Roman Polanski Speaks Out, But Victims Group Turns a Deaf Ear
He gave a 13-year-old girl champagne and drugs and had sex with her against her will.
But film director and convicted child molester Roman Polanski tells the press his victim (now 43) wants to forget about it. So everyone else should, too.
Polanski misses the point, Katherine Hull, a spokeswoman for the Rape, Abuse and Incest National Network (RAINN) tells ParentDish. And that's another reason he belongs behind bars, she adds.
"Rape is a crime," she says. "In fact, law enforcement considers it the second most violent crime next to murder. That means it's the most violent crime a victim can live to remember."
Polanski, 76, pleaded guilty in 1977 to having unlawful sex with a minor and spent 42 days in a California state prison during a psychiatric evaluation. He fled the country before final sentencing.
Authorities have been trying to extradite him from Europe to serve his sentence for 33 years.
Polanski broke months of silence earlier this week by releasing a statement to Le Regle du Jeu, an online magazine run by French philosopher Bernard Henri Levy.
"I can remain silent no longer because the California court has dismissed the victim's numerous requests that proceedings against me be dropped, once and for all, to spare her from further harassment every time this affair is raised once more," Polanski writes in his statement.
Attempts to extradite him, he adds, are part of a cynical publicity stunt designed to "serve me on a platter to the media of the world."
Hull doesn't buy it. "Roman Polanski is no better than any common criminal," she tells ParentDish.
Polanski has spent decades avoiding countries likely to cooperate with U.S. authorities and extradite him back to the states. However, he was arrested by Swiss police last September when he traveled to receive a lifetime achievement award at the Zurich Film Festival.
He has been confined to his chalet in the Swiss ski resort of Gstaad since being released from custody Dec. 4, 2009.
Swiss officials said in February a decision on whether to extradite Polanski could not be made until he exhausted his U.S. appeals.
Polanski says he released Sunday's statement "in the hope that Switzerland will recognize there are no grounds for extradition."
Polanski writes in his statement that Los Angeles County District Attorney Steve Cooley revived attempts to sentence him last year just to get votes.
"This is not the way we should look at this," Hull says. "He raped someone. He very much needs to serve his time."
Hull says Polanski can say what he wants. All that matters is that he skipped the country before being sentenced and, like any fugitive, should be apprehended and brought to justice, she says.
"Otherwise," she says, "it's a mockery of our criminal justice system."
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Start by teaching him that it is safe to do so.