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September 27, 2009

Applebaum: Arresting a Guy for Child Rape is Outrageous
Update: Conflict of Interest?

Anne, this word "outrageous." I do not think it means what you think it means.

Of all nations, why was it Switzerland -- the country that traditionally guarded the secret bank accounts of international criminals and corrupt dictators -- that finally decided to arrest Roman Polanski? There must be some deeper story here, because by any reckoning the decision was bizarre -- though not nearly as bizarre as the fact that a U.S. judge wants to keep pursuing this case after so many decades.

Here are some of the facts: Polanski's crime -- statutory rape of a 13-year-old girl -- was committed in 1977. The girl, now 45, has said more than once that she forgives him, that she can live with the memory, that she does not want him to be put back in court or in jail, and that a new trial will hurt her husband and children. There is evidence of judicial misconduct in the original trial. There is evidence that Polanski did not know her real age. Polanski, who panicked and fled the U.S. during that trial, has been pursued by this case for 30 years, during which time he has never returned to America, has never returned to the United Kingdom., has avoided many other countries, and has never been convicted of anything else. He did commit a crime, but he has paid for the crime in many, many ways: In notoriety, in lawyers' fees, in professional stigma. He could not return to Los Angeles to receive his recent Oscar. He cannot visit Hollywood to direct or cast a film.

If you have the stomach for it, read Samantha Geimer's testimony to see the behavior Applebaum considers 'outrageous' to prosecute. As if getting the facts of the case wrong weren't enough, Applebaum seems to believe the suffering Polanski has endured in his life somehow mitigates his crime. However, as Bill Wyman said in Salon, there are "many people who survived the Holocaust who don't drug and rape children."

Applebaum concludes her post by asking how arresting Polanski serves "society in general" and opines that if he weren't famous, "no one would bother with him at all." Unintentionally, Applebaum answers the first question with her last sentence. Polanski's arrest serves society by showing that no matter how famous the perpetrator, those who rape children will be held to account for their actions.

Update - Oh, my...

In an earlier post I noted substantial inaccuracies and omissions in a post by Washington Post pundit Anne Applebaum in support of Roman Polanski. (For example, she said Polanski fled during his trial; in fact, he pled guilty and fled before his sentencing.) But I think this is worth its own post: Applebaum failed to mention that her husband is a Polish foreign minister who is lobbying for Polanski’s case to be dismissed:
Read Patterico's whole post to absorb just how...'complex' her motivations for writing that post are.

Many of you wondered what would motivate someone to defend Polanski. There's your answer.






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