the archdiocese settled out of court. Polanski is anything but a saint, still you have to ask if taxpayer money would be better spent getting Switzerland to give up the names of American tax cheats.

Posted by longwalksinparis.blogspot.com | Report as abusive

I recall being astounded when Mr. Polanski fled the country to avoid prosecution for this travesty. If the victim now wishes not to prosecute, perhaps that should be taken into consideration; however, Mr. Polanski should be prosecuted for leaving the country to avoid prosecution. Artists and athletes are not above the law.

Posted by Marge | Report as abusive

the arrest of Polanski is ridiclous and absurd. The woman asked for the case to be dismissed and it’s ancient history. The Catholic Church with it’s paedophilic priest’s is a different matter altogether. They systematically victimized kids and moreover the Church covered the asses of the predatorial priests. Even when the Church was subpoened, the church was still arguing that what happens between a confessor and penitent is a matter of sealed privacy–so SJ Reese is off his rock. The catholic church has for centuries been able to justify corruption and escape legal consequences– you can go all the way back to the Decameron. And another huge problem is that Polansky is not a predator whereas the Church willfully protected and moved priests around with long histories of predation. So now SH Reese can come out and act self-righteous? forget it. The other problem is that priests supposedly take vows of chastity and are supposed to be somewhat trustworthy. The entire situation is different, so sorry no comparing rats with chickens. different things. Polanski fled the US only after he learned that he was victim to legal corruption. Such a huge waste of money when the “victim” wants the case dropped.

Posted by pogo | Report as abusive

The question unfortunately presumes something which is not obviously true, a la “Have you stopped beating your wife yet?” Namely, there is a difference between a paedophile and a person who has sex with a child once per 76 years.

Posted by JanPB | Report as abusive

This is a stupid comparison. Do you think the circumstances were the same? A priest is not supposed to have sex in the first place, with anyone, he’s supposed to inspire trust and spread the word of god. He works in a church, he doesn’t invite teenage girls for photoshoots in a luxury villa where there’s a jacuzzi, champagne and drugs. That’s the problem with people talking about this case, for them, a crime is a crime and that’s the end of it. Circumstances don’t enter the scope of their understanding even though they’re key to figure what happened here. Polanski was wrong to do what he did obviously, but the girl was a bit of a lolita too, she said “no” but she didn’t defend herself or fight back. She kept doing what he wanted to, going where he wanted to. The real question would have been: did he actually coerce or threaten her? It’s a bad memory for her, but not the kind that would haunt her so badly that it would ruin her life, I think that tells a lot. Rape victims don’t recover so well. Now, for this, I heard he might have spent 50 years in jail. I don’t think anyone in his situation would have chosen to stay and get the jail time. Surely Polanski thought he made a mistake too, otherwise he wouldn’t have pleaded guilty, but given the CIRCUMSTANCES, spending 50 years, the rest of his life, in jail for a one night mistake like this seemed out of proportion and insane.

Posted by sanjuro | Report as abusive

Polanski belongs in jail, of course, but Reese’s comparison between sex scandals in Hollywood and the Catholic church is terribly flawed.

First, no one in Hollywood purports to be holy, celibate representatives of Christ on earth.

Second, no “higher ups” in Hollywood knowingly conceal horrific child sex crimes and deliberately move child molesting directors to unsuspecting churches where they can molest again.

David Clohessy, National Director, SNAP-Survivors Network of those Abused by Priests, 7234 Arsenal Street, St. Louis MO 63143 (314 566 9790 cell)

Posted by david clohessy | Report as abusive

Interesting perspective. It’s time to send Hollywood a message that we don’t agree withthem that drugging, rape and sodomy with a child is a mere trifle under any circumstances.
Simply don’t go to one movie that you would otherwise have seen. Not a total boycott. Just one movie. Odds are you won’t be missing much anyhow.

Posted by hornyoldmf | Report as abusive

I don’t know what planet Father Reese inhabits, but here on Earth pedophile priests have been leaving the United States to avoid prosecution for child rape more frequently than Hollywood can say Polanski. Father Reese forgets to mention how few pedophile priests have been prosecuted.And does Father Reese forget all the support the bishops gave to their pedophile priests?: Lying for them, helping them escape, placing innocent children in their paths. The Roman Catholic priesthood was a haven for pedophiles and will remain so as long as the decent priests live in fear of their corrupt bishops. And is there a double standard? Of course there is. Surely Father Reese is aware that Roman Polanski was not representing Christ on earth when he committed his hideous acts. He didn’t hear her confession and bury her grandmother.

Posted by maudesgirl | Report as abusive

I also think the wishes of the victim should be taken into account. However, no one should be above the law and his initial sentence should be served. Should Woody Allen really being weighing on an issue regarding an issue of sex with an inappropriately young female?

Posted by Kim | Report as abusive

it’s either OK to have sex with 13 year old girls or it is not OK. I don’t see how fleeing justice for 30 odd years changes that. I also don’t see how the victim’s forgiveness changes it. She has certainly been affected by it.

Posted by patrick | Report as abusive

How about if we focus on the fact Polanski did confess to raping a 13 yr old girl after drugging her and her repeated requests to stop. As obvious by the posters here, comparing Polanski to abusers within the Catholic Church wasn’t exactly wise, but it is still germane, no matter what the Catholic Church did or didn’t do. I’m not a famous filmmaker or French politician, but I have worked in the film industry and most of us are disgusted by Polanski and the support being given to him. Focus on the matter at hand. Polanksi is a confessed rapist who should be punished for that crime whether the victim no longer wants prosecution or not. A nation of laws brings charges against an individual in the name of the people as a whole, not as a tool of revenge for the victim. Don’t compare Polanski with other people who deserve our scorn and anger….apples and oranges, folks.

Posted by Charles | Report as abusive

Let’s look at the arguements against punishment
from the article:
1.They say that the girl was willing — she said no
2. and sexually experienced — irrelevant. Raping a virgin is no worse than raping a slut
3. and she has forgiven him – defeats the “she was willing” excuse and is irrelevant
4. They even cite his tragic childhood and life – this has never held up in court
5. it is ancient history – because he fled the country

from commenters:
1. taxpayer money would be better spent getting […] – justice is a very worthwhile way to spend tax money
2. the victim now wishes not to prosecute – she was 13, which makes it statutory and removes the option. Prosecution is mandatory for such cases.

The comparison to a priest can be attacked, but if Polanski was just an average working man, this wouldn’t have made the news, let alone been a discussion. The man belongs in jail.

Posted by drewbie | Report as abusive

A 46-year-old Roman Polanski drugged, raped and sodomized a 13 year old girl against her will. Pleaded guilty to a lesser charge (consensual) statutory rape and later fled to safe tolerant Europe where he suffered for years in exile in southern France. He even continued his behavior with underage teens (ref: 15-year-old Nastassja Kinski ).

Posters should review the girls Grand jury testimony… it is chilling.

The Left think its no big deal that ACORN offices in five cities can provide advice on setting up a brothel with 13-year-old illegals.

The Left forgave Bill Clintons serial womanizing and assaults on at least four different woman.

Where is the liberal feminist outrage ?

Where is the morality on the Left ? in Hollywood ?

Posted by Petras Vilson | Report as abusive

Can anybody provide more details about what actually happened at that party. Particularly how this 13 year old end up there? Were they aware that she was only 13?
Did she misrepresent her age?

Posted by PwlM | Report as abusive

He drugged and raped a little girl, fergawdssakes. Why is this even being debated? What’s sick is that we live in a world that AFTER everyone KNEW that this POS had done this, Hollywood and the elite still praised him in whatever he did.

Posted by pub | Report as abusive

I see that the answer to Fr. Reese’s question, judging by the excuses for Polanski on this blog thus far, is a resounding YES POLANSKI SHOULD BE HANDLED MORE FORGIVINGLY THAN PRIESTS. Only one poster could bring himself to state that Polanski should be in jail (before first excusing an immoral Hollywood culture and then changing the subject from world reaction of these pedphiles to the narrower Catholic Church reaction). One poster even forgives Polanski because he only raped a girl once? Where is the international outrage demanding that priest pedophiles be left alone? There is none of course. Compare that to these posts and international comments and Whoopie’s remarks (etc.) and you will see that Fr. Reese’s point is exactly right. There is a BIG difference. The guy RAPED and FLED. He belongs in jail on both counts. Period. May the moral degenerate coward die in prison dreaming of his caviar.

Posted by Tom M | Report as abusive

Good article, good question to ask.

Posted by C M Brooks | Report as abusive

Would Polanski get a pass if he were a Buddhist monk who had been celibate?

Posted by K | Report as abusive

I’m surprised this moron is wading into the debate about Polanski. The church used it’s diplomatic status to hide it’s own rapists and enforced a code of silence on it’s victims to ensure charges were not brought. For a long time accusers were threatened with excommunication. In Ireland, investigations have revealed that a majority of children under care of the Catholic Church were victims of some kind of abuse.

Roman Polanski was charged… and will face justice. Most priests have not even been charged. For a priest to come out and write so much nonsense is a disgrace.

Posted by Lexhamfox | Report as abusive

Roman Polanski is a pedophile. There is no question as to whether he drugged and had sex with a 13 years old girl. The only question is whether he will be punished for this crime and additionally for the crime of fleeing the country to avoid sentencing.

Posted by Paul Peters | Report as abusive

This is the same bunch from HolyWould that re-invigorated Deep Throat on its 25-year anniversary. It was so “trendy” — forgetting about the degradation of women that enables the porn industry to make its Billion$.

The Catholic Church was certainly not in the right — but also investigate all the rabbis who flee to I$rael after being charged with having sex with their rabbinical students.

The part about statutory rape that I never got — even when I was in law school — is that it “assumes” the girl would consent if she were older. What an insane assumption to make.

Posted by Anthonh | Report as abusive

I wonder what the reaction to this question would have been if it hadn’t been a priest who posed it. By bringing up so many objections, some who attacked the question and the questioner seemed to imply it shouldn’t have been asked at all. Does that put them in the same camp as Polanski supporters who don’t seem to care about equal treatment before the law? Comparing the director to a paedophile priest may be flawed, but it is an effective way to focus attention on two core questions:

1. does the rare case of a famous film maker guilty of raping a minor gets the same treatment as the much more frequent cases of little-known priests found guilty of doing the same?

2. is fleeing the country to avoid sentencing OK for a prize-winning director while doing the same or getting transferred to another parish is not for a priest?

This is not to excuse the paedophile priests, no way. A lot has gone wrong there and the Catholic Church has a lot to answer for. But responding with attacks on this question and questioner takes the focus off Polanski, where it belongs.

Posted by Tom Heneghan | Report as abusive

But Roman Polanski never pretended to a rabbi, minister or priest, did he? He never took vows committing his life to the service of others or was ordained was he? He never presumed to be an ordained representative of Jesus Christ did he?

No, Polanski was what he was, just your garden variety sexual predator who was caught and convicted, but who because he had the ability to flee, fled. But thankfully his conviction for the sexual abuse of a minor does not expire because of the passage of years and he will be held accountable.

The fact is that there are any number of priests known to have “fled the country” to avoid being held accountable for the sexual abuse of girls and boys.

There are more who were shipped to the foreign missions, sent to Rome to study or otherwise transferred out of the country by their bishops or religious superiors because of the rape of adult women in addition to the sexual abuse of children.

The important difference that Reese does not mention is that very few sexually abusive priests of girls, boys, young women, men, vulnerable adults, and that includes sisters and nuns, have ever been tried in a criminal court and found guilty, very few.

Moreover, the sorry fact is that there are a lot more that those we know about and that’s closer to or more than 10%.

Visit the web site of former Benedictine monk, Catholic priest and psychotherapist at www.richardsipe.com or www.bishopaccountability.org or www.napsac.us

Unfortunately, very few sexual predators among the Roman Catholic clergy ever find their way even into a civil courtroom because the statutes of limitation have expired.

They didn’t even need a get out of jail card because they received a completely free pass as did their bishops or religious superiors, if they were order priests or brothers.

And why is that? Because bishops and religious superiors chose not to report the sexual molestation and rape of minors to the police, they chose not to remove them from ministry, they chose not to reach out pastorally, to warn parishioners but instead transferred them to another parish in the diocese where their predatory and criminal behavior continuned unchecked.

Keep in mind that the reason the leadership of the Roman Catholic Church even BEGAN to do much of anything in regard to the sexual abuse of untold numbers of children was because of the revelations of the Boston Globe newspaper in Massachusetts.

Unfortunately, their actions in 2002 were no harbinger of Accountability & Transparency.

Far from it.

Bishops in New York, Colorado, Ohio, Maryland, Pennsylvania and others have viciously opposed any states’ movement to bring the sexual abuse statutes regarding the sexual abuse of children into the 21st century and spent millions of dollars, hiring law firms, lobbyists, public relations firms, and spin doctors to do it along with instructing their state Catholic Conferences to bankroll the same kinds of actions.

Would that it were possible to get all the living pedophile priests and the enablers into a civil court.

Most of them along with their enabling bishops or superiors will never be held accountable for their crimes and mortal sins in this life.

Sister Maureen Paul Turlish
Victims’ Advocate
New Castle, Delaware

Posted by Sister Maureen Paul Turlish | Report as abusive

Rule of Law must no longer exist in France. Or maybe the rape of a child is not a crime in France. Because a person has talent is now a legal justification to allow a rapist to go free? Maybe the lady in NY harbor should go back to France…if it represents the moral value expressed in support of this criminal rapist.

Posted by Frank Murphy | Report as abusive

Polanski committed the crime and regardless of the fact that his victim has forgiven him, he should pay the penalty. His victim was under age, he was not, and regardless of what happened to him, should have known better than take advantage of a 13 year old. He should not blame anyone else for his actions, and take responsibility for what he has done. The fact it happened a long time ago also does not excuse what he did.

Posted by jt | Report as abusive

What is it that makes somebody who can make great movies or hit a ball or throw a football or be famous better than anyone else? Are they not subjected to the same laws the rest of us have to obey. His crime was not sex with a minor, it was the rape of a 13 year old child. If it was your little girl, would you let time forgive him?
I say bring him back and as he admits he did the crime, so let him do the time.

Posted by John Devaney | Report as abusive

Polanski broke the Law of Land and should face his accusers. Now, in the other hand, the girl in question is already been compensated very well and will not like to be drag in to the mud again. Polanski should serve time in prison for his crime no doubt about it! Is like comparing the rich and the poor when it comes to who is the most liked it to be found guilty: rich will have a great defense team i.e. O.J. Simpson, so the same is taking place with Polanski: every one involved in the entertaining industry is crying for Polanski, they don’t care what ever happened to the girl after the assault toke place: shame on them!!!

Posted by Edgard Schmidt | Report as abusive

I thought that it is normal to do any crime if you have enough money. This has been proved by not only the legal system but political as well as spiritual systems.
However if you are normal human, does not have friends in right place, or does not have backing of the POPE, then you will be prosecuted to fullest extent.

What difference does it make, if you have committed a crime yesterday or 40 years ago. The world still wants to find and prosecute the Nazi criminals. Who after committing crime fled to a place where there is no value for the crime. Just because Polanski is great director does not make him above the law. In fact if he is a gentleman then he should and must accept the fact that he committed a crime and pay for it. Well if he is not then he should not be treated as a gentleman.

Same thing goes for the Priests and Politicians. Hope someday people will believe that law is for everyone and all are to be treated equally.

Posted by vijay | Report as abusive

He raped a little girl. That is a crime and he should be punished for his crime. He fled the US to escape his punishment. Another crime for which he should be punished. I have had to go to jail and if I fled at the time of sentencing I would have expected to be hunted down by US Marshalls. You do the crime you must do the time. Polanski suck it up and be a man. You are nothing but a pedophile and a coward, the absolut worst kind of human.

Posted by MBH | Report as abusive

Polanski DRUGGED and sodomized a 13 year old girl. Is he to be punished for the sake of the victim, or for the benefit of society? The woman has grown up and it sounds as if she has been able to put the even behind her. Is that grounds to let a man who committed such an act to roam free? He and every priest, every person who touches a child inappropriately should be imprisoned not for justice but to protect our society. And as for “he only did it once…”, would that excuse grant lenience in the case of the man that performed premeditated murder for the sake of financial gain? And yes, Polanski’s act was premeditated, it took him two tries to get her…

Posted by Jacob | Report as abusive

One factor that makes surely makes some more likely to demand punishment from a priest-molester than a celebrity-rapist is that the former is supposed to be an example of high morality, while little morality is expected of the latter. You shouldn’t have to worry about leaving your 13-year-old boy alone with his priest, but you’re rightly wary about leaving your 13-year-old girl alone with a male Hollywood director (casting couch, anyone?). The fault is always with the molester or rapist, of course, but one is even more offensive because of its outrageous hypocrisy.

This is the same reason notable U.S. Republicans (whose party took a severe turn from fiscal prudence and small government into ‘family values’ and far-right, religion-based morality for the past 25 years) have probably had more career-ending sex scandals than U.S. Democrats (who’ve not been noted for preaching moral platitudes, Bill Clinton and the Kennedys being prime examples of politicians who remained effective even through the fallout from their moral failures). We expect more from people who believe they have the moral authority to tell us how we should behave, so we tend to crucify them when they practice the opposite of what they preach. (It’s no wonder hardly anyone wants to become a priest, with that kind of pressure.)

Posted by Jeff | Report as abusive

What a stupid question to put as the title for your article. He shouldn’t be compared to a priest on any level. If he did the crime he should do the crime!

Posted by Michael Mapes | Report as abusive

The polish government is asking for his release at the same time that they are considering requiring mandatory castration for pedophiles who engage in acts with children 15 years old or younger.
Make up your mind! Either it is or is not a crime.
We decided long ago that in the US sex with a minor was a crime. Get over it. So what if he makes movies? Does that absolve him of any crimes in the past present or future? Put your big girl pants on and make a decision.

Posted by ricky lambert | Report as abusive

I don`t understand Polanksi`s defenders.

The man is a paedo. A CONVICTED paedo at that.

He was found guilty of plying a 13yr old with alcohol and having sex with her.

Then the peado coward fled the country rather than go to jail.

So what if it happened 30 years ago. If he`d served his sentence, he`d have been a free man a long time ago.

As to the child involved. It doesn`t matter that she is now a grown woman who wants to put it behind her. That isn`t the question. He`s already been found guilty, he doesn`t need a retrial, she doesn`t need to testify. He just needs to be sentenced and serve the prison time for a crime he has already been convicted for.

Shame on Polanski`s supporters.

Posted by Jakx | Report as abusive

Polanski raped a 13-year old girl. No one ever deserves leniency when you rape someone.

Posted by Ray | Report as abusive

He raped 13 year old girl. Period. He should go to jail even if he is a Pope or President of United States.

Posted by Krish, Chicago | Report as abusive

The publisher of Vanity Fair wrote in a publishers letter this year that Polanski had drugged the girl with quaaludes and champagne and then sodomized her.

However he was much more descriptive of what happend (and was confessed to by Polanski)than the general term “sodomy” implies. It was sick that anyone would treat a non-consenting young girl in that manner.

I suggest reading his letter in VF.com

Posted by jeff | Report as abusive

I agree that the widespread problem with the priesthood is different than the Polanski case but there are some parables. It is just not okay to rape someone, especially a child. Whether or not she was promiscuous, etc., as a man in his 40’s, he should have taken the high road and not initiate something like that in the first place. All adults have a responsibility to protect children. It is not the same as the priesthood knowing about these cases (which are also often with pubescent teens, not small children) and putting them back to work, but there was still a large community of adults that sheltered and protected Polanski. This is especially true of the entertainment world. It’s protecting your own despite their behavior. I try to avoid judgment of the original case, as I don’t know all the facts, but he fled prosecution on top of it which is very serious. I am not even saying he shouldn’t be exonerated in the end if the victim agrees, etc., but just because he makes good movies, does not excuse him from facing the legal consequences of his actions. The Swiss and US governments are perfectly in the right by arresting him. Otherwise, a precedent is set that if you can escape and get away with it long enough, you’re home free. To make the case that because so much time has passed it’s not fair is ludicrous, that was always borrowed time.

Posted by Kelly | Report as abusive

The huge coincidental irony in this story and the defense of Polansky by the Polish minister is that Poland just passed a law whereby pedophiles must submit to chemical castration as a condition of release after time served. The age of the minor must have been 15 or younger to qualify for a pedophile crime in Poland. This is the toughest enforcement standard in Europe.


Fame and fortune trumps the law? Or is it because it was a loose little American girl? (in the minds of the French or Poles)

His films are works of art. But Mr. Polansky raped a 13 year old girl. He drugged her, then had his way with her, and then tried to buy his way out of his crime.

Sorry, this has nothing to do with a “draconian” extension of power and everthing to do with justice.

Bring him back to back America, let him atone for his crime and let him and the rest of the world move on…

Posted by NobleKin | Report as abusive

The fact that anyone is giving Polanski a pass on the rape of a 13 year old girl is amazing to me. On top of that he flees the country after being found guilty. This guy needs to pay his dues like any other person would be expected to. I think that Reese’s point is that when a priest is accused of abuse the liberal media is all over it (as they should be). However it is disgusting to see these same people saying that poor Roman is being singled out or that we should “just forget it”. An abusive priest is wrong, and Polanski is wrong. Just because a priest is associated with a church does not make the crime any more or less heinous than if a director did it. The comparison is perfectly valid to me.

Posted by KJM | Report as abusive

Oh come on gang, does four percent of the entertainment industry commit child rape? Of course not, but there’s no doubt about the Roman Catholic history in that regard. Polanski ought to be extradited and imprisoned.Let’s not become confused, child rape is the same offence even if Hollywood stars and multibillion dollar churches step up to protect their own.

Posted by Gordon D Buckle | Report as abusive

Hmmm. Let’s see. Europe gave us fascism and communism. They also accuse America of being arrogant yet they also act in this manner; the French, who needed the world’s help in 2 World Wars, especially. Is there any surprise that they would accept a pedophile in their midst. Regardless of whether or not the 13 yr. old victim has forgiven Polanski, there are still consequences for actions. 40-some days in jail as the original sentence? That’s ludicrous!

Posted by Joe Reyes | Report as abusive

All citizens are equal before the law; fame, fortune and talent do not excuse crime, and neither does the fact that the perpetrator skipped bail 30 years ago and has been smart enough to elude attest until now.

It is shocking that that several government ministers of the French republic have gone so far as to criticise the arrest and probable extradition of Mr.Polanski. Does this mean that in France, “talented artists” and “immortals” (members of the French Academy) are henceforth welcome to drug and rape little girls ? Until now, I thought that the “droit de cuissage” was abolished on july 14, 1789. Apparently I was wrong.

Posted by Marcelle | Report as abusive

the “victim” has forgiven him, she said it’s ok, lets forget it…and move on.
What is happening here…the “victim’s” request is irrelevant ???
She has no Right anymore, to ask to let it go ???
I’m sure also not 100%, but 1000% that she had sex with Polansky at her own will.

Posted by sol | Report as abusive

A 13 year old does not have the capacity to consent under the law. Sorry, but spreading propaganda that she was “loose” will not help. That’s a common dodge used by pedophiles. If she had been used before by other perverts, it just makes Polanski a bigger creep for shopping her out to continue the abuse.

Posted by Jeff | Report as abusive

Of course there is the issue of Polanski escaping the court, and in a well regulated society individuals have a duty. However, the reactions we are seeing in Europe (even if they are starry-eyed) do seem to reflect an unease with the behaviour of some young girls.

All of us knew girls of 13/14 who were sexually precocious and whose energy was social dynamite. They may have lacked an adult perspective, but they knew just what they wanted. To automatically assume that a young girl has been actually rather than legally raped is very simplistic.

Sure, a 40-year old man should steer clear of half-woman, half-child girls like this, but the case needs more than mass hysteria to be understood. Ask the lady herself what happened and how much damage was done (if any).

Posted by Jacqueline George | Report as abusive

Hollywood supporters (French and Polish artists included) clearly demonstrate a lack of moral authority or even a respect for the law. Somehow they feel above the law. Talk about out of touch. How this became a popularity contest is beyond me. Maybe too many viewings of American Idol or Suvivor. Does Hollywood really think that they speak for even a large minority of people? The only ones supporting Polanski are those that think they have something to gain. Maybe a role in his next movie or the taxes he must pay to live his life of luxury. His supporters have a motive, it just isn’t one that any of us would admire.

Posted by Ken | Report as abusive

He did a crime, he should pay the price. I like movies, but really, this is about child abuse.

Posted by Chris Garwood | Report as abusive

As a Polish-American I fully support his extradition and I am pretty sure that there is more Poles (and French for that matter) who don’t support Polanski.
So if you could kindly refrain from statements like:
“Fame and fortune trumps the law? Or is it because it was a loose little American girl? (in the minds of the French or Poles)”

Posted by PwlM | Report as abusive

people love condemning!!!!!!!
this is pathetic…
dont you know anything about human nature?
understand, forgive….help instead of pointing fingers all the time…
europeans are more evolved then americans who stll live in the inquisition times, and have a better understanding of human nature…
thats why you see such different reactions……

Posted by cali | Report as abusive

What if it had been a 43 year old black man who drugged, raped and sodomized a 13 year old white girl?

Give us a break! All this outpouring of sympathy in Hollywood and France only serves to show the hypocrisy that exist — particularly in those places.

Posted by Jack Staub | Report as abusive

he is not a pedophile…maybe he was high on drugs…anyway what was a 13 year old doing there? where was her mom?
plus he is 76…leave him alone……..its all ridiculous……

Posted by pol | Report as abusive

He is already guilty, if he wants to appeal he needs to come back. What the victim wants now is completely irrelevant.

Posted by cv | Report as abusive

I can’t believe some people are still supporting Polanski on this. The man WAS just disgusting.

His plight as a child, and whatever he has gone through does not give him an excuse to sodomize a 13-year old, plead guilty about it and run away from the law. He already had his 30 year of freedom, it’s time for him to pay.

Posted by Joey | Report as abusive

The way I see it this… Polanski should be extradited to the US. He committed a serious crime and should be brought to justice. However, what justice does with him is another matter. At sentencing it would be appropriate to bring up the fact that after his arrest and flight Polanski has contributed greatly to world culture, that he has committed no further crimes, and that his victim forgives him. These are reasonable things to bring up at sentencing a may allow for a more lenient sentence. But until that hearing is held, he is a fugitive from justice.

Posted by Frank | Report as abusive

Moral codes were allways different for the elite.The law books of the world have thousands of laws–the only law of the poor:”Love one another”. If a poor stole a loaf of bread(obviously from the rich)punishment followed,despite the fact,that the poor of society laboured and the rich reaped(throughout history)
God forbid— that the rich, who abuse and rape the world could be blamed for enjoying the fruit of the world.
You expect the elite to protect their own,they won’t throw stones at the sinner, because themselves wallow in sin.They all steal from the world,gratiously hand out pittance to the poor(charging hefty interest)and demand accolades and salvation.

Posted by John | Report as abusive

What is all this noise about anyway? He committed a terrible crime & he should pay heavily for it. The only misfortune is that he wasn’t caught sooner.

Make an example out of him, Please!

Posted by Mary Bicknell | Report as abusive

I do not think that the fact that he paid compensation has anything to mitigate the offence and the USA is correct to seek his extradition. He should be punished for the offence he pleaded guilty to back in the 70’s and also separately for fleeing the country prior to sentenceing. No amount of talent or time should absolve him from facing the consequences of his actions.

Posted by Hellfire | Report as abusive

It is a complete bias on behalf of anyone in the Entertainment industry to argue that Polanski should be freed and charges dropped. The fact that he is one of the most talented filmmakers to date speaks numbers about his creative ability. However what he did to this girl shows a very negative and disgusting side to his character. When someone breaks the law they need to face consequences and the fact that he has run from these consequences for thirty years does not mean the crime never happened. We live in a society where the media industry is very influential and the last thing we need to do is excuse a heinous act because the accused it talented and famous.

Posted by RLH | Report as abusive

How about KOBE BRYANT? Didnt he get off because he is rich and hired the best lawyer there is, and many cared more about watching basketball than upholding criminal justice in a rape case that was proved by DNA. The worst thing is, there were literally threats to the victim by many who just felt that doing justice to the crime would keep them from a good show. To that extent, Rev Reese is describing a phenomenon of abuse of authority or privilege by the media, in favor of people whom they identify as one of them— the club.

(2) The fact that the original person who brought the case now decides to quit, many years later, DOES NOT OVERTuRN. OTherwise, once it was blown that the person faked the story in Roe v Wade and now is against the verdict, things would be overturned. That’s apparently not how the law proceeds here in this country.

Priests are poeple in authority. MISUSE OF AUTHORITY is a terrible problem at many levels of United States. That needs to be addressed, AT ALL LEVELS. The defenders of Polanski defeats this effort for equal justice for all.

Polanki, as a famous director, was a person of authority. He determines who gets a job, gets to be in a movie, sometimes, who gets a good chance to be a star.
People in authority everywhere else does not get a bigger break, but in the entertainment industry they do— THAT IS DEPLORABLE.

Posted by jo | Report as abusive

@ Cali,

So lets get this straight. America is in the dark ages because they punish sex crimes against children…

And Europe is more evolved because it supports pedofilia and child rape when the perpetrator is famous?

You learn something new every day. And as this draws on, Europe is looking *really* bad as more of them talk on camera.

Posted by Hahaha | Report as abusive

Both Polanski and the District attorney agreed to a plea bargain. Polanski, indeed, admitted guilt in return for a specific sentence. The judge reneged and applied a significantly longer sentence. Polanski should serve the sentence agreed upon in good faith by both the prosecution and defense. He should serve the sentence in France. Justice would then be done.

Posted by D Blacher | Report as abusive

Polanski should face life at hard labor. A priest who molest a child should face life at hard labor. The law is the law and your “talent” or profession should not matter.

Priest can forgive each other and Polanski from sin in the eyes of God, but society has laws which are administered by man and there is no forgiveness for child abuse.

Posted by Derek | Report as abusive

As a swiss citizen I am proud of my country to have arrested Polansky. Hope they actually ship him off to the US so he can stand his trial. What he did to that teen (even if it was some years ago) is sickening and deserves sentencing. Just because he is famous is not an excuse in justice.

Posted by CK | Report as abusive

Priest or film director, it’s the same thing. A man abuses his power over other people to act out his self-aggrandizing fantasies on a child, woman, boy who he thinks is not important enough to be believed.
It’s the hard work of victim advocates that reformed the legal system enough to bring justice to some of these cases.

Posted by Nancy Green | Report as abusive

Mr. Polanski, like Marc Rich who committed different crimes of a financial nature, is a fugitive from U.S. justice. Why anyone would think Polanksi should be exempt from extradition for the rape of a minor girl merely because he won an Academy Award is hard to understand. Would they excuse O.J. Simpson of the alleged murder of his former wife Nicole Brown and Ron Goldman because he once won the Heisman Trophy? Not hardly. The crime should be considered serious in any country or culture. The pedophile crimes of a small percentage of former Roman Catholic priests have nothing at all to do with whether Polanski is brought back to LA to stand trial. That is a pointless tangent to the main Polanski story. How is that priest angle germane to anything about Polanski? Are there many–or even any–examples of a former pedophile priest in the US pleading guilty to a pedophile crime and then fleeing to his summer villa in France for decades to escape a US court? One commenter incorrectly says a judge ”reneged” on a plea bargan between lawyers for Polanski and a prosecutor. A judge in American courts has an absolute duty to set aside any plea bargain that in his or her opinion is contrary to the ends of justice.

Posted by Mark Rhoads | Report as abusive

Unfortunately, the priest is right. I say “unfortunately” because I am an atheist. There is a double standard, and there shouldn’t be. If only 4% of all ordained priests are guilty of molestation, there shouldn’t be so much publicity. Yet Hollywood flaunts all standards of decency without so much as a little column in the newspapers. You bet Polanski wouldn’t get by as a paedophile priest, no way. Yet I do not know why his story is receiving so much attention nor why the authorities have an “axe to grind” with this man about a 32-year-old charge. Paedophilia is a sexual preference, no different than homosexuality, sado-masochism, or any other so-called “perversion.” As long as no force is used and no one gets hurt, anything goes, in my book.

Posted by Mufaso | Report as abusive

The sucker should fry. If it were me or anyone else we would burn. He’s not above the law and he proved he was guilty by fleeing the US and refusing to return. Burn Burn Burn!

Posted by Darrell | Report as abusive

Polanski could have been charged with contributing to the delinquency of a minor, practicing medicine without a license, a number of drug charges, sodomy, rape, statutory rape, and no doubt my list is not exhaustive. He plea bargained to get things down to one charge, pled guilty, and fled before sentence was passed. This invalidates the plea. This is the problem of running from justice. Polanski would have done his time and been out by now. Statutes of limitation don’t run while a defendant is on the run and his running violates the plea bargain so he’s on the hook for all the other charges.

He’s made a mockery of the US justice system and no doubt caused judges to think twice about leaving other defendants out on bail before sentencing. But that’s ok, he makes good films.


Posted by TMLutas | Report as abusive

Pedophilia is a sexual orientation no different than homosexuality, sado-masochism, bondage, or any other so-called “perversion.” As long as there is no force and no one is injured, no crime has been committed; I don’t give a damn what a government or a church says. If Polanski were a priest, you better bet he would be persecuted for his orientation, but being a Hollywood producer he can live out his orientation without being persecuted. It IS a double standard that shouldn’t exist.

Posted by Mufaso | Report as abusive

Sex with a minor,regardless of their experience or willingness, is wrong and a crime. Jumping bale and failure to appear are also crimes. If it were your average citizen he would be delivered to the court and delt with. Polanski is a criminal. He owes the people of California a little time just like any other man or woman who commits a crime against children.

Posted by Robert | Report as abusive

Polanski’s movies are fantastic – loved Chinatown and Rosemary’s Baby. He’s a very talented guy. Having said that, he should go to jail for a long long time – what a pathetic excuse of a man. Punk.

Posted by jamaljk | Report as abusive

Why could he not be compared to a pedophile Muslim Imam….Spread the HATE around…Polanski is a Leftist Liberal so why not compare him to a pedophile Ted Kennedy?!

Posted by Steve | Report as abusive

Roman Polanski is very talented & has brought a lot of joy to the world. He is also guilty of crimes. As to the question in the title, “Would a pedophile priest be treated the same way?”, despite recent news (P.S. more priests got away than were caught) this has been going on for centuries. In my town, the head priest (I’m not Christian, don’t know the title) paid $20,000 not to be in the ill graces of government & media, for allowing abuse to continue & transfering priests when necessary.

Posted by Zal Moxis | Report as abusive

You Polanski supporters are short sighted and short minded. Your assumption that Polanski only did this to one girl is mind boggling. I would bet my life this poor 13 year old wasn’t nearly the FIRST or the last girl he did this to. And to bring his age into has no relevancy whatsoever. Actually I take that last sentence back. His age does have relevancy. Seeing that he’s so old and fragile (like a 13 year old, minus the old of course) perhaps bringing him to the United States for any type of extended sentence is too harsh. Instead, lock him up for one night in a jail with a bunch of just past teenage felons who don’t really care who they rape. That way the roles will be reversed. Instead of a 46 year old man raping little girls time and time again, it’ll be a 76 year old man being raped by 18 to 20 year olds time and time again. In just one night Polanski will feel the pain he inflicted for years on numerous children. Then in the morning open the cell and KICK his sorry azz out of the country. That would be plenty of justice for me, and I’d bet for his victims as well.

And to comment to the priest that wrote the article…hey buddy, you got no soapbox to stand behind.
The only way you have the right to write this article is if you’ve already written articles about how your “teammates” should not be given an leniency for their crimes. I know you haven’t so if you’re one of the good ones, you have a duty to God, the Church, and the people to focus all of your time and energy about such matters on the abusers that share your title.

Posted by Paul | Report as abusive

Today’s Headlines:

-Famous Rapist Arrested By American Warrent
-France and Poland Decry Punishment of Child Sexual Offences.
-French Foreign Minister Claims Arrest of Pedo is “Sinister, not nice”.
-French Cultural Minister Reportedly “Frightened” By Recent American Actions.
-Europe Film Industry Signs Petition Supporting Admitted Child Abuser.

The truth, as they say, is stranger then fiction.

Posted by Haha | Report as abusive

What about “The Ghost” , the film about Tony Blair endowing Great Britain in the war , film Polanski is presently producing? Is all that anything else than a battle about free expression ?

Posted by Thymert | Report as abusive

Well, statutory rape is not rape, and it’s not entirely child molestation. But it does have elements in common with both. It is a shade of gray. Rape and child molestation both get about 10 to 20, and statutory rape gets about 1 to 3. That’s appropriate, in my opinion. Polanski punished himself worse, by living a fugitive life all these years. If he’d faced it like a man, he’d be out by now. Oh, to the priest crying because people aren’t so supportive of them when they do it; shut up.

Posted by Richard Stiles | Report as abusive

I find the whole affair disturbing. Everybody jumped to defend this guy. He was having sex with a minor. A mature man with a little child. A pedophile. Maybe Europeans have less draconic and drastic laws on the matter and maybe true the victim has forgiven the culprit but bottom-line this guy fled the justice system, committed a crime and even though a genius he is no better than any other criminal. Maybe he never did anything so wrong for the rest of his life but still there was a moment where he went against law and decency and for that he has not paid. He should go through the justice system and maybe the justice system should keep in mind his behavior after the fact but he has a debt that he needs to pay not so much to his victim but to society otherwise anybody who is a v.i.p. might think that he/she is immune to the rule of law and as a society we would set the wrong example for our kids. Pedophile, criminal, genius. Still a criminal.

Posted by Sam | Report as abusive

Polanski raped a thirteen year old girl and the french minister defended him? Get over it already frenchies, your times of past glory is just that, PAST. Put Polanski in jail! Being famous and/or rich doesn’t give you an excuse to rape little girls bastard!

Posted by Steiner | Report as abusive

I understand that Polanski was unsure that he would receive the 42 day sentence he plea-bargained and might instead get stuck with 50 years. In the circumstances, I can’t blame him for running. The one sentence seems to me ludicrously light for ‘statutory rape’, and the other is just ludicrous.

Sure, he should not have done it, and he should have received some sensible penalty. On the other hand, the lady concerned feels no so badly about the event but knows that the court exposure and media hounding over the next year ruined her life.

I wish some people would leave their black-and-white preconceptions for a moment and show some humanity to the lady, and also to Polanski. There but for the grace of God…

Posted by Jacqueline George | Report as abusive

No body ask about mother this girl? Why she send her to Jack N. house? She didn’t want to go to this house. Deep seek sens this situation shows Sasha Baron Cohen i last movie “BRUNO”, when parents wont send children to extreme dangerous Bruno show.

Posted by fan | Report as abusive

God sees the truth but waits.. I guess this is what has happened to Polanski. The heinous crime which he committed 30 years back should be brought to justice. May be his achievements in the world of films has bought him fame and glory, but that does not spare him from justice. Crime must be paid for and the time has come for repayment. In the world of crime, if people like him who hold social status can be dropped from all charges of crime then i do support criminals who are spending rest of their lives behind prison bars for the same crime. If he should be freed then the rest should also be freed. why show compassion towards one criminal and not towards other. After all everyone is a human.

Posted by arvind | Report as abusive

I suppose you could say something like ‘all are equal in the eyes of justice’. On the other hand the incarceration rate in the US is so stupendously, incredibly high compared to countries in Western Europe you have to ask if the US specialises in justice or in somthing a whole lot darker and muddier. I don’t think Polanski had anything to do with the movie Escape From New York but I figure if he goes to prison he can enjoy being in the cast of the reality show version come 2020.

Posted by John | Report as abusive

Priest pedophiles who raped more than one kid for years did not go to jail. Bishops who allowed more than one priest rape more than one kid repeatedly walked. The judge who all admit was a crook and used bait and switch to get Polanski to confess died a free man. So Polanski who did one criminal act not nearly as heinous as rape was supposed to go to jail for decades?

Give me a break.

Posted by Ed | Report as abusive

Polanski is 76, has lived for over thirty years without subsequent criminal arrest — and besides the dubious aspects of this case, judicial mishandling, etc, and the fact that the victim says she wants it over … one does wonder why the state of california…strapped for money…feels its of such importance to arrest this man? As for preists, they have almost all gone with jail time. Not to mention the likes of henry kissinger.

Polanski has visited switzerland many times, in fact owns a house there. Why now???? What is the agenda for the LA district attorney?

In this punitive and puritan society, Polanski’s greatest offense might be that he has never said he was sorry. Something totally un-Oprah like and not to be forgiven.

Posted by john steppling | Report as abusive

meant to say WITHOUT jail time….re preists-

Posted by john steppling | Report as abusive

This isn’t pedophilia. This isn’t rape. This is rape and pedophilia and kidnapping (literally speaking if the victim is drugged).

You say the victim doesn’t care anymore…BS. I smell a pay off.

Posted by Robber | Report as abusive

The victim still works in the world of media. if her identity were not known ,would she feel more free to want her rapist punished? This is only rape, if you think it is inappropriate for a grown man to have sex with your 13 year old child. I would like to hear what Jack Nicholson thinks about Polanski doing this in his home? Do other movie royalty avoid commenting to this topic? Isn’t it sad that social status gives such a different view to what is just. I am sorry Mr Polanski has been the victim of such horrible crimes in his past. it does not change his accountability for his own acts.

Posted by Daniel Bottoms | Report as abusive

If Polanski were a priest the media would be calling for his head!

Posted by lang | Report as abusive

I don’t think anyone should get away with it, priest or not. He has been avoiding the penalties of his actions and should be prosecuted. Anyone else without his money and stature would be prosecuted. He was certainly old enough to know better and went to a lot of trouble to evade arrest for a long time. Too BAD!

Posted by Patti | Report as abusive

Listen, you ignorant philistines. Polanski made one of the greatest mvoies ever, Chinatown. What is one teenybopper in comparison to that towering achievement?

Posted by Banjo | Report as abusive

Fr. Reese has really opened my eyes to a new dimension in this disturbing and contentious debate. I’ll never forget his insight:

“Entertainment, not religion, is the new opiate of the people and we don’t want our supply disturbed.”

Thank you for publishing this article. Sometimes comparison enlightens us as nothing else can.

Posted by Terry | Report as abusive

Perhaps the US ought to stop raping the Swiss with the ‘Swiss Gold’ extortion scheme, the shattering of national sovereignty with respect to banking secrecy, and this latest rather more minor rape of that small nation before it grandstands further in the name of the obscenities of American ‘justice’.

Posted by notsilentnotbob | Report as abusive

[…] Well, I said I wouldn’t touch the Polanski kerfuffle, but … I this makes a good point. And this question for his apologists. […]

Posted by Stones Cry Out – If they keep silent… » Things Heard: e87v3 | Report as abusive

This is a question posed by the guilty. Mothers heare it all the time…..Bobby’s mom lets him do it….. Mary can stay out after dark….

Responsible people take responsibility for their actions. dolts, perverts, and dirty old men do not.

If Polanski were a man he would return on his own instead of trying to hide behind some french skirt. Responsible governments and people everywhere would not hide him or come to his aid. Life in Folsom prison would give the AH an appreciation of rape and be good for everyone everywhere.

Posted by JABUSSE | Report as abusive

Regardless of anything else, He fled a court date.
That is the entire story that the judicial system is dealing with currently .
Later we can all talk about if its ok for an adult person to put his wicket in a 13 your olds covey regardless of
any other point.

Posted by Tom Abbett | Report as abusive

to Jacqueline George [10:09 AM] ‘There but for the grace of God…’ Bull. Drugging and raping a 13 year old girl is so far from what I am about I can’t begin to explain the anger I feel at your inane comment. Would you feel so differently if the 13 year old was your daughter, your niece, the daughter of a friend? But hey, it was 30 years ago, who really cares….right? I ask this: At what date did this rape become just an excusable action on the part of Polanski? 1 day? 1 week? 1 month? 1 year?

Posted by Ron | Report as abusive

Are priests getting “passes”? Hardly. Most of the cases that were brought up in the past 10 years go back to the 50’s and 60’s.

Posted by Bryan | Report as abusive

Fr. Tom should take a lesson from the old testament. David impregnated another man’s wife then sent the man out to die in the war so he could have her all the time. He gets off with a few good psalms… go figure. It’s an old story of the prominent and powerful having their way.

In America there is a saying “Talk’s Cheap.” It is meant to be a challenge to someone who is trying to weasel out of something or boast without having the back-up. The lesson of David and Hollywood is that talk’s cheap… meaning if you can get out of something with words you can screw anyone. In their religion talk’s cheap is a religious mantra worthy of aspiration.

Posted by jabusse | Report as abusive

Why are people so incredibly and unapologetically stupid?

I noticed the one big issue that’s missing from all talk about Roman Polanski’s case: Exactly how backwards the American judicial system is to the point that Polanski felt he had to flee.

In this piece, you have contributed absolutely nothing to the discussion, except to say he’s a bad man for fleeing. He’s not. He was the victim of GROSS judicial misconduct, bounced around like a ball in a pinball machine by a narcissistic judge who was more interested in keeping his press clippings in order than in serving anything resembling justice.

And I really don’t care if you publish this. As with the Catholic cult, anything that doesn’t conform to your worldview just gets ignored.

You say quit defending Polanski. I say quit defending the horrible crimes that the Catholic Church committed by allowing priests continualy contact with minors and just praying that the situation would go away.

Posted by Donna | Report as abusive

REALITY CHECK!!! The people defending Polanski are missing a few facts, no doubt misled by the hypocritical media depiction of his act as “unlawful sex with a minor”. What Polanski did was invite a 13-year old girl to a house, ply her with champagne and the sedative/hypnotic drug Quaalude, then vaginally and orally rape her, and sodomise her, against her will. That happens to be a crime, and a pretty heinous one at that. One for which he has pleaded guilty (albeit to a reduce plea bargain).
His celebrity status and contributions to culture make not an iota of difference. REMEMBER MICHAEL JACKSON? At least he didn’t run from justice: he went through a lengthy, gruelling trial and came out not guilty!!
The fact that Polanski’s victim received a settlement and has “forgiven him” is completely IRRELEVANT. She is not the law.
Others claime Polanski has suffered already enough in his life. So have most rapists and serial killers, so this argument is NONSENSE TOO!
In a civilised society, the law is the law. Commit a crime and you will be punished. Admit to a crime in court and run away from justice before you are sentenced, and your punishment will be even harsher. Period.

Posted by gobsmacked | Report as abusive

Father Polinski ????

Posted by peter | Report as abusive

I know of a bigger crime: some country invaded another on fallacious reasons.A few hundred thousand of innocent civilians were murdered.Do you think the perpetrators were brought to justice ? No way, the perpetrators were acting under god,and their commanders, good christians.Hopefully the victims took the matter in their own hands and they jugded, condamned and executed a few thousand of their tormentors.

Posted by Stefan | Report as abusive

The French are so upset by America wanting to stop a decades-long attitude in this country and others that there is somehow “consensual sex” if a 13 year-old child doesn’t fight back against the manipulative sexual advances of a rich and powerful man. Oh the French, they protest so much, they love their little girls, just like Maurice Chevalier sang about — “Thank heaven for little girls; thank heaven for them all, no matter where no matter who. . . “ Yes, without them what would dirty old me do?

And even though the victim is no longer 13 and wants the past to go away, (because she’s still a victim) there are still many 13 year-old girls who deserve protection under law from this sort of behavior.

Posted by SteveM | Report as abusive

Polanski should be extradicted and appear in court

Posted by Oleg | Report as abusive

He belongs in jail.

Posted by Robert | Report as abusive

Roman’s had it sooo good for sooo long. You’ve got the hollywood crowd wanting Obama to give this sleezebag a presidential pardon. It’s frightening when you think it could be your daughter or mine. The course of legal process and advocates will probably set Mr Polanski free, yet free he shouldn’t be and he should do the time. To do otherwise is a slap and a sneer at every parent in America.


Posted by robert Paris | Report as abusive

“Unapoligetic” “Missing from the Talk”
what kind of person muses such nonsenes when were talking about a 13 year old with a grown up Adult????
what planet do you ahle from?/

“he felt he had to flee” like he felt he needed to release himseld on a 13 year old.

Give me a break!!

Posted by Tom | Report as abusive

A crime is a crime, it doesn’t matter how long it has been. Why does the world accept that nazis be brought to justice 50 or 60 years later? If Polanski wasn’t a well known jew, it would have been a different story. Just think about it if your daughter was the one that was raped, would you pardon him?

Posted by serene | Report as abusive

See my argument is, is that religious people such as priests are breaking not only state, country, and continent laws, but they are also breaking religious laws and guidlines by raping boys and girls. Not to mention whom they are not married to. I personally feel that anyone in power like that should have to have a mandatory phsycological evaluation monthly where as Polanski did have a troubled life and more importantley the victim has forgivin him and stated that he does not need to serve any more jail time, if the victims of the priests asked them same thing then I would ask that it be honered for them.

Posted by Ace | Report as abusive

one word:


just google “priest arrest abuse”
many incidents of arrest and conviction

Posted by Ralph | Report as abusive

“I say quit defending the horrible crimes that the Catholic Church committed by allowing priests continualy contact with minors and just praying that the situation would go away.”

Posted by Donna
September 30th, 2009
2:31 pm GMT

Give it a break Donna. I know of no one who is defending the abuse conducted by a small percentage of priests. However there does seem to be many who defend what Polanski did. Abuse is abuse; it does not matter that it is a priest, a cop, a famous person, who ever.

People love to bash the Catholic Church, call it a “cult” and throw up the priest abuse scandal. You know what, it was a horrific abuse of power and trust by those priests. But priests are people and condemning an entire religion with over 1 billion members for the acts of a very few is exactly what Fr. Reese is getting at. The disparity of “public outrage” between the two is palpable.

Posted by KJM | Report as abusive

Come on Polanski.

You had a good run. And you were able to avoid justice up until now. You were lucky that France, being the cultural prostitute that it is, was willing to keep you safe from punishment. Not many criminals can be as lucky as you were.

But now its time for you to pay the price. You crept out from under your rock for kudos and you got nabbed. Let Europe complain all it pleases. They will just have to find another famous child rapist to worship.

Or possibly, as a crazy alternative, they should stop supporting them altogether.

And please, none of this “He’s a poor old victim of the system” bull. We hear it all the time. Considering he confessed to an open-shut case and skipped the country, not even he considers himself innocent.

Though seemingly, he thinks he is famous enough that the laws of society do not apply. And so do many people in Europe…

Posted by Hmmmm | Report as abusive

How about if he was a rabbi? Would he get a pass then? And how about if he was a Governor, or District Attorney, or a school teacher… Seriously, he’s a film director. Focus on reporting the news, don’t create news.

Posted by Erik | Report as abusive

In today’s varying Liberal convoluted societies, “Celebrity” brings with it the notion that being gifted with a talent places one above the law. For one to claim being counted among the intellectuals of society, one must first possess sufficient intellect to understand that in a civilized society, the primary benefit of the law is its consistent and indiscriminate application.

Jay David

Posted by J. David | Report as abusive

Donna, I know of nobody who is seriously defending the 4% of pedophilic catholic priests. Roman Polanski raped a child and admitted to it. Yes, he said it was consensual, but that is not an argument that can hold up in court when you are talking about a 43 year old man liquoring up a 13 year old. The man should be in prison for this crime. And if i were the father of the victim, his punishment would be far more severe. You can count on it.

Posted by Buck | Report as abusive

I’m truly surprised that so many people are defending Polanski. Yes this happened a long time ago, but he was a 40 year old man sleeping with a 13 year old. Where and when is that EVER okay?! Imagine if that was your daughter and take it one step further, imagine that your daughter had actually consented without the influence of drugs etc (which this girl didn’t). Even in a fantasy world where your daughter chases down this guy and has sex with him it is STILL a 13 year old girl with an old man who should know better and it is NOT okay.. EVER.

Posted by kbh | Report as abusive

Everybody get on with life. The Polanski affair has been over forever. Father Reese has it almost right. Actually the new Trinity is Social Illiteracy, Computers, and Violence.

Posted by Andrew Franks | Report as abusive

I am shocked by the comments minimizing Polanski’s crime or pointing to his achievements. We threw off the rule of the elite centuries ago.

Please tell me, what accomplishments allow sex with thirteen year olds? What accomplishments, level of popularity or amount of power permit outright rape or murder? The law applies to all, or it is not law.

I do understand the comments about judical misconduct, although the sentence agreed to in the plea was light.

This seems to be divine justice where wrongs initially bring benefits, but after decades the judgement comes.

Posted by Lane | Report as abusive

The young woman forgave Polanski. This is another waste of our taxpayer dollars. See the documentary on the subject. This is just another tragedy from the American puritanical and rather disgusting fetishistic interest in pedophilia which is constantly promoted by the media circus. This blog included.

Posted by Dan | Report as abusive

Regardless of anything else, He fled a court date.
That is the entire story that the judicial system is dealing with currently .
Later we can all talk about if its ok for an adult person to put his wicket in a 13 your olds covey regardless of
any other point.

Posted by Tom | Report as abusive

I know if my 13 year old daughter was raped I wouldn’t be willing to forget about it. His brilliance as a director isn’t on trial, the rape is. Man up!

Posted by Jean Leger | Report as abusive

Absolultely Not!

Posted by John | Report as abusive

Sex with a thirteen year old is totally acceptable by hundreds of million of Muslims all over Africa and the Middle East, be it consensual or not.
From what I know in Polanski’s case it was actually consensual.
Ask Tammy Faye if it’s OK to have sex with an experienced thirteen years old girl, or maybe Louis Farrakhan.Black teens pregnant at thirteen are pretty common in the US and white teens also. The allegedly raped girl seems extremely happy now after she took some money out of the old rascal.
Are you all sure that there are no more important issues to care about when the US is going downhill at such a fast pace?

Posted by Fred Della Noce | Report as abusive

If it were my 13 year old daughter I would demand punishment regardless of the time factor.

Posted by Don Calvin | Report as abusive

I would also comment in support of Stephan. We can even take care of the biggest criminals here in the US. I am amazed that we ignore all that we do…is it because it is sex and not death? Interesting.

Posted by Anais | Report as abusive

C’mon Donna,
You can’t be that stupid claiming a Catholic conspiracy as a justification for ignoring the fact that Polanksi is a perverted pedophile who drugged, raped and sodomized a 13 year old and then ran away like the coward he is. Stick him in Soladad with the brothers and see how he likes unwanted advances.

Posted by th | Report as abusive

Anyone who rapes a child should face up to the consequences for their actions and not run away and hide. This goes for priests, movie directors, and every single one of us.

Posted by Mike | Report as abusive

Honestly, nobody’s going to care just how good your work is if you do the despicable deed of having sex with someone who is legally unable to consent. The girl apparently forgave him; that implies, of course, that something harmful was done.

Though if the charge is decades old, I suspect he has outrun the statute of limitations.

About all we can levy against him at this point is shaming him and giving him enough punishment culturally to match the sentence he evaded – no more, no less.

Also, the religion angle is disingenuous; to be honest, I trust clergy of any religion even less than any other occupation (I’m an atheist; I don’t trust bullshit artists by nature). At the same time, rape is rape, no matter whodunnit.

Posted by Katharine | Report as abusive

Trying to deflect blame by asking what ifs is stupid and childish. He drugged and raped a child, I wont even call 13 a teenager. Polanskis past should be no defense, his time in a concentration camp should have made him more sensitive to crimes againt the powerless. So because he is a influential Jew, Jews will scream he needs special slack, after all the girl was a dirty lil shitska goyim who exist for his plaeasure, according to the Talmud.

Posted by Dillon | Report as abusive

if you cant do the time, dont do the crime.

Posted by John | Report as abusive

Have do remember the perspicacity of a 13 year old girl that insists she’s grown up? I sure do.. I thought I was so grown up then. My daughter is 13 also. Check out the documentary. It’s the parents’ responsibility to teach their kids the tools they need to make choices to honor themselves and their sexuality. There is much more to the “story” then the media will share. The woman did forgive him and herself. He’s not a criminal. He is a controversial person and dangerous to the powers that be because he is outspoken and people hear what he’s saying. Much more to the story..

Posted by Cathy | Report as abusive

The ones defending him are his co-ethnic Jews in the media. The names of his mdeia / Hollywood defenders sounds like a Tel-Aviv phone book: Goldstein, Weinstein, Applebaum, Cohen. Politically incorrect, but true.

And before anyone accuses me of racism, look at how the Jews are spouting venom about Catholics, Blacks, etc to divert attention from the deeds of a pedophile of their tribe.

Posted by Hardrada | Report as abusive

also lost is the fact that there was apparently a financial settlement to the girl and her family from Polanski…

the fact that she wants to see him absolved is irrelevant, if not obnoxious given that she may have been paid off for the crime…

Posted by john ewing | Report as abusive

If you have ever worked in Hollywood you would know that this culture is above the law.

Anything goes because they think themselves artist and that supersede cultural conformity.

Drugs, adultery, kids out of wedlock, tax evasion, even murder – anything goes.

This debate is only relevant to hard working law-abiding citizens who take life seriously.

Posted by Bill | Report as abusive

The real questions should be…

1. If he can get away with it… would he do it again?
2. Does he still like little girls?
3. Does he like little boys?
4. Does he believe Michael Jackson was innocent?

Posted by Steven | Report as abusive

Since the little girl forgave Polanski, should Polanski forgive the Germans? The truth is Planski is a wuss (pu**y); he couldn’t face the truth in court and ran to France (Home of the cowards). Do the french even have a word for victory? The only cool french guy was Nopolean; and he was really Italian.

Posted by Steven | Report as abusive

Whether American proponents of Polanski’s freedom wish to accept it or not, it appears that in Europe, Polansky’s talent as an artist is taken into account in this matter and is used to buttress their other arguments (the time delay and the allegedly “bad” judge). I believe that this is a vestige of European feudalism.

Of course, this idea, the idea that Polansky’s talent is relevent in the determination of whether or not to seek prosecution is almost completely foriegn in America, and I submit that this is due in part to two related circumstances:
1) America never had a truly feudal society, and
2) our revolution was firmly and expressly based on the principle that all men are equal in the eyes of the law (many of those who may have disagreed have long since emigrated to Canada).

Of course we did have slavery. And that slavery was followed by the vestiges of slavery, and since American slavery is the closest American analogy to European feudalism, it would follow that the vestiges of American slavery should be closest in analogy to the vestiges of European feudalism. Applied here, I think what we are seeing with Polansky is analogous to the past injustices perpetrated when white jurors acquitted white defendants for killing black victims.

Indeed, the idea that some men are better than, or deserve more than others is not new. It does, I believe, date back to at least the Bronze age. (ie differences in “honor price” or “weregilds” among different classes of men) Thus it is We who are the strange society in the eyes of history because we actually seek to treat all men equally under law, and so it should not surprise us that the ancient customs of our European cousins are still intact to some degree.

As for the time delay issue, its hard to see how one can hardly argue time delay when he himself was responsible for the delay. The moral hazard there is obvious and hardly seems to warrant much counter argument.

As for the “the victim forgave him” argument, it should be noted that this was done after nearly 20 years had already passed with no justice. To expect the victim to linger on indefinitely with no resolution would be cruel. Forgiveness was likely the only option she had in order to move on with her life. I wonder how she feels now? (I ask pointedly)
Finally, the victim’s feelings are just one of many factors to take into account in deciding whether or not to prosecute, and given the highly publicized nature of the event and the huge moral hazard it brings with it, I cannot see how her feelings in the 90’s would be enough to thrawrt prosecution. Perhaps if the victim vehemntly opposes prosecution, and it appears that the prosecution will adversely affect her now, in 2009, that will be enough to thwart prosecution.

The decent argument, and the one that the Europeans who support Polansky have not seized on like they should have is the one invoving the bad judge. I assume that is the route they will go from here. Its a question of belief, you can believe it or not believe it and at this point probably cannot be definitively proven either way. I have a feeling the pro Polansky crowd will choose to believe that the judge was a bad guy. (barring some kind of confession by Polansky himself that the Judge was not a bad guy – or some other miracle) From what I understand, Polansky fled when the judge would not accept the plea to statutory rape (when what was alleged was really straight up forcible rape of a 13 year old girl) and a sentence of about 2 months. Though, I must ask that the pro Polansky crowd ask themselves whether they would have granted such a plea give the actual allegations.

My two cents

Posted by Jeff Selden | Report as abusive

“Would Polanski get a pass if he were a paedophile priest?”

That title is offensive; it implies that priests (religious people) would not be prosecuted. The law did prosecute the pedophile priests; the church hierarchy failed, for years, to recognize that pedophiles are incorrigible; very regrettable, but somewhat understandable, considering the Christian theology.

Posted by GarryGR | Report as abusive

The real question here is why Roman Polanski is given the the consideration of the victim’s attitude to begin with. His traumatic past does not excuse his behavior nor does it give excuse to any other sexual offender. He should at least be brought back to the states for jumping bail and evading arrest.

Posted by Seamus | Report as abusive

If Polanski were a paedophile priest he would certainly be incarcerated. Polanski is a repeat Paedophile, people forget he was romantically involved with a then 15 year old Natasha Kinsky in 1975. How many other girls did he “fall in love with”? Polanski is obviously a serial paedophile and I find it astonishing that people around the world are upset over his arrest. I am gratified to see that France and Poland are backing off their original positions. Just a question, one with no answer but its fun to think abstractly about it anyhow: If G. W. Bush committed the same crime, would those who are supporting Polanski also support Bush? Like I said, just a question.

Posted by Jim | Report as abusive

Enough with the Catholic Church bashing! I’m an athiest and even I’ve had enough of it…especially when that isn’t the point of this story. Polanski RAPED A CHILD! He pled guilty and was awaiting sentencing when he fled. There is no further justice to be had, beyond him acting like a man and accepting the sentence for the crime HE PLED GUILTY TO! Stop making excuses for his avoidance in paying for his crime. Even the French and Polish governments have dropped the hysterical screams of injustice and toned down the rhetoric.

Posted by Charles | Report as abusive

I am glad that the Frenchies are finally waking up to this awful act. Hillary Clinton is one of those Americans who told us Brits really how to act. Nuff said. Cheers.

Posted by Viscount Mebling | Report as abusive

Pedophilia is a sexual orientation, not a sickness. A hundred years ago homosexuals and those who like sad-masochism were either jailed or sent away to asylums because they were considered a danger to society. Like it or not 13-year-old girls are capable of sexual consent. What’s the difference between two 13-year-olds having sex and one 13-year-old and one 40-year-old having sex? Come on, people! As long as no one is hurt and there’s no force involved, it’s okay. I don’t give a damn what the government says.

Posted by Mufaso | Report as abusive

As usual very sly from the US to choose Switzerland to ask Polanski’s extradiction, a rather non commitle country, do we ever hear from Switzerland’s politics?
Anyway is it if I am correct ‘Innocent before being proven guilty’? Polanski was charged on 3 accounts of a 13 years old being abused by him, he confessed on one and rejected the other two. Far from agreeing that a grown up man should have sex with a 13 year old girl, I find this request of extradiction rather late in the day, anyway Polanski has the French nationality and is very well liked and appreciated for his excellent work as a film director which I have liked very much,mind I am French though have lived in the UK for more than 30 years and have British and French nationality. Will this start a little ‘friction’ between the US and France well this would not be the first time….
Reading the article and the mention of the ‘beloved’ and sly Catholic church they should really look in their ‘quarters’ before attempting to make any comments and deal with their own problems of sex abuse and so on, so please do not get involved. This may bother some people but I really hope Polanski can return to France and carry with his great work. Catherine

Posted by catherine.williams | Report as abusive

To John Steppling, who wrote: “In this punitive and puritan society, Polanski’s greatest offense might be that he has never said he was sorry. Something totally un-Oprah like and not to be forgiven.”

If it’s “puritan” to be against rape, then I’m proud to call myself puritanical. And I don’t know why Steppling is so flippant about the idea of an apology; it can help a rape victim greatly if the perpetrator apologizes.

I see no reason to forgive someone who has never exhibited the least remorse for what he has done. Take a look at Gailey’s grand jury testimony on thesmokinggun.com, and you might not find Polanski so sympathetic.

Posted by lifeboatb | Report as abusive

I can’t believe ‘catherine’ and other women are sticking up for someone who raped a 13 yr old. It doesn’t matter if he is famous, was famous, or whatever. His talent, and nothing else about him, excuses his putting his ‘manhood’ into a child, or anything else he did to her. RAPE IS RAPE IS RAPE IS RAPE! No conditions!! If you all think this way, that it is OK what he did, or it was so long ago, God help your daughters. Because none of you will. Yes, I had this happen to me, many many years ago, and I still have nightmares at 72 years of age. And just recently this person decided enough time has passed that he can come back into my life, no apologies and act as if nothing happened. sorry, whoever, wherever, rape is rape is rape. Period!

Posted by barbara | Report as abusive

If this were a common man his butt would have been in jail a long time ago.He would have to register as a sex offender and be ridiculed the rest of his life!! The girl was plied with alcohol and Quaalude’s come on! Anyone who stands up for him never had a child obviously! He’s the lowest of the low. In prison he will become what the girl was to him, PREY!

Posted by neilrr | Report as abusive

“What’s the difference between two 13-year-olds having sex and one 13-year-old and one 40-year-old having sex?”

It’s called exploitation, Mufesto. An adult using their trust and position to have power over a small child to satisfy their own lust.

If you really don’t see the issue with it, then that is a bit worrying. It seems like something you would see on NAMBLA’s website.

Posted by Hmmmm | Report as abusive

Opinions on Polanski are coming out of the woodwork.
The scales of justice are not blind.
Money, power, talent, celebrity will win everytime.
This is how the system works.
He bought skilled lawyers – had plenty of money to flee – paid off the victim.
The system is fantastically corrupt.

Posted by Michael French | Report as abusive

If Polanski used force to obtain sexual favors it wouldn’t matter to me if the girl was 13 or 30; rape is rape regardless of the age of either the perpetrator or the victim. My point is that if the sex was consensual, no crime has been committed. But if indeed he drugged and then had sex with this girl, then clearly she was unable to give consent, and he is guilty of rape and should be dealt with accordingly. Age is completely irrevelent when it comes to sex. The government has no business telling people who they can and cannot have sex with. Rape, defined as the use of force to procure sexual gratification, knows no age limit. The age of the victim or of the perpetrator makes no difference in my book. A 30-year-old woman can no more defend herself against an attacker than can a 13-year-old girl; therefore the penalty for the rape of a victim of either age should be the same.

Posted by Mufaso | Report as abusive

[…] Many other religion writers are asking the same, from USA Today’s Cathy Lynn Grossman, to Reuters’s Tom Heneghan. And Rod Dreher, blogging as BeliefNet’s Crunchy Con, takes the argument even further, writing:In […]

Posted by "Father" Polanski would be jailed – Page 3 – Christian Forums | Report as abusive

all of u condemners, dont be so sure he is a pedophle…she wasnt 6 years old..she was a 13 years old teen looking 18…
come on everybody…you are so naivelly judgmental and so angry!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!

Posted by cali | Report as abusive

“Rape, defined as the use of force to procure sexual gratification, knows no age limit.”

Wrong. Rape is defined as having sexual intercourse with a person, without a person’s consent.

And a 13 year old child cannot consent, because they are still at the age where they can be easily manipulated or pressured into sex by 30-year old pedophiles.

“The government has no business telling people who they can and cannot have sex with.”

Yes they can. Especially when those people are trying to molest or otherwise take sexual advantage of young children.

“A 30-year-old woman can no more defend herself against an attacker than can a 13-year-old girl”

You really think that? You believe that a 13 year old girl has the same physical strength of an 18-30 year old woman? What an odd thing to say.

“Age is completely irrevelent when it comes to sex.”

NAMBLA thinks so too. Funny enough, a lot of them ended up in jail for child rape.

Posted by Hmmmm | Report as abusive

I think many posters missed the point of the Polanski-priest comparison which had to do with public reactions to cases of pedophilia involving priests on the one hand and celebrities on the other, not if more priests than celebrities got away with sex crimes or if Hollywood would be more likely than the church to cover up pedophilia than the Vatican. A pedophile priest would be (rightly) torn to shreds if he tried to defend himself by saying that the incident happened a long time ago or that he should be forgiven because of his great accomplishments. But this is precisely what Polanski’s defenders are saying.

I agree that there is an extra layer of repugnance if the pedophile is considered a moral authority and is in a position of trust. But saying that this is the chief reason why we condemn pedophile priests is tantamount to arguing that raping children is no big deal as long as you’re you’re not their priest, teacher or scout master, etc. Pedophilia is wrong whether the perpetrator is a priest or a celebrity.

Posted by Georgina | Report as abusive

It may seem hard but the bottom line is…………….
He did the crime let him do the time !
with his money and power, he will just get a slap on the wrist and a fine.
gonna follow this case.

Posted by BklynOG | Report as abusive

12 is the age of consent in Vatican City; 14 in Italy

Posted by barbara | Report as abusive

In Italy, they discriminate against Gypsies and Romanians.

And they also have record approvals for their political leader (always a sign of not-so-swift populations)

So I would hardly look to them for inspiration for a better society.

Posted by Hmmm | Report as abusive

people love jumping to conclusions..love condemning!!!!!!!!!
if you want to condemn polanski, then condemn the 80% of the male population of this planet!!!!!!!
at some point they all have done or tried to do something similar……i am a woman, i was a girl once! i am talking from experience…
polanski happened to be famous so he has to be the scapegoat…thats all…he is no different ! the whole planet should go to jailthen if you want justice!!!!!!!

Posted by poppy | Report as abusive


Sexually abusing a 13-year-old girl is obviously a serious crime.

And being an artistic genius never constituted, for any crime, an attenuating circumstance.

Having said that, and considering the wave of madness currently sweeping the country, we should also remember the following:

1. The “illegal sexual intercourse” that Roman Polanski acknowledged he was guilty of 32 years ago is not, for all that, the deadly crime, even crime against humanity, that the avengers hot on his heels have been denouncing for the past 10 days. Yes, it is a crime. But there are degrees in the scale of crimes. And it is an insult to good sense, an assault on reason, a door left open to all kinds of confusion, to muddle everything, to try to make everyone believe that a rape is a crime of the same nature as, for example, the one his wife Sharon Tate was a victim of, eviscerated several years earlier, to risk, in other words, because that’s what we’re really talking about, seeing Polanski join Charles Manson in the penitentiary where, starting January 1, 2010, he will have the possibility of parole.

2. This affair is all the more senseless as the principal complainant has chosen to forgive, to turn the page and, if possible, to forget. Leave me alone, she begs every time the Justice Spectacle, or just simply the Spectacle, shines its spotlights on this part of her past! Leave me alone and, while we’re at it, forget this man that I, his victim, think has paid enough! But no. Defenders of victims’ rights are there knowing better than the victim what she wants and what she feels. We are dealing with people who would step over the victims rather than let go of their prey and renounce the drunken desire to punish. It is shameful.

3. When the victim withdraws her complaint, isn’t it up to society, that is to say the judge, to pursue the matter? Yes, without a doubt. From a strict judicial point of view, it is indeed the right of society. But this will be neither the first nor the last time that the strict judicial perspective misses the demands of compassion as well as those of intelligence. And just as I have never abstained from pointing out, in the Law of this America that I love, customs or punishments, found in every legal system, that distort the pure democratic idea, likewise there is no reason not to say it: arresting a man today about whom it was decided a long time ago, after 42 days in prison, that he wasn’t a pedophile, tracking him like a terrorist, and extraditing him like a former Nazi is perhaps right according to the law, but not according to justice.

4. Would it be, like we’re hearing everywhere, that his celebrity was giving Mr. Polanski refuge? No, of course not. I have spent my life trying to pull minuscule lives, nameless and faceless victims, from obscurity — and I would have exactly the same views if Mr. Polanski weren’t Mr. Polanski. Except… Except I precisely wouldn’t have to maintain them. Because he wouldn’t have been arrested. His dossier would have been buried for years. And there wouldn’t have been any prosecutor, on the eve of an election (because many American judges are elected by the people like mayors and sheriffs), to arrange this high-profile arrest. Celebrity is not protecting Roman Polanski; it is doing him a disservice. Far from Roman Polanski hiding behind his name, it is his name that is drawing attention to him. And if there is a double standard in this affair, it is making Polanski, not an ordinary defendant, but a symbol — and his eventual appearance a politico-media “grand bazaar” more than a fair trial.

5. The root of the matter lies in the whiff of popular justice that masks everything and transforms the commentators, the bloggers, the citizens, into so many judges sworn in on the great tribunal of Opinion — some weighing the crime, others the punishment; we have even seen one of the virtuous, apparently an expert in chemical castration, propose for this new Dutroux (sic) a definitive treatment… Strange sort of outrage in those who don’t find fault when it’s a truly powerful person who acts like a child predator in front of our faces (ah, Mr. Berlusconi’s escapades) but who become implacable when it’s a seemingly powerful person who, like Polanski, has no other weapon but his talent… Singular kind of moralists who take an evil pleasure in replaying over and over the details of this sordid affair in order then to throw the first stone…

This lynching is a disturbance of the public order more serious than Roman Polanski remaining free.

This tenacity on the part of the gossips, and this desire to see the head of an artist on a pike, are the very essence of immorality.

Either one of two things, Your Honors. Either Polanski was this monster — and we shouldn’t have given him either an Oscar or a César; we needed to boycott his films; we needed to turn him in to the authorities every time he vacationed with his family at his home in Switzerland. Or you have never found fault, ever, with his announced appearances on the red carpets of every world festival; you feel as I do the formidable hypocrisy of this prosecutor, craving recognition, who woke up one morning to deliver him like a trophy to the public condemnation of the white-hot anger of voters — and we must, like his victim, plead that he finally be left in peace.

Read more at: http://www.huffingtonpost.com/bernardhen ri-levy/on-the-polanski-affair_b_310397. html

Posted by gerri | Report as abusive