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September 29, 2009

Salon: A Little Reminder: Roman Polanski Drugged, Raped, and Sodomized a 13-Year-Old Girl, In Case That's Still a Crime

Good piece:

Roman Polanski raped a child. Let's just start right there, because that's the detail that tends to get neglected when we start discussing whether it was fair for the bail-jumping director to be arrested at age 76, after 32 years in "exile" (which in this case means owning multiple homes in Europe, continuing to work as a director, marrying and fathering two children, even winning an Oscar, but never -- poor baby -- being able to return to the U.S.). Let's keep in mind that Roman Polanski gave a 13-year-old girl a Quaalude and champagne, then raped her, before we start discussing whether the victim looked older than her 13 years, or that she now says she'd rather not see him prosecuted because she can't stand the media attention. Before we discuss how awesome his movies are or what the now-deceased judge did wrong at his trial, let's take a moment to recall that according to the victim's grand jury testimony, Roman Polanski instructed her to get into a jacuzzi naked, refused to take her home when she begged to go, began kissing her even though she said no and asked him to stop; performed cunnilingus on her as she said no and asked him to stop; put his penis in her vagina as she said no and asked him to stop; asked if he could penetrate her anally, to which she replied, "No," then went ahead and did it anyway, until he had an orgasm.


Can we do that? Can we take a moment to think about all that, and about the fact that Polanski pled guilty to unlawful sex with a minor, before we start talking about what a victim he is? Because that would be great, and not nearly enough people seem to be doing it.

Also worth reading at Salon is this older review of the "documentary" Roman Polanski: Wanted and Desired, a documentary only in the Michael Moore sense of it, a cheerfully mendacious bit of agitprop.

Because on one side you have bastards who think we should have a more continental view of the forcible (or "merely" statutory) rape and sodomization of a 13-year-old child, and on the other side, people aren't telling you what was hinky about the judge's actions, I'll tell you about the judge.

The judge, because he was worried about how Hollywood would react to a star director going to jail on one side and public reaction to him setting Polanski free on the other, actually attempted to script the sentencing phase of the prosecution of Polanski. He fed the prosecution lines, told them they should ask for X number of years in jail. He fed the defense lines, told them they should say "No jail time" and etc. And then, per his script, he would come up with a Solomon-like decision that would, he hoped, if the prosecution and defense said their lines properly, make it look like he had come to the only reasonable decision and so he shouldn't be criticized by anyone.

The prosecutor, I think, ultimately bailed on this stage-managing of a sentencing and dropped dime on the judge, although initially he was willing to play along. Hey, it's a judge-- you do what he wants. Most of the time.

The defense was willing to play along because what the judge wanted was, ultimately, to give Polanski a slap on the wrist, which is of course what they wanted.

The prosecutor didn't seem to mind the slap on the wrist either -- it's LA, after all, and celebrities (especially at that time) just didn't go to jail.

Polanski fled when he got the impression that maybe the judge was having second thoughts about the slap-on-the-wrist thing. See, the judge had let Polanski to off to Europe to direct a movie even during the sentencing phase (this is LA, remember: Art before justice), and a photograph was published showing Polanski having a gay old time at an Octoberfest when he was 1) supposed to be working and 2) supposedly about to face a judge for the forcible rape and sodomization of a 13-year-old girl. That made the judge look bad -- it was his goal to come out of this seeming like he hadn't given Polanski any special favors, etc. -- and he did probably start to think about giving Polanski more time than the script called for.

At any rate, while that was egregiously unethical behavior by the judge -- scripting a sentencing hearing with both counsels reciting the lines he'd given them, playing out an already-agreed-upon sentence like a stage play to trick the public into thinking thy were witnessing a live court case -- he was taken off the case when the prosecutor dropped dime on these antics, and, in any event, the judge never got to rule on the sentence at all as Polanski fled.

Further, the judge seemed to be working for Polanski's interests the whole time -- he wanted a slap on the wrist, something like 90 days not even in a jail per se but some kind of halfway-house sort of deal. He just wanted to arrange it so it didn't look like he was going easy on Polanski.

(Oh: And it's bizarre he fed them these lines, as it's pretty much what they'd ask for without the script. The judge's behavior was just plain weird, but it seems to have had no effect at all on anything.)

One can make a reasonable case that Polanski had reason to flee given this weirdness with the judge, but, again, the judge was then removed from the case and he had every opportunity to negotiate his return to the American criminal justice system.

At the end of the day: He forcibly (or at least statutorily) raped and sodomized a 13-year-old girl and we're supposed to get all weepy about his plight because in the interim he's delivered such major cultural contributions as Frantic and Pirates!

Oh, Here's My Proposal: Because the judge tried to stage-manage the trial and so it wasn't really "justice" at that point but a scripted faux reality show, we give Polanski a pass on any additional charges he might get for being a fugitive from justice.

So, we toss that stuff. Done. The judge acted badly, so we don't prosecute for actions that one can reasonably say were connected to the judge's bad behavior.

Now, we simply proceed to sentencing him for drugging, raping, and sodomizing a 13-year-old child, as should have been done 32 years ago, rather than letting him vamp off to Europe to direct a movie.



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posted by Ace at 01:58 PM

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