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Posted at 11:42 AM ET, 09/28/2009

Your Take: Parsing Polanski and Phillips

By Liz Kelly

With Sunday's arrest of Roman Polanski in Switzerland on a three-decades-old conviction for having sex with a minor, the world is yet again buzzing -- and debating -- appropriate sexual relationships. This only a week after Mackenzie Phillips detailed her alleged 10-year affair with her dad.

Are we overreacting, underreacting or looking at this stuff all wrong?

Last week when Mackenzie Phillips dropped the bombshell that she first had sex with her father, Mamas and the Papas vocalist John Phillips, at the age of 19, our collective first reaction was "Ick." Followed in quick succession by, "Really?," "Tell me more," "She's just trying to sell books," and "Well, should we even trust a drug addict?" And, just as the story promised to retire comfortably to the Oprah Moments Hall of Fame (and excuse us from the headache of having to think about inappropriate sexual relationships, consensual or not), Roman Polanski's 1978 conviction for unlawful sex with a 13-year-old girl is back in the headlines. (Read today's excellent story by The Post's Karl Vick.)

In both cases, arguments have been made for mitigating circumstances. Mackenzie Phillips was 19, drugged out and -- she claims -- the relationship became consensual and lasted for a decade before she ended it. And John Phillips -- who died in 2001 -- isn't around to tell his side of the story. Polanski, a revered director who at the time of his conviction was a budding film legend with both "Chinatown" and "Rosemary's Baby" on his resume, was himself a victim by proxy when his pregnant wife, Sharon Tate, was murdered by Charles Manson's minions in 1969. Even the victim in Polanski's sex abuse case, Samantha Geimer, now says she forgives him and supports dismissal of the charges. From People magazine, as quoted in Vick's story:

"I even have some sympathy for him, what with his mother dying in a concentration camp and then his wife Sharon Tate being murdered by Charles Manson's people and spending the last 20 years as a fugitive. Life was hard for him, just like it was for me."

But have the victims, in making excuses for the behavior of their alleged victimizers, made it too easy for us to file these stories away under the "icky" heading and move on? Does accepting their qualifications for unacceptable behavior only compound the transgressions committed against these two women?

I'm interested in hearing from you today. Why have we been so quick to jump on Mackenzie Phillips, condemning her as an unreliable witness and as culpable as her father? And where do you stand on Roman Polanski? Like Geimer, do you think the punishment outweighed the crime and support dismissal of the charges? Are you outraged that a man on the run from charges of abusing a minor was able to win three Oscars for 2002's "The Pianist" or comforted that he's able to continue working from abroad?

And would we react the same way if the men involved were not celebrities -- if Polanski were a high school teacher and Phillips an unremarkable nine-to-fiver who committed his transgressions in a sleepy suburb?

By Liz Kelly  | September 28, 2009; 11:42 AM ET
Categories:  Comment Box  
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Comments

I think John Phillips biggest crime was turning his daughter into a drug addict. Perhaps she would have become one anyway, but he aided and abetted and that's a dispicable act for someone alledgedly so "full of love." Everything after that is crap that just follows down the drain.

As for MacKenzie being unreliable, who made her that way?


I have a hard time churning up pity for Roman Polanski. He made two of the greatest movies in Hollywood history during his fugutive years. He became a celebrated and wealthy director. Now it's time to serve his sentence. It's not ok to run away from justice.

Posted by: mdreader01 | September 28, 2009 12:01 PM | Report abuse

The united states government is a total hypocracy. The government allows current, frequent torture, and murder; and goes after Polanski, after 30 years for admitted sex with a 13 yo. There is even a question of the mother's consent at the time. Laughing stock the world over, have been, and will be.

Posted by: linda_521 | September 28, 2009 12:02 PM | Report abuse

I was disturbed by the comments here last week on Mackenzie Phillips. I have no reason to believe she just made it all up. What on Earth could she gain from that? Book sales? Hardly. I understand the shame that comes from victimization and why it can take years for a victim to sort through their feelings and finally tell someone what they went through. On Polanski, eh, he needs to serve his sentence. Sleeping with a 13 year old is never permissible. It is not the job of the law to forgive and forget. The job of the law is justice and this man has been blatantly spitting in the face of justice for all this time. But we should know by now that famous people can do anything they want. It's their "art" or "eccentricities." I remember watching a film on Led Zeppelin and seeing that Jimmie Page had a long term relationship with a 14 year old and that her mother actually gave her consent! No one apparently even questioned it. So Polanski will fight the extradition and win and then we'll all go back to proclaiming how great he is. Nothing ever changes.

Posted by: lafilleverte | September 28, 2009 12:04 PM | Report abuse

Polanski's offense of morality
Displays a Swiss legal duality:
For him, no escape,
But when bankers rape
Like clockwork, it's time for neutrality.

News Short n' Sweet by JFD8
http://twitter.com/JFD8

Posted by: jd121 | September 28, 2009 12:12 PM | Report abuse

To me, the two cases are very different. What John Phillips did (the drugs AND the incestuous sex) are unforgivable. And that Mackenzie was age 19 when it started -- not a child -- and continued it for 10 years (until age 29) is beyond disgusting. The first one may have been rape, but it went consensual after that and incest is the biggest ICK NAST ever.

As for Polanski, yes, what he did was absolutely wrong, and she was 13 which makes it worse. Should it still be going on? I'm guessing it is just to make a point that what he did was wrong and shouldn't go unpunished -- but I wish that was consistently applied to other crimes. There are a lot of criminals who rape and murder who go free, get paroled, etc. A separate subject but frustrating that so much energy has been used to pursue Polanski and not other (worse) criminals.

Posted by: Californian11 | September 28, 2009 12:15 PM | Report abuse

Did the people defending Polanski also defend Michael Jackson?

Posted by: ravitchn | September 28, 2009 12:16 PM | Report abuse

Polanski admitted to the crime under oath and fled from justice. He later paid his victim an undisclosed sum after the event, which probably explains her pleas for his forgiveness.

These things distinguish his case from the Phillips case (with which we have only one side of the story and no trial) and the Michael Jackson case (which was started by a person who had previously committed perjury about an phony battering event she staged for the purposes of gaining money by suing.)

I'm not exactly sure why anyone defends Polanski, then or now. He drugged and assaulted a young girl, period.

Posted by: sarahabc | September 28, 2009 12:23 PM | Report abuse

Society needs to extend extra protection to children, whether they are need protection from world-famous directors or Pee Wee Herman. Polanski's defense team, should bring up that hes mother was killed in the Holocaust and his wife was victim of mass murder whack-job group. The autorities should still ship him off to San Quentin to pay for his crime.

Even though Michelle Phillips was technically an adult, she was betrayed by a trusted figure and should be extended everyone's sympathy. Her statement cannot be proven, but it's pretty clear Papa John was one sick dude.

History is full of examples of artistic geniuses who flouted the mores of their society.

Posted by: reddragon1 | September 28, 2009 12:25 PM | Report abuse

I think most people, if you ask them, will have no idea who the heck Roman Polanski is. Nor do most people pay attention to who directors are in movies. Remember folks, most people ain't like us lizards. That is probably why you don't see widespread boycotting of his films. Not to mention that the crime occurred 30 years ago and the public's attention span is not nearly that long.

Also, why should one boycott? Unless his films were capitalizing on the crime itself, they are irrelevant. Would you boycot using the lightbulb if you knew Edison was a murderer?

I'm not saying he shouldn't be punished. He should. And if I were in charge, he would be singing soprano. I just don't believe his work has anything to do with his crime nor should it.

Posted by: hodie | September 28, 2009 12:27 PM | Report abuse

I like what Kate Harding said at Salon.com
http://www.salon.com/mwt/broadsheet/?last_story=/mwt/broadsheet/feature/2009/09/28/polanski_arrest/

"
Roman Polanski instructed her to get into a jacuzzi naked, refused to take her home when she begged to go, began kissing her even though she said no and asked him to stop; performed cunnilingus on her as she said no and asked him to stop; put his penis in her vagina as she said no and asked him to stop; asked if he could penetrate her anally, to which she replied, "No," then went ahead and did it anyway, until he had an orgasm.

Can we do that? Can we take a moment to think about all that, and about the fact that Polanski pled guilty to unlawful sex with a minor, before we start talking about what a victim he is?
"

Posted by: wiredog | September 28, 2009 12:30 PM | Report abuse

hodie, do you mean singing castrato? ;-)

Posted by: Californian11 | September 28, 2009 12:30 PM | Report abuse

Roman Polanski - again, ADMITTED and PLED GUILTY to drugging and raping (including anally) a 13-year-old. THEN he ran away. He has a sentence to serve.

Mackenzie Phillips kept saying the sex was "consensual" after the first rape. If the sex was truly consensual, then the only reason she's telling us is to be shocking.

If it wasn't consensual, then she demeans all rape victims by saying it is.

Either way, HER DESCRIPTIONS are what provoked the hostile reaction. She's either showing off (in a sick way) or she's insulting true victims.

Posted by: Amelia5 | September 28, 2009 12:32 PM | Report abuse

First of all, I do not think we have been "so quick to jump on Mackenzie Phillips, condemning her as an unreliable witness and as culpable as her father".

Re: "unreliable" -- we are questionning the memory of someone who was on drugs and as such, mentally impaired at the time whatever happened happened. If I said I may have done something but was drunk at the time, wouldn't you question the veracity of my story? Of course you would. Maybe I did, maybe I didn't, but if I put that story out there, I should be prepared to answer questions.

Re: "culpable," I don't think any of us are saying it was her fault. We are saying that her father took advantage of her and fostered her drug addiction, both of which are despicable. But John Phillips is dead. Punishment enough? By going public now, his daughter desecrates any positives about his memory by talking to Oprah (what, a private therapist would be MORE conspicuous?) when he's not around to address his side of the story.

Is sexual activity with your child wrong? You bet it is. Does Mackenzie Phillips need therapy and closure? Absolutely. But you don't get either by airing them on a worldwide stage. Is she "just trying to sell books" -- among other things yes, yes she is. You don't go on Oprah to chat about the weather.

* * * *

Roman Polanski should be punished for his crimes regardless of who he is. Be a man and do your time, you coward.

Posted by: td_in_baltimore | September 28, 2009 12:34 PM | Report abuse

I think Polanski's conduct -- including his jumping bail -- is outrageous. The sentance was also outrageous, 42 days already served in a mental prison. Whatever!! I think if this happened today, to another well-known director, the person would do some serious jail time. Just because he was a "victim" (mother, wife), does not give him permission to victimize someone else. He is despicable, anyone who drugs and rapes a 13 year old should be punished. And it is further despicable that France and Poland are so vocal in their support of him.

Posted by: moneel | September 28, 2009 12:36 PM | Report abuse

Please understand I don't believe he should have been free to do the work he has done. But it was done, made public, and those ignorant of the circumstances should not feel ashamed if they are part of his becoming a box office success.

Posted by: hodie | September 28, 2009 12:36 PM | Report abuse

californian: hodie, do you mean singing castrato? ;-)

Yep and I will be glad to perform the operation pro bono, no pun intended ;-)

Posted by: hodie | September 28, 2009 12:40 PM | Report abuse

Someone mentioned that Anjelica Huston was in the house when all of this happened? Seriously?

Posted by: Californian11 | September 28, 2009 12:42 PM | Report abuse

I think this article in Salon today sums up my feelings. HE RAPED A CHILD! After giving her drugs and alcohol. After she repeatedly told him to stop. No amount of money or professional accolades should let him off the hook. Maybe if more people know the details of what actually happened, and which he admitted to, he wouldn't be getting so much sympathy.

http://www.salon.com/mwt/broadsheet/feature/2009/09/28/polanski_arrest/

Posted by: cjbriggs | September 28, 2009 12:52 PM | Report abuse

ravitchm- No, Polanski's defenders did not support MJ, which is kind of funny considering that Polanski pled guilty while Jackson was acquitted on all charges.

The one I really feel bad for in the Phillips story is Bijou. Her first statement after the story broke wondered why, if everyone knew the truth about her father, she was allowed to live alone with him for most of her childhood.

Posted by: TigerLily81 | September 28, 2009 12:53 PM | Report abuse

re: MacKenzie Phillips, I actually watched the Oprah interview. By "consensual" I think she means she allowed it to happen. That's different than saying she was an active participant or wanted it to happen. I also don't think she's just trying to be shocking but is trying to purge herself of the past. Why she's decided to do that publicly? The main justification is that she's trying to help other people with her story even if it costs her father's reputation. I might also think that some famous people (and famous families) don't know how to live private lives as well as the rest of us and that the media, to some extent, doesn't let them do that.

Posted by: kvs09 | September 28, 2009 1:01 PM | Report abuse

If anyone reads the transcripts http://www.thesmokinggun.com/archive/polanskia1.html of Polanski's VICTIMS interview and still defends him I have nothing but disgust for them.

MacKenzie was introduced to drugs by her father at age 10 and he later had "sex" with her when she was 19. He was wrong, wrong, wrong and we wonder why she had problems with drugs. With a father like that it's surprising she has lived this long. I know people will say it was consentual for 10 years. I'm sorry it was a father abusing his child for 10 years.

Posted by: rlj1 | September 28, 2009 1:13 PM | Report abuse

If they don't arrest Polanski and sentence him for the crime that he has already pleaded guilty to, what hope does any rape victim have that their attacker will be arrested, tried and punished even if time has passed since the crime was committed?

Posted by: dablues1 | September 28, 2009 1:14 PM | Report abuse

There is a difference between a rapist not being convicted because the state failed to prove its case beyond a reasonable doubt, or serving a term of probation after their prison term and Roman Polanski living the high life in France after pleading guilty. he pled guilty -- he did not do the time. He needs to serve his sentence.

Mackenzie Phillips might have been technically an adult at the time, but her father still took advantage of his position of trust to abuse her. It is too bad that Mackenzie could not talk about this until after he was gone. Otherwise, we could villify him in person.

The calls to feel sorry for Roman Polanski because of his rough life are disgusting. There are MILLIONS of people alive who lost family members in the Holocaust but don't rape 13 year old girls. There are millions of people who have had family members murdered, they don't rape 13 year old girls. Your alleged hard life is not excuse to break the law. In fact, it is demeaning to the true victims to do so.

Again, Roman Polanski was hardly in "exile" having a hard life. he worked i his chosen profession, becoming quite wealthy in the process. he traveled the world, avoiding those countries that would extradite him. he got married. he received awards and accolades. This is hardly punishment in any sense of the word.

Posted by: epjd | September 28, 2009 1:45 PM | Report abuse

This crime is occurring in Biblical proportions in our churches. It is time for Roman to pay the piper for his fateful misdeed against a child, to protect other children and to see through the prosecution process-- or else other pedophiles will use it to get out of punishment for raping children.Pedophiles are consistently intent on dismanteling social norms because they have issues with authority. The character is fundamentally flawed.They are the ancient primate, a killer who would tear down the civilized order by raping little people whose fundamental rights and daily activities are controlled by another adult, therefore neglected or abused children are easy prey. Sexual bullies and killers if conditions will allow them. Roman's childhood gave no benefit of teaching ethics or norms and I am certain he was categorically preyed upon by other adult versions of himself on the streets. This does not excuse the impact on society his repugnant behavior creates. Pedophiles are all too often sexually rejected by other normal adults for being sexually repulsive in some way ( true for serial killers too) - making their crime more unfair to someone not big enough to fight back or autonomous enough to say, " No. I'll get a gun and blow your head off if you dare to touch me!" or "I'm filing charges against you."
Child victims should be allowed to kill their rapists if the State doesn't line them up and execute them. Behead them publicly! Public beheadings will instill mass fear of pedophilia and cost less to the State than a bullet to their heads..

Posted by: fair1 | September 28, 2009 2:06 PM | Report abuse

The press is definitely presenting this in the wrong way.

Polanski was picked up and is being held for one reason: The United States and Great Britain are terrified of public reaction when his film The Ghost comes out and they are trying to prevent it from being made. The political content of the film involving CIA assets as heads of state outside the U.S. is highly threatening to TBTB who have leaned on the Swiss.

Posted by: mishopshno | September 28, 2009 2:10 PM | Report abuse

Public beheadings will instill mass fear of pedophilia and cost less to the State than a bullet to their heads..

Posted by: fair1 | September 28, 2009 2:06 PM | Report abuse

How is a public beheading cheaper than a bullet?

Carm down, it's the Net.

Posted by: jezebel3 | September 28, 2009 2:12 PM | Report abuse

I didn't know he pleaded guilty. Dude needs to do his time. Had he just served his time, he probably would have done about half the actual time to which he was sentenced, or appealed the case or whatever. Its his own fault he's in this mess, from committing the crime to going on the run.

Posted by: jelo97 | September 28, 2009 2:15 PM | Report abuse

dablues1 - I struggled to say the same thing earlier and now I'm glad I didn't bother. You said it best.

epjd - the high priced American lawyers that Polanski can afford to hire have to figure out how to separate the negligent actions (and words) of Judge Lawrence Rittenbrand from how differently this crime would be treated had it been tried in a court in 2009.

Polanski did plead guilty, but did so in order to get a lesser charge. He thought his 42 days in a mental hospital would be sufficient. Rittenbrand indicated he'd go for a longer sentence and Polanski flew the coop.

His lawyers are going to argue to dismiss the case on technicalities. However, could things go wrong and the sentence be revisited altogether? Does double jeopardy apply here? And do they have to go back to 1977 rules to determine the sentence or can they slap him with what seems to be the ten-year standard for these sorts of crimes?

Posted by: mdreader01 | September 28, 2009 2:25 PM | Report abuse

Consent is a funny thing. Unfortunately, the law sees it as the absence of "no." Consent should be the presence of a "yes."

Unfortunately, our society allows acquaintance rape to occur regularly as a result of this because women are taught from a young age to be sexy, not sexual. If girls were taught that they have the right to enjoy sex we might have no reason to have discussions about what is and is not rape.

Samantha Geimer may have forgiven him, but it is his responsibility to serve his sentence. I agree with her that the media has made it hard for over the years, but if he surrendered 31 years ago, it would have caused her a lot less difficult for her.

Posted by: MzFitz | September 28, 2009 2:27 PM | Report abuse

Reddragon 1, you are a bit confused. PeeWee Herman was arrested for public lewdness. He has never been accused of being a pedophile. And, Michelle Phillips was married to John Phillips, so I'm assuming any sexual relations they had were their business.

Posted by: jmoore6 | September 28, 2009 2:40 PM | Report abuse

And yet Jerry Lee Lewis shows that if Roman had just married the girl everything would've been fine.

Posted by: DorkusMaximus1 | September 28, 2009 2:47 PM | Report abuse

okay:

1) I'm not condoning what Roman Polanski did, nor am I trying to claim the traumas in his life have left him a mess of a human being;

2) Once again, it looks like everybody's got only half the story. Yes, Polanski pled guilty, but he pled guilty as part of a plea bargain which, in order to save the victim from the trauma of having to testify at trial, involved having him plead to a lesser crime and be given probation -- no jail time was the cornerstone of the plea bargain. He had instructed his lawyers not to accept any plea that involved jail time, and he and his lawyers were prepared to go to trial. At sentencing, the judge, who was a party to the original plea bargain and had indicated that it was acceptable to the court, unilaterally reneged on the terms of the already-agreed-upon plea bargain and indicated that he was going to sentence Polanski to jail time. At which point, Polanski's lawyers, wholly within their rights, correctly moved to withdraw his plea and proceed to trial, where Polanski would likely have been acquitted (much like Michael Jackson). But the judge wouldn't allow them to. All of this would have been overturned on appeal, but in the meantime, Polanski would have had to start serving time in jail for a crime that, but for his conditional plea, he had not yet been convicted, and probably wouldn't have been if the case proceeded to trial. Polanski was the victim of a bait-and-switch plea bargain, for which he, rightly or wrongly, determined that he wasn't going to voluntarily surrender to go to jail.

I'm no apologist, but the justice system, in the form of one over-reaching judge, threw Polanski a nasty curve. Regardless of how heinous the crime, I think anyone who believes in justice has to take a step back and ask themselves if they would be willing to spend time in a foreign jail while their lawyers sorted out the unlawful actions of the judge who put them there, or would they return to their native country? Because that, in effect, was the situation facing Polanski.

I'm all for him facing justice, I just want it to be true American justice, where he can return to the US to either serve out the probationary terms of the original plea deal, or stand trial. Not to serve a prison term that wasn't part of the plea bargain, because that's beneath the dignity of our criminal justice system.

Posted by: klaw009x | September 28, 2009 2:53 PM | Report abuse

Polanski shouldn't have left his 8/12 months pregnant wife alone to begin with.What kind of a man leaves his wife like that when she is about to give birth? He is not a victim, Sharon and the baby were. These two cases are not related and neither is what happened to his mother. Personal responsibilty people and Liz you shouldn't have brought it up.

He is sick and anyone who defends him is also sick. Crimes against children are the worst crime a person can commit. A 13 year old girl is a child. Put him in prison and let someone rape him and see how he likes it. He can say no until the cows come home for all I care.

Posted by: supersonic2 | September 28, 2009 3:02 PM | Report abuse

Don't know about all of you, but there's nothing like a good BKD.

Posted by: td_in_baltimore | September 28, 2009 3:30 PM | Report abuse

Actually, klaw009x, there is a difference between the Michael Jackson trial and Polanski, as far as quality of the evidence.

The victims in the MJ case didn't complain until some time later - thus, no physical evidence. Only their word against MJs.

In Polanski's case, the girl reported the crime, and there was likely physical evidence.

Also - consent is not a defense to raping a 13-year-old. Under the law of the 1970s AND today, they are too young to consent.

Additionally, I think a court can impose a stricter sentence than the original plea agreement, based on his subsequent behavior. The approporiate response to a failure to impose the plea agreement is an APPEAL - not jumping bond.

PLUS - judges are NEVER bound by a plea agreement, even if they agree they will go along with it. Plea bargains are only binding on the prosecution.

Posted by: Amelia5 | September 28, 2009 3:37 PM | Report abuse

amelia5:

but there is strong evidence that the prosecution was engaged in ex parte lobbying of the judge for the harsher sentence after the prosecution had agreed to the bargain, which would make the judge's "changing his mind" more than a little suspect.

plus, not allowing the defense to withdraw the plea prior to the actual sentencing once it was clear that the judge wasn't going to honor the terms of the deal was clearly improper and reversible error, especially in California in the 1970s.

accordingly, I again ask the question, knowing you had a case that you were likely to win (there was a real problem with putting the victim on the stand, which I won't go into, since that would result in an immediate avalanche of cries that I should "quit blaming the victim"), would you submit yourself to incarceration in a foreign country until the whole thing was ironed out, or would your suspicion of the justice system, based on your experiences to that point, lead you to flee that foreign country for your homeland, relatively secure in the idea that your home country wouldn't honor extradition?

I'm not saying he's an altar boy, or even that he didn't do it. I just don't like the notion of a criminal justice system where, going up against an already stacked deck, a criminal defendant's long-term freedom can be jacked around with by a prosecutor and judge (possibly in cahoots), and can see where "going on the lam" can be an act of civil disobedience. it's just a shame, on so many levels, that the crime at the core of the case is so heinous, because it overshadows the arguable abuse of power at issue.

had this been any other crime (possibly including murder) and if the judge was trying to impose on almost any other defendant, who had like Polanski plead guilty to a lesser crime, a sentence out of proportion to the plead crime but in proportion to the original charged crime, there would be a huge outcry of injustice. and if that defendant went on the run to avoid serving his time, he'd be a folk hero.

I just can't logically reconcile the double standard, based solely on the nature of the crime. Our justice system is supposed to be better than that -- i.s. you don't have fewer rights becasue you're accused of murder than you do if you're only accused of petty theft.


Posted by: klaw009x | September 28, 2009 4:31 PM | Report abuse

"Polanski shouldn't have left his 8/12 months pregnant wife alone to begin with"

She wasn't alone, she was with friends, and what do we know? She may have urged him to go, she may have been fine with it. It's no different than if a guy goes off to work in the morning -- something could happen in a split second. Should men stay glued to their wives? If so, we'd better alter our family leave policies in this country.

As well, I'm guessing if he had been there, he would have been murdered right along with the rest of them. It's not like the Manson nutballs would have spared him.

Posted by: Californian11 | September 28, 2009 4:32 PM | Report abuse

Pigs. All.

'nuff said.

Posted by: itsagreatday1 | September 28, 2009 4:38 PM | Report abuse

To those who question Mackenzie Phillips' memory because of drug use:

Are you serious? She can't remember TEN YEARS of having sex with her FATHER? I bet she would love to forget all of that. Any loss of details, through drugs or simple aging, would only be at the margins. The fact of what happened is too large to slip through memory.

Posted by: DCVotes | September 28, 2009 5:07 PM | Report abuse

I really can't believe that people think "the Mother gave consent" is a viable defense. As far as I know that would be considered pimping out your kid..with is illegal. Rule of thumb - 40 something men should not be having sex with 13 year olds and Fathers should not be having sex with their daughters. It's really very simple.

Posted by: Vienna8425 | September 28, 2009 6:45 PM | Report abuse

The United States government is not total hypocracy. The government does not allow such acts. He raped a 13 year old child and was to be sentenced. He has to do the time. Dome folks think the Nazi's were noy justified but are to old to be tried. You can not change the law after the crime. And for God's sake, she was 13 and he enjoyed her. Wake up! Wake up!

Posted by: calvin3 | September 28, 2009 7:04 PM | Report abuse

Polanski pled guilty and was convicted. There is no question about his guilt or actions. He skipped the country rather than face sentencing and likely jail. His drugging and rape of a 13 year old should be abhorant to everyone--American or not. Justice needs to be served and Polanski needs to spend the rest of his life in jail for his crimes--the one he was convicted of and his crime of flight from justice. Anything less makes a mockery of our laws and morals.

For anyone defending Polanski, do you condone drugging and rape of a 13 year old? What if this was your daughter?

Posted by: MatthewWeaver | September 28, 2009 8:08 PM | Report abuse

I suspect that it will always be easier for a rich septuagenarian celebrity to defend himself than a Qualude-pacified thirteen year old child. What happened to those French people anyway and their sense of moral outrage? Don't tell me that since the heat's on with foie gras that they've taken to eating their children instead? Since when is a thirteen year old child fair game for the predatory wiles of a grown man anywhere in the ostensibly civilized world? Besides, didn't the French once purport to be in the vanguard of this whole civilization business in the first place? And what happened to prim and proper Swiss rectitude? I don't care how long ago this was - she was a child for God's sake. A thirteen year old little girl is just that, a little girl. They need to be protected, perhaps even against themselves. You throw celebrity and Qualudes into the mix and there better be the law behind them and the moral outrage of decent responsible adults who are willing to stand up for kids - anyone's kids, not just their own!

Posted by: kmarin | September 28, 2009 8:24 PM | Report abuse

When it comes to criminal justice, the USA is the Saudi Arabia of the western world.

As a child, Polanski ran from Warsaw when it became clear the Holocaust was looming. As an adult, he ran from America when it became clear the judge was about to renege on a plea deal and crucify him just for the publicity. Each time he ran, it was illegal. And each time he ran, it was completely justified.

America is a country whose unjust "justice" system is worse than an embarassment; it is a crime.

Posted by: DupontJay | September 28, 2009 10:02 PM | Report abuse

Ok everyone Rape is WRONG Period! anyone who commits this crime should be prosecuted to the fullest extent of the law PERIOD! Movie directors, plummers, carpenters, musicians, ANYONE ! should be prosecuted who commits this crime. Game over. Now in Mackenzie Phillips case, she is saying these things occured with her father who is dead and not here to defend himself, so she's gonna have to come up with the proof.

Posted by: derekjan | October 1, 2009 8:59 AM | Report abuse

Sexual intercourse with a 13-year-old is a crime in most countries. It also constitutes child abuse. No one has the right to escape punishment. I fail to see how Polanski's mothers status as a Nazi genocide victim is pertinent. His mother was not on trial - Polanski was.

Charles Weinblatt
Author, "Jacob's Courage"
http://jacobscourage.wordpress.com/

Posted by: csw18 | October 1, 2009 2:22 PM | Report abuse

There was physical evidence. But it was problematic at the time. The chain of possession of the evidence was a problem then, it is much worse now.

The most problematic is that the girl herself had the topless photos taken of her and they were discovered by her mother, in the girls possession only after the second photo shoot. The tale of the rape only started emerging after the mother went ballistic on her daughter. That Polanski gave evidence to the girl and the fact that she didnt say anything about Polanski's action until after her mother caught her with them was a big problem.

What started as an iron clad case for the prosecution when it got out of the Grand Jury quickly deteriorated over the next six to eight weeks. Polanski co operated with the legal system completely. He agreed to go to prison for psychiatric evaluation and evaluation by the probation system and by the time that was over, those who examined Polanski found that he did not seem to actually be capable of what he was being accused of, and on the other end, there was some question as to whether all or at least part of the girls testimony might have been embellished. There are one or two web sites that have not editorialized, opinioned, or attempted to analyze the events. They especially avoid all the hearsay that is going on today. One is called "The Zero" and all it does is provide an archive of the articled from the time that this was a new media event, as well as updated news articles that occurred over time. They make interesting reading for anyone who is looking for fact, rather than speculation and opinion.

Posted by: Chernevog | October 3, 2009 12:11 AM | Report abuse

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