Tuesday, September 29, 2009

Roman Polanski

My understanding of the situation is that Roman Polanski made several good movies, and also raped a 13-year-old. The proper way for society to respond seems to be: admire his movies, and put him in prison for raping a 13-year-old. I don't really have a lot more to say about it.


jshinola said...

Well said,

That there is such a vigorous debate about this is puzzling to me.

donkey kong said...

Yeah, sure, it's so simple, he just "raped a 13 years old". If you read a bit more of the case, you'd see it's more complicated than that. A note of interest: the said girl admitted having sex before, on 2 occasions. Whoever she had sex with before, according to US law, this was statutory rape too.

Anonymous said...

donkey kong,

That's quite correct. If she had sex before, the individual(s) involved would (under California law) have committed statutory rape. It is a note of interest, but not relevant to Polanski, who would be guilty whether or not this is true.

Anonymous said...

Actually, he had consensual sex with an underage girl, 30 years ago. The woman in question has since publicly forgiven Polanski, and demanded that the case against him be dropped. But, since you clearly aren't interested in facts that interfere with your glib pronouncements, I guess I'll just delete this.

Hope said...

Whether or not the girl had sex prior to Polanski does not make any difference in the wrongness of his actions. Rape is rape, no matter the sexual experience of the victim.

And while the victim may forgive him, which could be taken into account in sentencing, he should still be punished for raping a 13 year old child.

Lolo said...

Transcript of the girl's testimony, wherein yes, she admits to having had sex before the rape.

Read it, nowhere in there does she state that it was consensual.

You can spin it how you like, you can even claim she's lying, yet he pled guilty to a lesser charge and then bolted.

Freddie said...

Yes, I agree. But-- there are really are major due process problems in this case. The judge and the prosecutor really did conspire outside of official court proceedings about how to try Polanski, and that really is a big deal. Yes, it is a separate issue, but it is still a major issue. I don't understand why people act as though believing in Polanski's guilt and believing that there are very disturbing legal and ethical lapses are mutually exclusive. They aren't, at all.

Marcella Chester said...

Donkey Kong, I'm bothered by your dismissal of this crime based on the fact that the girl wasn't a virgin. If other sex offenders also committed crimes (statutory or not) against this same girl that doesn't minimize Polanski's guilt or nullify the harm he did to her. If she freely consented to have sex with a boy her same age that doesn't nullify Polanski's legal responsibility or his culpability.

Anonymous (9:03 am), if the sex was truly consensual as you claim the girl (now a woman) wouldn't need to forgive him for anything. Too often those who commit actual rapes against those under the age of consent are only convicted of statutory rapesince that is easier to prove.

Deborah Newell said...

Thank you, Neil.

As for some of the others commenting, a little law education: thirteen-year-olds cannot, by dint of their being, you know, THIRTEEN YEARS OLD, have consensual sex.

It was rape then, and it's still rape today. End of story.

If this girl had sex before, whoever had sex with her is also a rapist. Furthermore, it doesn't matter if other thirteen-year-olds have sex, or if "she looked older", or if "she wanted it anyway" or if she was "dressed provocatively" or if she was "nude and in the hot-tub anyway" or if she was "pushed onto him by her stage mother".

Enough blaming the victim.

And yeah, Tess is a beautiful and tragic movie, and many of Polanski's movies are works of art. Great artists, like great writers, great musicians, great entrepreneurs, and great _________'s, are not universally law-abiding human beings, in this or any other scope.

The only difference is that many of them can afford excellent lawyers, and/or are able to flee the country and live in luxury for long periods of time while they avoid being held accountable for their crimes.

Anonymous said...

Does anyone know what the statute of limitations is on this? Or if there isn't a limit after the person was already convicted? That is what I think is key here. If the law says that it's still applicable 30 year later, then no amount of opinion will make a difference. If the limit on this has been reached though, then it needs to be dropped despite public opinion as well.

Deborah Newell said...

Polanski was convicted of felony unlawful sex with a minor. He then fled while undergoing psychiatric evaluation prior to serving time. Statutes of limitation have nothing to do with it--those (which vary from state to state) pertain to crimes committed but for which a suspect has no yet been prosecuted. In this case, Polanski was a fugitive from justice with an outstanding warrant for his arrest hanging over him. In fact, a few years ago, am international warrant was issued. In all this time, he was not able to travel to countries where there was an extradition arrangement with the U.S. in place (i.e. Great Britain).

Anonymous said...

Actually, he had consensual sex with an underage girl, 30 years ago.

Just to repeat things, that's misinformed verging on disgusting. Polanski wasn't charged with forcible rape because he plea bargained (and then fled the country before sentencing), but the painful transcript at @9:21 doesn't describe anything resembling consensual sex:

He placed his penis in my vagina... I was mostly just on and off saying, "No, stop." But I wasn't fighting really because I, you know, there was no one else there and I had nowhere to go... He didn't answer me when I said, "No."

Glenn Fayard said...

On this note, is the disgusting hand-wringing from certain Europeans due to the wishes of the victim, or is Polanski getting the O.J. treatment? (Not optimistic, but asking anyway.)

Anonymous said...

Here's my question, that I haven't seen answered in the media: Is the plea bargain Polanski made still in effect?

As I understand it, Polanski pleaded guilty to one count of unlawful sex with a minor, and in exchange was to receive probation only. He fled the country when he heard that the judge was going to reject the plea bargain and put him on trial.

If the plea bargain is still in effect, he won't serve any prison time for the rape. (Although, I suppose, he might be tried for fleeing the country to avoid prosecution.)

If the plea bargain is not in effect, he will have to be tried for the rape, and it may be difficult to convict him if the victim will not cooperate with the prosecution.

Brock said...

That last anonymous comment was me.