Famed film director and rapist who has fled the law for 30 years, Roman Polanski, was recently arrested in Switzerland. The U.S. wants him extradited to face charges he evaded 30 years ago.
All over the news and blogosphere I keep reading people’s defenses of this man. I’ve read condemnations of the Swiss. I’ve heard justifications of his rape of a 13-year-old because of his own problems. I’ve read accusations that this is a politically motivated act. I’ve heard people say he “made a mistake” and that “too much time has passed” to prosecute him for his crime. I’ve read people say that it was wrong to arrest him as he was on his way to receive an award. I even read that the rape victim was only one year away from the age of consent in California at the time—why the hell that is supposed to be relevant I don’t know. There is even a petition in support of Polanski signed by various “famous” people.
These statements are all unconscionable.
When Roman Polanski was 44 years old, he raped a 13-year-old girl. He did not “have sex with” a 13-year-old girl, he raped her. He gave her alcohol and drugged her with quaaludes, then performed oral sex on her, then raped her vaginally and anally. According to the victim’s testimony, she repeatedly said “no” and asked him to stop.
Polanski was charged with rape by use of drugs, perversion, sodomy, a lewd and lascivious act upon a child under 14, and furnishing a controlled substance to a minor. After his lawyers plea bargained on his behalf, all of these charges were reduced to simply “engaging in unlawful sexual intercourse with a minor,” which he pleaded guilty to.
After a court-ordered psychiatric evaluation, Polanski fled the United States to England, and then immediately to France. Polanski holds French citizenship and France can refuse to extradite its own citizens to the U.S., which it did in the case of Polanski when the U.S. requested extradition.
The fact that anyone would be excusing or justifying Polanski’s abhorrent act, or lobbying on his behalf is utterly disgusting. It is irrelevant that 30 years has passed, unless there are statute of limitations laws in effect. It is irrelevant that he had a tough life. It is irrelevant that the victim was only one year away from legal consensual age—had she been 33 rather than 13, rape is still rape. It is especially irrelevant that he is a famous filmmaker. It is irrelevant whether or not the girl’s mother was complicit in the crime. (If this is true then the mother deserves legal repercussions as well, for child sex trafficking, endangerment, and whatever the hell else they could get her on.)
These people who are speaking out on Polanski’s behalf, I wonder how they would feel if their 13-year-old daughter was plied with alcohol and drugs, then vaginally and anally raped by a 44-year-old man. I wonder how they’d feel if this man fled the country and effectively evaded legal repercussions for 30 years. If caught, would they say, “Oh, well, it’s been 30 years. He shouldn’t have to pay for his crime”?
There are many stories of people being accused of murders they committed 20 or 30 years ago; they are only now found out thanks to modern forensic technology. Are they still tried and punished for their crimes? You fucking better believe it! How is this any different?
What message does it send to rapists and murderers if they can just flee the country for years and never have to face their crimes, even if caught?
I write about a lot of things on this blog that piss me off. I often rant about things that infuriate me. But it’s safe to say that this is probably among the top five things that have thoroughly disgusted and infuriated me so far. It’s not just Polanski’s crime, or the fact that he’s trying to fight extradition, or the fact that he thinks he’s above the law. Most infuriating to me is the fact that people are justifying his crimes and saying that he should not be held accountable for them.
For every child who has ever been raped or molested, for every parent of these children, for any person who has ever had to endure a brutal crime as either the victim or the loved one of the victim, Polanski needs to be brought to justice.