The Los Angeles Times takes the stand that sexual predator Roman Polanski has been punished enough for drugging and having sex with a 13-year-old girl.
Although he fled the country rather than be held accountable for his crimes, the LA Times takes the position that it's water under the bridge.
With the state Legislature forced to make dramatic cuts in the prison budget and a three-judge federal panel having recently ordered California lawmakers to release as many as 40,000 inmates in response to the scandalous overcrowding of the California state prison system, it seems like an especially inauspicious time for the L.A. County district attorney's office to be spending some of our few remaining tax dollars seeing if it can finally, after all these years, put Roman Polanski behind bars.
...Polanski has been living in France for the past three decades, directing films and raising a family with actress Emanuelle Seigner. He has been a fugitive from justice in the U.S. since 1978, when he fled the country rather than stand charges of having unlawful sexual intercourse with a 13-year-old girl. The case has been a cause celebre for years, with charges and counter-charges rocketing back and forth, many involving the controversial efforts of the original presiding judge to put Polanski safely away behind bars. It added another dramatic chapter to a life of tragedy for the filmmaker, who fled the Krakow ghetto during the Nazi occupation not long after his mother was sent to the gas chambers. In 1969, his wife, Sharon Tate, then pregnant with Polanski's child, was murdered by the Charles Manson family at a hillside home in Los Angeles.
Meanwhile, Polanski's victim, Samantha Geimer, long ago announced that she had forgiven the filmmaker for his transgressions and supported various efforts to have the case against him dismissed. I don't think that you'd find many people who would approve of Polanski's behavior, which was disgusting -- he drugged his victim with champagne and Quaaludes before raping her during a 1977 photo session at Jack Nicholson's house.
But at a time when California is shredding the safety net that protects the poor and the unemployed, not to mention the budget of the public school system, you'd hope that L.A. County prosecutors had better things to do than cause an international furor by hounding a film director for a 32-year-old sex crime, especially one that Polanski's victim wants to put behind her.
...In the coming weeks, the Polanski affair will no doubt become a tabloid sensation, with op-ed moralists, excitable bloggers and the Glenn Becks of the world noisily weighing in on the propriety of his possible prosecution. Some will say Polanski is a predator whose punishment is long overdue. Others will argue that it's the height of folly to be stalking a 76-year-old man who has admitted his guilt and was long ago forgiven by his victim.
We live in an age that is so thoroughly post-modern that you can find an obvious literary antecedent for nearly every seamy media storyline. The same goes for the Polanski case, which is full of echoes of "Les Miserables," the classic Victor Hugo novel about Jean Valjean, an ex-con trying to turn his life around who is being obsessively tracked and hunted down by the Parisian police inspector Javert.
Hugo's story is a tragedy, as is the life story of Polanski, who was a fugitive as a boy and is now a fugitive as an old man. Whether the L.A. County district attorney office has its way or not, it is not a story that can have a happy ending. I think Polanski has already paid a horrible, soul-wrenching price for the infamy surrounding his actions. The real tragedy is that he will always, till his death, be snubbed and stalked and confronted by people who think the price he has already paid isn't enough.
Polanski is not a victim. He's a criminal.
But apparently, those at the LA Times believe that Polanski has suffered enough. You know, it's not easy being a fugitive, even though this fugitive still managed to make movies and win an Oscar while evading the law.
I think it's weird that it took so incredibly long to arrest Polanski, but that doesn't change the fact his crimes are worthy of arrest.
Of course, his victim says she wants to drop the case. She already sued him and reached a settlement. I'm sure that was part of the deal.
What Samantha Geimer, Polanski's victim, says is irrelevant.
She's satisfied with her settlement. Fine. But what about the law and upholding societal values?
Having sex with a 13-year-old is not OK. Fleeing the country rather than stand charges is not OK.
I don't recall. Did the LA Times come out in favor of dismissing the crimes of priests accused of having sex with minors?
Are there different standards for Hollywood directors?
Sex with a 13-year-old is sex with a 13-year-old, unless you're Roman Polanski.