No deal for Polanski


POSTED: Saturday, October 03, 2009

Kauai's Samantha Geimer can forgive Oscar-winning director Roman Polanski all she wants for raping her when she was 13 years old, but fugitives from justice deserve no mercy. Polanski should be imprisoned appropriately for the guilty plea he entered 31 years ago and for fleeing before he could be put behind bars.

Geimer's account of Polanski's sexual assault on her has not changed through the years. In 2003, she told the Star-Bulletin that Polanski plied her with champagne and Quaaludes during a photo session, then forced himself on her.

“;I said no several times,”; she recounted, “;and then, well, gave up on that.”; She added, “;He made a terrible mistake, but he's paid for it.”;

However, this is not a civil case to be settled out of court with or without apologies. Polanski was charged with six criminal counts, including rape and sodomy, but instead pleaded guilty to having unlawful sex with a minor; the other counts were dropped as part of the plea bargain.

Polanski spent 42 days in state prison under psychiatric evaluation. He fled on the eve of his sentencing after becoming concerned that the judge was having second thoughts about letting him off without further prison time.

Polanski, now 76, was arrested by Swiss authorities in a move with U.S. authorities last week for possible extradition to the United States. He has been living in France since he fled from American justice. Polanski has experienced difficulties as the son of a Polish couple who were sent to Nazi concentration camps in World War II. His wife, Sharon Tate, was among the murder victims of the Charles Manson “;family.”;

His friends say he has endured enough and poses no threat to society. One friend had the audacity to suggest that the case against Polanski be brought to an end because, “;Ms. Geimer wants it dropped, to shield her family from distress.”;

The more unvarnished plea is that Polanski remain free because he is a wealthy celebrity. Bernard Kouchner, the French foreign minister, has called the arrest “;a bit sinister”; and has said he and Radoslaw Sikorski, the Polish foreign minister, were jointly writing a letter to Secretary of State Hillary Rodham Clinton expressing concern about the case.

Kouchner and Sikorski—and perhaps Polanski—may lack an understanding of rule of law in America, where all men and women are to be treated equally by law. If celebrities were knowingly to be given special treatment, the law would be thrown to the winds.