Swiss to extradite Polanski?

posted at 10:07 am on September 27, 2009 by Ed Morrissey

More than 30 years after his arrest and trial for statutory rape and sodomy of a 13-year-old girl, director Roman Polanski may have to face the music for his crime and his flight.  Switzerland arrested Polanski on his way to receive an award from the Zurich Film Festival, surprising him and his French collaborators, who have kept Polanski from getting extradited to the US for decades.  They plan to send Polanski back to Los Angeles as soon as the US completes its extradition request (via HA commenter Mr. Joe):

Director Roman Polanski was arrested by Swiss police for possible extradition to the United States for having sex in 1977 with a 13-year-old girl, authorities said Sunday.

Polanski was flying in to receive an honorary award at the Zurich Film Festival when he was apprehended Saturday at the airport, the Swiss Justice Ministry said in a statement. It said U.S. authorities have sought the arrest of the 76-year-old around the world since 2005.

“There was a valid arrest request and we knew when he was coming,” ministry spokesman Guido Balmer told The Associated Press. “That’s why he was taken into custody.” …

The Swiss statement said Polanski was officially in “provisional detention for extradition,” but added that he would not be transferred to U.S. authorities until all proceedings are completed. Polanski can contest his detention and any extradition decision in the Swiss courts, it said.

It’s not clear from the AP report whether the Swiss acted on an old outstanding arrest warrant, or whether the US had renewed efforts to arrest Polanski.  If it’s the former, then Barack Obama has a dilemma on his hands.  He gets a lot of support from the Hollywood community, who regularly lionize Polanski as a misunderstood genius.  They have long demanded that the US drop its charges against Polanski and allow him to return freely into the bosom of Hollywood.  Will he demand extradition or have to publicly admit he’s not interested in pursuing Polanski?

If the US renewed the warrant, it seems that Obama has already made the decision — and it would be the right decision, regardless of what the American film industry says.  As Bill Wyman wrote last February in Salon,  Hollywood has tried to sell the statutory rape as some sort of misunderstood love story.  They tried again last year in the documentary Roman Polanski: Wanted and Desired. The reality is that Polanski drugged, raped, and sodomized a 13-year-old girl:

Bad art is supposed to be harmless, but the 2008 film “Roman Polanski: Wanted and Desired,” about the notorious child-sex case against the fugitive director, has become an absolute menace. For months, lawyers for the filmmaker have been maneuvering to get the Los Angeles courts to dismiss Polanski’s 1978 conviction, based on supposed judicial misconduct uncovered in the documentary. On Tuesday, Los Angeles Superior Court Judge Peter Espinoza ruled that if Polanski, who fled on the eve of his sentencing, in March 1978, wanted to challenge his conviction, he could — by coming back and turning himself in. …

Polanski deserves to have any potential legal folderol investigated, of course. But the fact that Espinoza had to state the obvious is testimony to the ways in which the documentary, and much of the media coverage the director has received in recent months, are bizarrely skewed. The film, which has inexplicably gotten all sorts of praise, whitewashes what Polanski did in blatant and subtle fashion — and recent coverage of the case, in the Los Angeles Times, the New York Times and elsewhere, has in turn accepted the film’s contentions at face value.

For now, the Los Angeles judge has injected a dose of reality into the debate. But “Wanted and Desired” seems to have inserted into the public consciousness the idea that Polanski, an irrepressible European, had been naughty during a colorful time, and that he has been toyed with by a monstrous legal system. Creepy and disturbing, the film does show us a few of the director’s moral warts. But it leaves the strong impression that Polanski was a wronged man, jerked around by a cartoony, publicity-hungry judge to the point where fleeing was his only viable option. …

Now, that’s one way to portray those two men — and one that Polanski’s current lawyers would prefer. But there’s another way, too: You could show one as a child-sex predator who drugged a 13-year-old girl with quaaludes and champagne; lured her to pose for naked photographs; ignoring her protests, had sex with her; and then anally raped her. …

It’s a drag to include a scene of anal rape of a 13-year-old in your moody documentary about such a Byronic figure, but it’s also fairly relevant.

The victim would now prefer to see the charges dropped, but that doesn’t account for 32 years of fleeing justice.  Polanski still needs to be held accountable for his crimes, at the very least by getting hauled back to an American court to face the process of justice.  He’s no hero; he’s a rapist, and it’s about time that someone make it clear that being a fabulous Hollywood director does not give one a license to commit violent crimes.


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So the good news is that victims are not as stigmatized as they used to be and organizations that became involved in such scandals have been – and are being – held to accountability & scrutiny.

whatcat on September 28, 2009 at 12:36 PM

Stay classy.Interesting that you did not bring any NUMBERS til now.

Re:

. Your first claim was that it was “very common”, now it’s “so many problems”. (I expect it’ll be downgraded next to what? – “the odd occurrence”

Actually very common and so many problems can be consistent unless someone just wants to nitpick.

I suspect when you went digging for numbers around 12 noon today you were too lazy to look up information on schools and sex abuse.

Quote:

Now, on the heels of the Catholic abuse scandal comes another of historic proportions—one that has the potential to be much greater and far-reaching. According to a draft report commissioned by the U.S. Department of Education, in compliance with the 2002 “No Child Left Behind” act signed into law by President Bush, between 6 percent and 10 percent of public school children across the country have been sexually abused or harassed by school employees and teachers.

To support her contention, Shakeshaft compared the priest abuse data with data collected in a national survey for the American Association of University Women Educational Foundation in 2000. Extrapolating data from the latter, she estimated roughly 290,000 students experienced some sort of physical sexual abuse by a school employee from a single decade—1991-2000. That compares with about five decades of cases of abusive priests.

Such figures led her to contend “the physical sexual abuse of students in schools is likely more than 100 times the abuse by priests.”

Also a worthy read:

http://www.cbsnews.com/stories/2006/08/24/opinion/main1933687.shtml

CWforFreedom on September 28, 2009 at 6:55 PM

Whatcat-

From the CBS link:

As the National Catholic Register’s reporter Wayne Laugesen points out, the federal report said 422,000 California public-school students would be victims before graduation — a number that dwarfs the state’s entire Catholic-school enrollment of 143,000.

CWforFreedom on September 28, 2009 at 6:57 PM

Mark30339 on September 28, 2009 at 6:10 PM

And oj should also be freed?

Johan Klaus on September 28, 2009 at 7:01 PM

CWforFreedom on September 28, 2009 at 6:55 PM

Better look at how those questions were asked…most studies, the questions are asked to confirm their results that they need.

right2bright on September 28, 2009 at 7:10 PM

Better look at how those questions were asked…most studies, the questions are asked to confirm their results that they need.

right2bright on September 28, 2009 at 7:10 PM

You first

You are playing games

You have to be insane not to think that schools do not have a major problem. just silliness

CWforFreedom on September 28, 2009 at 7:14 PM

Better look at how those questions were asked…most studies, the questions are asked to confirm their results that they need.

right2bright on September 28, 2009 at 7:10 PM

You must not believe in any polls I would guess

CWforFreedom on September 28, 2009 at 7:15 PM

The “cast the first stone” conservatives want to push the case even though the victim wants it dropped. Let’s give this investigation priority so a prosecutor can get a high profile scalp. Other cases involving local criminals can wait. God knows our streets will be so much safer without Roman Polanski on them. My guess is that extradition to the US will be contested for years, in the meantime, France will indict Polanski for unpaid parking tickets and will successfully extradite him back to France to face justice in traffic court.

Mark30339 on September 28, 2009 at 6:10 PM

California has a pretty urgent and immediate need for foriegn powers–such as Mexico–to know that refusing to extradite their citizens won’t quash a criminal case in our courts.

Chris_Balsz on September 28, 2009 at 8:06 PM

When he gets back it’s highly likely that he will be allowed to vacate his plea due to judicial misconduct.

He entered his plea knowingly and voluntarily. Though claimed otherwise, I do not see where the judge promised him a specific sentence. And any alleged misconduct is unrelated to his plea. So, I don’t see why he should be allowed to vacate his plea.

At which point I think it probable that the State of California simply drops the case. The only evidence not dependent on victim testimony is the DNA evidence and that gets you statutory rape at best.I doubt the victim will testify and the defense can get her original statement thrown out since they are not being offered they chance to face the accuser.

Of course she will testify. She has family here and she is not going to go on the lam in another country to avoid a subpoena. Nor is she going to risk contempt charges by refusing to testify when she is subpoenaed.

Polanski may even still cop a plea in return for a 6 month sentence in club fed.

Rocks on September 28, 2009 at 2:36 PM

Six month sentence? These are felony charges. He certainly deserves a prison sentence and there are no 6 month sentences. If he does withdraw his plea, he goes to trial on all the charges and with the victims sworn deposition and his numerous admissions over the past 32 years, they are both locked into their stories. He’s screwed.

Blake on September 28, 2009 at 8:17 PM

The “cast the first stone” conservatives want to push the case even though the victim wants it dropped.

It’s you lefties who always yap about one justice system for the rich and a different one for the poor, while demanding the rich be treated differently. Not the message conservatives intend to send.

Let’s give this investigation priority so a prosecutor can get a high profile scalp. Other cases involving local criminals can wait. God knows our streets will be so much safer without Roman Polanski on them.

Yawn. High profile? Most people don’t even remember this guy. And in LA, being famous is no big deal. Interesting how you minimize child rape. Whatever.

My guess is that extradition to the US will be contested for years, in the meantime, France will indict Polanski for unpaid parking tickets and will successfully extradite him back to France to face justice in traffic court.

Mark30339 on September 28, 2009 at 6:10 PM

Contested yes, for years, no.

Blake on September 28, 2009 at 8:24 PM

Does anyone find it strangely ironic or hypocritical that the Polish government is seeking the release of Roman Polanski while proposing chemical castration for pedophiles with victims under 15 years old?

So, only Polish victims are worthy of seeing their rapist castrated? Rapists who commit the crime from three decades ago deserve to go unpunished? Or, is it that a common rapist is less menacing than an Oscar-award winning film director?

Is Poland really promoting blind justice or currying favor with a native son?

Polish chemical castration story:
/idUSTRE58O4LE20090925

norcalgal on September 28, 2009 at 8:30 PM

Pedophile freak needs to fry for this.

Viper1 on September 28, 2009 at 8:32 PM

Sorry- here’s the correct link:
http://www.reuters.com/article/newsOne/idUSTRE58O4LE20090925

norcalgal on September 28, 2009 at 8:32 PM

He is a sick fukk and you freaks who defend this rapist are truly ill.

http://www.thesmokinggun.com/archive/polanskicover1.html

CWforFreedom on September 28, 2009 at 8:35 PM

I don’t know if someone else already brought this up, but I looked up the victim and she did an interview in 2005.

She does not sound all that forgiving.
There is also a picture of her at 13, she looks like a 13 year-old.

EXCLUSIVE: POLANSKI RAPED ME WHEN I WAS 13 .. HE IS A CREEP
·
·
From Ryan Parry, US Correspondent On Kauai Island, Hawaii 25/07/2005

http://www.mirror.co.uk/celebs/news/2005/07/25/exclusive-polanski-raped-me-when-i-was-13-he-is-a-creep-115875-15775812/

EXCLUSIVE: WE FIND GIRL DIRECTOR DRUGGED AND ABUSED
DRUGS, champagne, a hot tub and an evening of depraved sex. Nothing out of the ordinary for Hollywood’s enfant terrible Roman Polanski.

Except that on this particular evening, the movie director’s victim was just 13 years old.
“All I could think was let’s get through this and I can get home. I just froze up.” Polanski had intercourse with Samantha, performed oral sex and sodomised her. He then drove her home saying: “Don’t tell your mum or your boyfriend, this is our little secret.”

As to the spokeshole on BOR show saying this was only a 45 day sentence at the time?
Bad spin.

He had spent 45 days in jail before he fled.

Polanski, who won an Oscar for The Pianist in 2003, was arrested and spent 45 days behind bars.

His six charges including unlawful sex with a minor and forcible rape and in a bizarre twist the trial was set for August 9, the eighth anniversary of Sharon Tate’s death. In fact, it was never held.

The judge?

A friend of Polanski’s overheard the judge vow to put him away for “100 years” and the director fled the US never to return.

Intentional poor reading comprehension skills?

DSchoen on September 28, 2009 at 8:59 PM

I can’ believe this thread is still going…
Maybe it’s a preview of what the “0′s” trial will be like…

jerrytbg on September 28, 2009 at 10:42 PM

The “cast the first stone” conservatives want to push the case even though the victim wants it dropped.

Ok, let me see if I understand the rules here Mark.

If I rape a child, I need to traumatize that child so much that he/she will never want to talk about it.

If I succeed in traumatizing the child that much; I will no longer have committed a crime by this “logic” and instead will have simply engaged in perfectly legal … sodomy of a child.

Is that the rule now? I can rape a child, but only if I’m so horrific and brutal about it that the child would rather “make it go away” than ever talk about it?

That seems an odd encouragement to be as vicious and horrible as possible if engaging in child molestation to avoid punishment… was that the intent?

That seems an odd goal to have.

Or, as a correllary. What if I persuade the child’s parents to “sell” the child to me for sexual purposes, and the child knows that if he/she testifies; that their parents may lose the money they need… can I buy a child if the parents are ok with it?

I mean, by your standards, the victim is “ok with it”, and so are the victims parents… so it must not be criminal. I’m just buying a child for sex, that can’t be wrong if everyone is ok with it… right?

Or do I have to make a movie before I’m allowed to do this?

gekkobear on September 28, 2009 at 11:07 PM

Blake on September 28, 2009 at 8:17 PM

I hope your right Blake. I just don’t have a lot of confidence in the California Justice system.

Rocks on September 28, 2009 at 11:08 PM

Good argument for the death penalty for child rape.

Kasper Hauser on September 27, 2009 at 10:51 AM

Now you’re talkin’!!! +1

galvestonian on September 29, 2009 at 1:50 AM

Here’s where we find out whether the Swiss condone adults having sex with children.

unclesmrgol on September 29, 2009 at 2:00 AM

The “cast the first stone” conservatives want to push the case even though the victim wants it dropped.

Mark30339 on September 28, 2009 at 6:10 PM

Kinda basic Mark, Polanski was charged and convicted by the STATE not the VICTIM.

DSchoen on September 29, 2009 at 2:07 AM

Kinda basic Mark, Polanski was charged and convicted by the STATE not the VICTIM.

DSchoen on September 29, 2009 at 2:07 AM

As evidenced by the court documents.

http://hosted.ap.org/specials/interactives/_documents/0106polanski_motion.pdf

galvestonian on September 29, 2009 at 2:16 AM

I thought Liberals were against rape. Now they are for it?

WTF?

Were they for rape before they were against it or were they against it before they were for it?

John Kerry writ large.

Send Polansky to jail. Short Eyes don’t do so well in Prison.

Holger on September 29, 2009 at 2:21 AM

When he gets back it’s highly likely that he will be allowed to vacate his plea due to judicial misconduct.

Based on a film named Roman Polanski: Wanted and Desired!

Golly ya think a “MOVIE” Glorifying” Roman Polansk, is going to present an honest story?

Like Oliver Stones JFK?

The Claim based on the MOVIE Roman Polanski: Wanted and Desired!


Judge Rittenband (now deceased) violated the plea bargain by keeping in communication about the case with a deputy district attorney who was not involved”

It really has nothing to do with the rape its self.

Nothing this judge said to anyone changes the fact that Roman Polansk raped a 13 year-old girl.

DSchoen on September 29, 2009 at 2:43 AM

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