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Roman Polanski's supporters sending wrong message about rape, minimizing director's crimes, critics say

Roman Polanski

Defenders of Roman Polanski have not minced words in their criticism of L.A. prosecutors for arresting the director three decades after he fled the U.S. before being sentenced for sexually abusing a 13-year-old girl.

French Foreign Minister Bernard Kouchner called Polanski's arrest a "bit sinister."

His agent, Jeff Berg, has said that justice has already been served in the Polanski case.

Directors Martin Scorsese, David Lynch and Woody Allen are among dozens in the film industry to sign a petition calling for the immediate release of Polanski. Academy-Award winning film producer Harvey Weinstein, also a signatory to the petition, wrote in the UK Indpendent calling the original plea deal in Polanski's case a "miscarriage of justice."

"Whatever you think about the so-called crime, Polanski has served his time," Weinstein wrote.

But such comments don't sit well with advocates of sexual abuse victims, who think Polanski's supporters in their zeal to free Polanski are sending the wrong message and downplaying the seriousness of the crime.

"Most troubling to me is that people just don’t understand the impact a crime like this has on a 13-year-old girl, and the fact that he has made some fabulous films is utterly irrelevant," said Katie Buckland, executive director of the California Women's Law Center. "It sends a message that the rich and powerful can get away with crimes that no one else can get away with."

The Polanski case has generated much debate about why prosecutors acted now. It's complicated somewhat by the fact that his victim, now in her 40s, has publicly said she believe he should not face prison time and that the matter should be dropped.

But Buckland said it is irrelevant that the victim did not want to press the case -- and that prosecutors should be praised for sticking with the case.

David Clohessy, national director of the Survivors Network of Those Abused by Priests, said he hears echos of "Polanski's apologists" in the scandal over child abuse in the Roman Catholic priests.

"In both cases we have the public and secular authorities giving every benefit of the doubt to clear wrongdoers just by virtue of their exalted positions. You could easily say if Polanski was a priest, he would be easily jailed," Clohessy said. "Somehow if you can make movies, dance well, shoot a basketball, essentially accumulate wealth or power and then you are somehow exempt from the basic societal laws and expectations. By not pursuing Polanski, we send a very disturbing message to criminals. Make yourself popular, get good lawyers, flee the country and you are home free."

UCLA law professor Peter Arenella said the intensity of the debate surrounding Polanski is less about legal issues than it is about changed social norms, although it does not in any way excuse what happened but it may explain it.

“I’m not saying at the time of Mr. Polanski’s case that his behavior was justifiable under the prevailing social norms. It was still unjustifiable behavior on his part," Arenella said.

But he said there was "the same sensivity to the abuse of power issues."

-- Andrew Blankstein

Photo: Director Roman Polanski arrives for a screening at the 60th Cannes Film Festival in May 2007. Credit: Anne-Christine Poujoulat / AFP/Getty Images

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Comments () | Archives (162)

Does this mean these same people are willing to fight for the freedom of priests that were convicted of sexual abuse? If so, speak up Hollywood. HYPOCRITES

If Roman Polanski is to be prosecuted for his sex crime dating back to 1978, I would like to add, what about the girl's parents or guardians (if they are still alive)? Why are they being let off the hook, allowing their 13 year old daughter to hang out at a swinging adult party at Jack Nicholson's house, a notorious playboy in the day? If you're going to prosecute Polanski, how about prosecuting the girl's parents or guardians for parental neglect and possible childhood endangerment?
Yours truly,
David Keller
New York, NY

If he hadn't skipped town and had served his time, this story would have been long gone, so don't blame the prosecutors for rehashing the story and upsetting the victim-Polanski's the one responsible for that. She is understandably upset because the details are being rehashed in the media and I'm sure she doesn't want to relive them or have her loved ones hear about it. Polanski already make a deal, there's no trial for her to testify at. Anyone else in this situation wouldn't have been given 90 days to finish a film, first of all, and allowed to leave the country, second. He abused the leniency of the court. He should have done his time in the first place and this would all be over. I am disgusted by these celebs defending him, especially Whoopi Goldberg saying on The View that SHE doesn't believe it was "rape-rape"? Who's traumatizing the victim? He played cat and mouse for years and lost, deal with it. He is not above the law and anyone who would excuse his behavior is disgusting.

The proposed petitions(s) in support of the convicted felon and pedophile, Polanski, by the chattering classes in Hollywood is fine. It is their right. But, I do ask that these petitions be made public and posted on the internet and/or newspapers; so that we who oppose his type of behavior can put in place our own petition to boycott the films, actors, TV programs and networks, etc. of the people signing a petition in support of Polanski. After all that is our right.

If they let Polanski off, then it will become acceptable to have sex with underage girls.

Talk about perversion!

Just a little more worse than having gay sex.


Yet another article that does not mention the grand jury proceedings:

The victim testified that she did NOT GIVE CONSENT.

No consent = "rape-rape".

Polansky drugged and rape raped a 13 year old girl. I hope he rots and dies in prison like the child rapist he is.

The transcript of the Grand Jury proceedings is unambiguous about the fact that the girl (who was 13) was unwilling and that Polanski (who was 44) drugged her and had sex with her in every available orifice. The number of men who have spent many years in prison for offenses much milder than Polanski's, number in the tens of thousands. For the rest of THEIR lives they will be on a list that will rather severely restrict where they can live and where they can be.

Let's get the guy on trial and see what he truly deserves.

You apologists for Polanski should ask yourselves, if what he did to that CHILD happened to you, would you be so cavalier about it? If a rapist manages to hit a certain milestone of 20 or 30 years on the lam from justice, does that somehow erase the crime? Were you reviled when you found out about Phillip Garrido case? If so, why? Because he only got away with the same disgusting behavior for a mere 18 years and not longer? Because he doesn't make crappy movies?

If a person pleads guilty to an unspeakable crime, and then takes off if it looks like he'll actually serve some time for it, is it okay? Don't our laws say if you flee from justice we have the right to drag your behind back to jail if we can catch you? I mean, what is wrong with all you people?

And Woody Allen jumping on board to support this jaw-dropping disregard for the rule of law is the only thing here that made me crack up. I mean, it's just TOO easy...

Roman Polanski used poor judgment that's for sure. Maybe it was his state of mind at the time. His wife, whom he loved dearly,(Sharon Tate - beautiful actress)was murdered by the Manson gang for no good reason. She was almost nine month pregnant at the time with their son. He was a wonderful husband and would have been a terrific father.

I believe Roman was a child when he survived the Holocaust. The road of life has not been an easy one for him with all his money and fame. Whatever monetary possession he has is because of his superb talent.

The woman, who was violated by him at the time, wants to forgive his actions. Why can't we? He has paid over and over again for the mistake he made so many years ago. He is not an ordinary person or the typical rapist. This should all be taken into consideration. I'm sure that he would do more for the world if he were forgiven.


If I had been this 13 yr old girl's father and killed Polanski for raping my child, took the "Polanski deal", but then fled the country and ended up being caught in Switzerland after 30 years, it would be OK? I should just be let go?

Either we are a Nation of Laws or we aren't. He admitted the crime. He fled the punishment. He still needs to face the music, whether or not he likes the tune.

And for some irony, from the terms of this discussion list:

"If you are under 13 years of age you may read this message board, but you may not participate.
Here are the full legal terms you agree to by using this comment form."

There are men in this country in their 30's and 40's who are coming forward to disclose being raped by priests in thier childhood. These priests are defrocked and sent to prison. Why should it be any different for Roman Polanski. Its amazing to me how the Hollywood left protects thier own. What he did to that young girl, no matter how long ago, should not be defended under any circumstances. You can put any spin on it you want. The bottom line is that he plied a child with drugs and booze and raped her. If it were your 13 year old daughter what would your reaction be. Brian Robinson Sept 29th at 7:55 pm

The justice system bashing is unacceptable. He has avoided dealing with this issue for 30 years. If he had appealed, I think he would have been treated fairly at some level regardless of any improprieties at lower levels. His talent or accomplishments should be irrelevant to whether he is extradited. If this was Joe Smith, he would have been hauled back to the US 30 years ago.

Woody Allen?!?! proves what scum are the Hollywood crowd is, but we all have known that....remember the rapes at MGM? you bet i do....scum....real scum

'"Whatever you think about the so-called crime, Polanski has served his time," Weinstein wrote.'

Right, drugging and raping a 13 year old . . . this so called "crime." Looks like Polanski's at the auto show.

What a joke. Makes sense that the depraved degenerates of the Hollywood elite would be supporting this pervert.

@ Leslie Razo - an escaped felon is never forgotten, never forgiven. If a child murderer or a rapist escapes from a prison near you, will you say that he should be forgiven, and forgotten? Polanski is a rapist. Read the transcripts at thesmokinggun.com He got a child drunk, drugged her, then raped and sodomized her despite all her protests. Rapist, felon, fugitive. If you argue for Polanski to go free, you must also argue that the cops don't chase any felons who escape from custody in YOUR home town, county, or state. Make up your mind.....

Amazing that so many duped people are willing to place the perversion labeled "american justice" on a pedestal and treat it like a God. The majority of corrupt judges and highly paid prosecutors who administer the american "justice" farce have proven themselves to be the worst criminals in the world, far worse than the small percentage of people they put behind bars who are not innocent. These psychotics hiding behind a uniform or a law bench intentionally go after major artists and contributors to society, especially the ones who contradict their plans of mass imprisonment and slavery for the average citizen. It's no accident that the US has draconian sentences for the most minor offenses and boasts the highest prison population in the world. The goal of the thugs in uniform with their guns, tazers, beatings and chokeholds and their bosses the corrupt judges, prosecutors and "law and order" politicans is to establish a slave state, manufacture criminals out of ordinary citizens and keep millions of innocents cycling through their multi-billion dollar slave gulags for life. The American modern day slave system is more draconian than Russia or China ever hoped to be and puts the Soviet gulags to shame. Juveniles and the indigents in america are especially targeted. "Juvy" is an american hellhole where kids are abused, threatened, forced onto brain drugs and taught to be career criminals for the "crime" of disobeying their teachers or shoplifting a pack of gum. There is no statute of limitations, records are permanent to ensure they don't get jobs, and they are subjected to lifelong humiliation and degradation. In the US there is intentionally no such thing as "rehabilitation". Getting caught in the American "justice" system, innocent or guilty, is to be condemned to a lifetime of degradation, suffering and misery. The small percentage of real career criminals, murderers and drug dealers are allowed to go free and rewarded by the cops and judges since they are the fuel and money makers for an american slave system where everyone is guilty until proven innocent. American capitalist "democracy" and of its clones in other countries is a giant sham and much more malevolent than communism. All traces of real justice or democracy quickly become non-existent in countries that try to copy America's tyrannical and oppressive system.

Hey, Martin, David, Woody and Harvey: There’s this guy in Pittsburg, California, name of Phillip Garrido, who also needs your support. He only raped, I mean, had relations with a 13-year-old girl, same thing as your pal Roman. No, he didn’t make any movies, but he did do some music. You think Roman got a bad deal? This guy may be put away for life! How about a combined campaign: “Justice now for Roman and Phillip!”

Yes, (you need to read this with a twist of redneck slang in jest)
"Wul, I thank amerika need to nuke all them leftys, the french, poland, hollywerd, polanskee- anyone who don't wanna go with what riight, riight? Just send ar CIA and a pile of them thar drons - lets make the world a betar place for livin riight an beein fraeee cuz we're the richiist shmartest, pawer in this werld, by God!"

Wow for you people who think he should be let off just cause he lost his wife and because this case if so old. Shame on you. That girl suffered from that and will always remember that moment in life forever. She may say she doesent want anything to do with it. But that is because its going to be a media circus. This guy should be locked up and have to register as a sex offender. Its situations like this where if he is let off the hook, other people wonder why othere child abusers are let off so easy. It is a damm shame that this type of people have other people feeling sorry for him. He wasent sorry when he forced her to have sex. He didint think about her innocence being taking away forever. Where are all the people now who are protesting this. Everybody wants to protest Micheal Vicks Case about dogs. But when another child is raped we turn away and ignore it. This man is sick and was probably still doing the same thing in the other countries he has been to. When we throw people in jail for 10yrs or more for selling marijuana and then give child abusers a couple months or let them out on house arrest or just let them out period. What sense does that make? Child abusers should serve life sentences becasue they are not fit for society.

From reading the girls deposition it is clear that there are extenuating circumstances.

A few days before the "rape" he photographed her with her top off and flirted with her giving her some indication of where his mind was at already.

She admits that she had sex twice before so she was not a virgin. Also she had gotten drunk and taken qualudes before.

Polanski could have just given her one or more pills but instead asked her first if she knew what she was taking and then gave her only 1/3 of the pill.

There is alot of talk about how he had anal sex with her as if this makes his crime so much worse. Interestingly however he appears to have only taken this direction after asking her if she had taken the pill or had her period. So it seems this was simply to prevent pregnency.

At no time did she cry out or physically resist him. She claims to have said no a couple of times however but if somebody is being raped you would expect them to fight or call for help. And help was nearby in that there was a woman in the adjacent room. That woman even said hello to the girl on her way out but the girl said nothing.

Also, it seems Polanski was unaware of her age.

Finally, having plea bargained his case before the judge he only fled after the judge went back on his word. He never would have taken that plea had he not relied on the judges word.

Finally the original prosecutor himself admits that if it had been him he would have fled as well since the judges behavior was so dishonest.

Polanski did not commit the kind of crime that he is often being accused of by so many people.

The final thing to consider is that the victim herself would prefer all this to go away.

Every "liberal progressive" I know believes abuse of power is the worst kind of crime. Anyone who supports Polanski should read the child's testimony - it will break your heart. Sodomy of a drugged 13 year old girl is beneath contempt. The world is finally beginning to speak out with a united voice in protection of girls. Freeing Polanski would be a hideous step backwards.

Why is no one discussing the fact that the victim in this case, who is now married with children, wants the charges DROPPED? Why is this not RELEVANT?!

Polanski's supporters are stunning! For example, on The View, Whoopi Goldberg said this event was not "rape, rape." Is this a new legal term? Perhaps Goldberg considers the drugging and sexual assault of a 13-year old model by her photographer "sexual harrassment," since the unwanted sex, anal and otherwise, occured on the job? Either way, it's a crime.

The miscarraige in justice is that a rich and famous man is allowed to avoid...in luxury... a sentence he so clearly deserved. Lock him up!

CNN: Please provide a copy of this petition so that I can make sure to never spend another penny on any movie these actors and directors make.

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