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Roman Polanski risked extradition back to U.S. as early as 1980, biographer says

In the wake of Roman Polanski's arrest last month, many people have asked why the famed director risked extradition back to the United States by attending a film festival in Zurich.

Going into a country that had a extradition treaty with the U.S. was risky for Polanski, who has been wanted for three decades after he fled before being sentenced in L.A. court for sexually assaulting a 13-year-old girl.

But Polanski's biographer said the director has long been a risk taker -- both before and after the sex assault case. Christopher Sandford, writing in the Telegraph, noted that Polanski risked being arrested and sent back to the U.S. as early as 1980 -- just two years after he fled.

"In February 1980, Polanski managed to appear in Holland, a country with an extradition treaty with the U.S., in order to attend the premiere of his film 'Tess,'" Sandford wrote. He quoted Polanski as saying, "I'll be home again before there's any legal nonsense."

Sandford continues:

In recent years, Polanski has continued to visit several "off-limits" countries with impunity, and has even bought a home in Gstaad [Switzerland], where he counts the local prefect of police among his neighbours.

No wonder, perhaps, that one of Polanski's friends told me last week that "Roman had possibly come to believe over the last 30 years that he was less and less bound by any restrictions on his liberty." If so, it's an assumption that may yet be tested by events in the weeks ahead.

-- Shelby Grad

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Comments () | Archives (39)

This matter should just be dropped. He agreed to a plea agreement to a lesser charged and already fulfilled the terms. This is 30 years old for God's sake -- and the passage of time DOES make a difference.

We're releasing tens of thousands of hardened criminals from our prisons now because we're broke. There is no reason to lock up a 76 year-old movie director under these circumstances.

What is the obsession with this man? Can the Times shut up already and move on. Gadzooks, the victim has, why can't the rest of us?

As I see it, just take RP's name out of the equation, put in a random name, and then determine whether that guy should be extradited for the crime. I kinda think that he must.

hahhaahahahhaah- what an arrogant fool!

and such an idiot. He will probably spend more time in jail while fighting the extradition to the U.S. than his actual sentence for the sex crime. It could take 6 months or so. -- and all the details will be broadcast through the media again and again. -- hahha
When they drag him back here they have to follow the protocol of the original agreement and will probably just release him for the time he served in 1978.
What a hoot! And he sits in jail paying his lawyers! hhah what an idiot!

Thanks Debra W.

It does matter. He didn't fulfill the terms of his agreement; if he had he wouldn't be a fugitive at this time. Time heals all wounds but it doesn't give way to obligations. He violated a CHILD. There is NO excuse for this. I'm happy that the Swiss recognize the severity of the situation.

Dear D,
You are absolutely right. You can ripe as many children as you want but you need to hide it for 30 years in order to be innocent. Maybe it is not enough though. You need to be famous too. It does make difference a half of hypocritical Hollywood actors will defend having sex with 13 old child. I bet they and you would be happy if your/their yang daughter/son will be raped.

I bet the 13 year old would not agree that the passage of time makes a difference.

There is a real victim here and it is not Polanski

Rape is rape! Throw this animal in jail, he should not be allowed any special treatment.

He is disgusting he sodomized a 13 year old girl. if that was your daughter would you say just let its go just drop it ?? Wake up if this man was just a regular person on the street we would let him rot but to some people he is special to me he deserves to rot in hell!!! i hope your doughtier never gets raped.

Polanski pled guilty to raping a 13 year old girl. Let's call it what it was.

Why should Hollywood be above the law? I might be prejudiced as I have young daughters, but I am thrilled that Switzerland is taking a hard line. The man is a wanted criminal. Let him come back to the U.S. and face the consequences of his actions.

@ D
Really? Let's examine your points:
"He agreed to a plea agreement to a lesser charged and already fulfilled the terms." So what did he do?

"This is 30 years old for God's sake -- and the passage of time DOES make a difference. " So, I commit a crime then it's ok 30 years later. Ok, let me go murder or rape someone and disappear and see what happens.

Lastly, the argument about releasing prisoners is really not fully vetted. One, prisoners are already IN prison. Mr. Polanski ran away after raping a 13 year old girl and hasn't done his time.

That Mr. Polanski managed to evade justice is no reason for the matter to be dropped. He did not fulfill the terms of his sentence, on the contrary, he fled the country. Mr Polanski has thumbed his nose at the US legal system for decades. Celebrity or not, 32 year old case notwithstanding, he is nothing more than a common pedophile. We have laws in this country to protect our citizens. Justice must be served.

Now if the DA in Colorado would go after Kobe Byrant. Also the DAs should go after Ben R. and Ricky Pitano. Only difference is Roman was honest and did not do what Kobe, Ben R. and Ricky Pitano did, go after the young girl's character. I put Roman P.'s CHARACTER and INTEGRITY WAY above those of Kobe Byrant, Ben R., Ricky Pitano and the Duke 3. Too bad the DAs in these cases did not take the cases to trial. In those cases the VICTIMS all wanted the DAs to bring the cases to trial. And like Marion Jones and Michael Vick, do you think Kobe Byrant, Ben R., Ricky Pitano and the Duke 3 were telling the truth. A Congressional hearing and Grand Jury should be adjourned for Kobe, Ben R., Ricky P. and the Duke 3. If Roman is made to face the pipper, then so should Kobe, Ben R., Ricky P. and the Duke 3!! The Victims were victimized and the cases never went to trial. And we wonder why fewer and fewer women are reporting their rapes, even with DNA evidence, blood on teeshrits (like on Kobe's), ... With DAs unwilling to prosecute or who are disbarred for going after the rich and famous, like Nifong in the Duke 3, case, it is no wonder the DAs and rape victims are RUNNING SCARED and rape is increasing in the USA. Sad but true. Who is to blame? All of us, for not demanding justice for the victims of Kobe B., Ben R., Ricky P, and the Duke 3. Like Marion Jones and Michael Vick, Kobe, Ben, Ricky the Duke 3 should have their DAYS in court, and IF found guilty, also their TIME in the Brig, like Roman now is doing in Switzerland.

Enough about this guy already,

What are you talking about?

De did not fulfill any terms - he fled prior to sentencing:

a man who is innocent doesn't plead to this type of offense, and doesn't flee.

A man who had a relationship with a 15 year-old Nastasjja Kinski prior to this event is exhibiting patterned behavior.

His age and profession have nothing to do with the facts, or the law.

Everything else is just spin from people with myopic moral compasses

And California is not releasing thousands of hardened criminals: you're engaging in hyperbole to buttress your factually weak and illogical position.

end of story

The USA has lost the moral high ground on everything going from Iraq to afghanistan imigration and know this, you have the largest prison systems in the world your record as country is dismal you have the moust agresive military system in the world. You have abuse your power in the world no end.
You created the recession by allowing wall street to rum mock finacially.
You have the change to do good but you cannot see the light any way you just lost your way completly.

Would people stop saying the 13 year old girl forgives Polanski? She was paid by Polanski to buy her off. She was abused and raped and Polanski thinks he can just pay people off to gain forgiveness and not face his punishment.

"I bet the 13 year old would not agree that the passage of time makes a difference." - Yes, she does. She stated many times she thinks Polanski has paid enough and she doesn't want this. By the way a strange justice - against the will of the victim.

"if that was your daughter would you say just let its go just drop it ??" Her mother not only would have dropped it - she let her daughter get into Polanski's car in the first place. Oh, yes it was for an evening "photo session" in a private house . By the way, she KNEW her real age

Where was all of this anti-Polanski politically correct hue and cry in 1978 when Polanski’s plea agreement was reached, signed off by the victim’s mom, AND APPROVED BY the sentencing judge?

Do any of you calling for Polanski's head know what the original plea agreement was?

Polanski agreed to plead guilty to one count of “unlawful sexual intercourse” (what we used to call statutory rape), and agreed to be remanded to Chino State Prison for a “90 day evaluation” by prison officials—and let me tell you these evaluators have seen it all, have heard it all, and are cynical and tough. If the evaluation recommended prison, Polanski was off to prison—that was the deal that was struck, and that the judge approved.

But the evaluation recommended that Polanski serve no more time.

Only when the judge VIOLATED the agreement did Polanski flee.

The victim, through her guardian ad litem, sued Polanski and in 1983 was paid $500,000.

In 1997, the victim sent a statement to the Los Angeles County Superior Court stating that in her opinion, the 42 days that Polanski spent in prison BEFORE fleeing to France was already “excessive” and wanted the case to be dropped.

In 2009 the victim, who is now 45, filed an identical statement with the Los Angeles courts.

If Polanski’s court approved deal was that his fate would be governed by the 90 day evaluation (which said Polanski does not belong in the joint) and if the now 45 year old victim wants the case dropped, who are a group of politically pandering bloggers or prosecutors to say otherwise?

Wow! Not only did he run from the law but he flaunts it as well. Well, crime never pays! He finally got caught and now he can pay the piper.

The passage of time? How naive and ignorant can people be? I missed whether a law was enacted that mitigates or excuses a criminal act with passage of time. This man is a Child Rapist, sex offender, pervert and committed a dangerous/violent felony. Don't use the standard of his plea implying consensual sex - with a 13 year old girl.

This man must pay for his crime like anyone else. His crime was significant. He's insulted our judicial system and society. The least we can do is hold him accountable for his actions, even 30 years ago. Anything less is a travesty.

To Stephen G:
The judge violated nothing. It is a judge's discretion to accept a plea bargain b/t the prosecution and defense. Sometimes they do, sometimes they don't, but they NEVER rule on it BEFORE the formal sentencing. We will never know how he was planning to rule because Polansky bailed and ran when he caught a "rumour" that he was going to serve some time. Justice was not served. End of story.

Polanski's crime didn't just affect his victim. We, the taxpayers, pay for the court/legal system. If after all that time and expense, the guy was supposed to go to prison, that's what should have happened.

Letting him off, teaches all crooks, well the ones with money anyway, that all they have to do is flee the country and they can go on with their lives.

If a poor person couldn't have fled the U.S., why should a rich person get away with his choices?

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