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Let Polanski Go -- But First Let Me at Him

It’s alright with me if Roman Polanski is freed by the Swiss authorities who have detained him at the request of the United States -- if first I get a chance to bust him one in the mouth. I agree that it has been a very long time since he pleaded guilty to having sexual intercourse with a 13 year old girl -- more than 30 years, actually -- but that itself was a reduced charge. He had allegedly plied the girl with champagne and given her a quarter of a Quaalude before, as the Victorians used to say, having his way with her. He is a squalid excuse for a man.

For saying that I know I stand in mortal peril of being accused by the French and much of the Pacific Palisades of being a moral prude (ha!) or a vengeance-seeking scold. The arrest has produced consternation in Hollywood and apoplexy in France, where even the culture minister, Frederic Mitterrand, got into the act. He decried that “a new ordeal is being inflicted on someone who has already known so many during his lifetime.” Oui. But he drugged and sexually abused a child.

Polanski is a great film director -- although the much-acclaimed “Chinatown” has a muddled script -- but his true talent is to make fools of his friends.

I would bet that included in those now protesting on behalf of Polanski are many who went bonkers when President Clinton pardoned Marc Rich, the fugitive commodities trader who was indicted while overseas and has taken his time -- 26 years -- in coming home. The pardon created such a ruckus that Rich apparently has yet to claim it. As with Polanski, he maintains a home in Switzerland. (It is total mystery to me why the Swiss could pick up Polanski for possible extradition to the U.S., but not -- until the pardon -- Rich.)

Polanski had good -- but illegal -- reasons to flee the U.S. After copping to a single count of “unlawful sexual intercourse with a minor,” he had grounds to believe that a publicity-crazed judge was about to throw the book at him. As a citizen of France -- he was born in Paris although raised in Poland -- he could not be extradited to the United States. He went first to London and then to Paris. This is exile, but it ain’t Siberia.

It ought not to matter that Polanski is a Holocaust survivor. (His mother died at Auschwitz.) After all, countless others survived the Holocaust without committing crimes of any sort, especially ones involving moral depravity.

It ought not to matter, either, that in 1969 Polanski’s wife, the actress Sharon Tate, was horrifically murdered by the Manson family when she was eight months pregnant. This, too, does not excuse moral depravity, although it gives one pause. It ought to give one pause. (Polanski underwent a 42-day psychiatric examination following his 1977 arrest.)

And it ought not to matter that Polanski is a gifted artist. In fact, it ought to be held against him. He seduced -- if that can possibly be the word -- the 13-year-old Samantha Geimer with all the power and authority of a 44-year-old movie director who could make her famous. If this did not impress the girl, it must have impressed her mother. She permitted what was supposed to be a photo shoot.

There are two extenuating circumstances in Polanski’s case. The first is time. It has, after all, been over 30 years and Polanski, now 76, has been clean all that time -- no crimes alleged, no crimes convicted. More importantly, his victim pleads his case. Geimer says, more or less, enough is enough. She does not excuse what Polanski did and does not forgive what he has done, but it is time for us all to move on. “He made a terrible mistake, but he’s paid for it,” she said some years back.

Time does not minimize the crime, which in its details is creepy, but jail would no longer serve a purpose. The victim and the victimizer are united -- they both want clemency. The girl is now a woman, and the man is old, spending his dotage making fools of his champions, who cannot distinguish between sexual freedom and sexual assault. Let Polanski go -- but first let me at him.

By Richard Cohen  | September 28, 2009; 12:57 PM ET
Categories:  Cohen  | Tags:  Richard Cohen  
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I could agree with this. I found the previous column, by Applebaum, to be outrageous, that we should just let him go because he's famous and he's a holocaust survivor. But on balance, I think he should be let go with a slap on the wrist. Possibly to consist of appearing in front of a judge again, the whole public shaming thing, but let him go without jail time.

Posted by: JS11 | September 28, 2009 1:25 PM | Report abuse

Since this follows upon Cohen's musings about his desire to take manly revenge upon the perpetrators of 9/11, one can only wonder why he feels the need to repeatedly express his would-be machismo in public. Ever actually punched someone in the nose, Richard? Or just in your recurring fantasies?

Posted by: turningfool | September 28, 2009 1:32 PM | Report abuse

"let me at him", ha! Look at you, you're scrawny, weak and old yourself. All the same, showing this kind of macho aggression towards a 76-year old man is hardly a heroic act. If you feel like fighting, there's all kinds of more threatening characters who'll be happy to take you up on it.

Posted by: hangjbat | September 28, 2009 1:36 PM | Report abuse

Excellent analysis and conclusions, Mr. Cohen. Thank you for being the voice of reason in the midst of this ridiculous free-for-all.

Posted by: dacbf | September 28, 2009 1:37 PM | Report abuse

Mr. Cohen says: Let Polanski go free of legal consequence for raping a 13-yr old child.

Mr. Cohen wanted to say: Let Polanski go free for raping a 13-yr old child. Like me, Polanski is Jewish and so is Bernie Maddoff. Since Maddoff has gone to jail for eternity, that is enough punishment. Afterall, the rape of a 13-yr old does not matter if the pervert is powerful, famous, and is descended from that legal untouchable clan of Planet Earth.

Posted by: Silent_Echo | September 28, 2009 1:42 PM | Report abuse

So - Polanski should, in effect, be rewarded for successfully evading capture? Because that's the only reason 30 years have passed without resolution in this case.
And please - enough of the 'publicity-crazed judge' defense. The fact that the lawyers reached a plea agreement is in no way a promise made to the defendant. The judge still has final say, and its the same uncertainty that every defendant faces in court.
The fact that Ms. Geimer wants to move on is neither unusual nor surprising - but it is Polanski himself who has dragged this case out for 30 years, not the media.
Let Polanski go - to prison.

Posted by: dllydggr | September 28, 2009 1:42 PM | Report abuse

Polanski has suffered enough, living in Paris , London, traveling first class, parties awards and accolades from hollywood . Please let him go , he makes great movies, he only drugged , raped a 13 year old, its not like he did it to an 8 year old(that would be ok for the french though).Polanski says "he feels like fighting" this charge/injustice. Too bad for the poor 13 year old who 30 years ago was too afraid/drugged to fight. Yes, let Polanski go, but first let me at him for an hour with a 2 by 4, no maybe 2-3 minutes, justice doesnt take that long.

Posted by: snapplecat07 | September 28, 2009 1:43 PM | Report abuse

My 2 cents:
Leniency in this case encourages establishing a statute of limitations on sexual predation toward juveniles.
Think of all the sexual predators who routinely visit countries in the Far East to indulge their proclivities.
Do we want our justice system to just not bother with such cases?
Just because the victim grew up, she wasn't grown up at the time the act was committed.
He chose to run; then, recently, he chose to flaunt the system in order to receive some accolade in the motion picture industry.
While the history of his family in the Holocaust is very tragic and leads to an understanding that he is suspicious of and fearful of government justice, that does not excuse failure to prosecute on the part of the government.
If he feels he was unjustly treated by the courts, he should have negotiated returning to the U.S. in return for going before a court or a judge he trusted to establish mitigation regarding that plea agreement.
Don't tell me, had he not behaved like a coward, something could have been worked out regarding judicial misconduct.
Further, after he fled, if I'm not mistaken, there were many reports that he was involved with other underage girls in other countries; cases which were not pursued so vigorously.
So, don't ask me to vote to drop the case out of pity.
I fully support our government’s continued pursuit of this case, among many others.
If we allow his case to slide, it will be simply on the basis of his fame, his professional success and notoriety, none of which are any excuse.
And, it endangers precedent.
For the sake of the many cases hanging fire out there, this is no time to back down on justice.

Posted by: Judy-in-TX | September 28, 2009 1:44 PM | Report abuse

While I partially agree with Mr. Cohen's opinion, I still think Polanski deserves some jail time. We shouldn't reward anyone that flees his sentencing. Not even his age should permit this.

Posted by: beachbum1 | September 28, 2009 1:44 PM | Report abuse

Pursuing Roman Polanski at this juncture is a gross waste of tax payer's money.

Beautiful case of where what's legal doesn't make it right. Polanski was fully justified to skip bail and flee the country. His defense and the DA (supposedly representing the desires of the girl and her parents) had reached an acceptable agreement when this corrupt judge ?Rittenbaum? supposedly in clandestine collusion with the DA refused to honor the plea agreement. In short, the government broke their own word.

If you can't trust the government in matters of justice, you have two choices: leave, or fight. Polanski, not being an American citizen, already had the deck stacked against him, wasn't going to get a fair shake. Leaving was his only option.

Yeah, he's probably guilty of aggravated felonious sexual assault. But if the aggreived parties don't want to press charges further, then government needs to drop it.

Posted by: mhoust | September 28, 2009 1:46 PM | Report abuse

Look, the guy lure, drugged, and sodomized a 13 year old girl. He should be punished for that as if it happened yesterday. The passage of time and the living of a conviction-free life as a fugitive from justice shouldn't be taken into account.

Retry the case, convict and sentence him, then forget him.

Posted by: ZZim | September 28, 2009 1:54 PM | Report abuse

"Geimer says, more or less, enough is enough. She does not excuse what Polanski did and does not forgive what he has done, but it is time for us all to move on. “He made a terrible mistake, but he’s paid for it,” she said some years back."

How many euros does it take to pay to rape a 13 year old and stay out of jail for the crime?

Posted by: edbyronadams | September 28, 2009 2:00 PM | Report abuse

The sympathy for this man baffles me. Some seem sympathethic because he is old, some because his wife was murdered, some because he survived the Holocaust. While no one should ever have to live through a loved one being violently murdered or having to run from the Nazis, what any of that would have to do with a pedophile who had an affinity for young girls long before he raped the victim is beyond me. Perhaps jail is not the best use of a famous director, maybe some of the millions he has earned in 30 years could be put to financing rape treament and crisis centers in a bankrupt state. A small part in the Constitution, equal justice under the law, is worth standing up for. Celebrity shouldn't have shielded OJ and shouldn't shield Polanski either.

Posted by: JAMNEW | September 28, 2009 2:01 PM | Report abuse

Polanski is a great genius. "Chinatown" is worth many thousands of 13-year-old girls. Leave him alone!

Posted by: mitt1968 | September 28, 2009 2:04 PM | Report abuse

"Posted by: Silent_Echo

Mr. Cohen wanted to say: Let Polanski go free for raping a 13-yr old child. Like me, Polanski is Jewish and so is Bernie Maddoff. Since Maddoff has gone to jail for eternity, that is enough punishment. Afterall, the rape of a 13-yr old does not matter if the pervert is powerful, famous, and is descended from that legal untouchable clan of Planet Earth."

Gerson was right. The internet is filled with anti-Semite scumbags like Silent_Echo. These pieces of human garbage are too cowardly to spew their vile crap in public, so they crawl out from their rocks and spew their vile crap behind the veil of anonymity.

Posted by: bobmoses | September 28, 2009 2:04 PM | Report abuse

It's "all right." Alright is not a word.

Also, it's Frederic Mitterrand, not Frederick. He is French.

Posted by: Georgetown1 | September 28, 2009 2:04 PM | Report abuse

"had grounds to believe that a publicity-crazed judge was about to throw the book at him."


It's far more likely that a publicity-crazed judge in 1977 would let him off with as light a sentence as possible and beg for his autograph.

He pled guilty. He's not suffered since (not being able to pick up an award in person is NOT suffering!). Does anyone even know what the sentencing guidelines were at that time? I mean, how much time was he REALLY looking at? Not that I care; I'm curious.

The bill has come due, plus interest and penalties. Nut up, face the consequences like an adult.

Posted by: Skowronek | September 28, 2009 2:05 PM | Report abuse

While I agree with you in principal, I have to note that you made one omission from your detailing of the extenuating circumstances. There is evidence, admittedly not strong evidence - but evidence nevertheless, that Polanski truly did not know the girl was underage. I have seen more than my share of teenage girls who are "13 going on 25." That was as common in the 1970s as it is today. What he did was indeed creepy and there is no excuse for a film director to take advantage of an ingenue looking for a role, no matter what her age. But the case can still be made that despite his strong libido, Polanski may have been stopped dead in his tracks had he realized that the girl was only 13. Given his track record since that time, I am willing to give him the benefit of the doubt.

Posted by: topperale | September 28, 2009 2:05 PM | Report abuse

I just don't get it. How can sympathy for a person out of ethnic identification trump the horrible crime this man has done to a very young girl? It is just not right.

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

oh please, just put the pervert in jail where he belongs

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

Tens of thousands of people who had sex with minors are branded sex criminals, and will live with that for the rest of their lives, even after they finish their court-mandated sentences. That means before they move into a neighborhood, the neighbors are notified. Before they begin employment, employers are told. Everywhere they go, for the rest of their lives, that is what they will deal with. And you propose that Polanski is above all that? Thirty years is nothing compared to what others deal with. The likes of you, Mr. Cohen, have insisted on this strict code for others, why not Polanski? It just shows us that there are different sets of rules for different people. If you are selected by the elite and enlightened as above it all, then you get the breaks. Otherwise, forget it and let the elite spit on you.

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

Sadly, I agree. Polanski in some respects has had a difficult life. No, it doesn't justify what he did.

So, I say, prosecute him, give him six months in County Lock-Up and let him go on with his life.

I don't know why he just doesn't cut some kind of deal with the DA's office.

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

I suggest that anyone who thinks he should be let go read the victim’s testimony before the grand jury - NO means NO! She said NO numerous times.

He raped and sodomized a child – I can’t say this enough – SHE WAS A CHILD and she tried in her childish ways to fend him off. After reading the testimony if anyone thinks he should be let go shame on them. I’m furious that people say he suffered – SHE WAS 13 AND HE RAPED AND SODOMIZED A CHILD!!!

Posted by: rlj1 | September 28, 2009 2:13 PM | Report abuse

September 28, 2009

Mr Cohen, This is really a legal matter and while your anecdotal commentary is interesting to some, I suppose, it is not germane to this matter – you should have taken a few more legal glasses with your martial arts lessons. Even the prosecutor of this case was actively testifying against the judge in this case. He spoke out about what he considered was the judges improper, highly uncustomary, and often illegal conduct. There is an interesting documentary available on this case if you care to investigate the subject instead of making up ‘legal findings’ and offering irrelevant movie reviews of Polanksky’s films. Have a nice day. Bill

Posted by: Hawser | September 28, 2009 2:14 PM | Report abuse

If you "bust him one in the mouth" that would be elder abuse.

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

Snippet from topperale's post:

"Polanski may have been stopped dead in his tracks had he realized that the girl was only 13"

I do not know this for a fact (so really, I should be quiet) BUT it has been written elsewhere that he needed the mother's permission to photograph her as she was under 18. Sounds like no matter how old she was, or wasn't, at the time, he knew she was a minor.

It was still rape though. Drugged, drunk, cried and asked him to stop, but he didn't. Punishment is warranted.

Posted by: Skowronek | September 28, 2009 2:20 PM | Report abuse

Still don't get it, do we? Let the law take its course. That's what the rule of law means. We don't care who you are, what movies you made, what friends you have in the Polish Foreign minister's office (or bedroom), we don't care what Richard Cohen or Anne Applebaum think, we have laws and they should be enforced.

After Polanski, Dick Cheney. After that, Angelo Mozila. Then, Erik Prince. Followed by Allen Stanford. Then John Yoo. Followed by Porter Goss. That's how it should work.

Posted by: Dollared | September 28, 2009 2:21 PM | Report abuse

As long as we're in the process of issuing international arrest warrants, shouldn't somebody be issuing warrants on Cheney, Bush, etc. for war crimes. I certainly wouldn't mind seeing Cheney detained at the airport in Geneva or Berne the next time he tries to travel overseas. It would only be justice.

Posted by: topperale | September 28, 2009 2:23 PM | Report abuse

According to Geimer, Polanski asked Geimer's mother if he could photograph the girl for the French edition of Vogue, which Polanski had been invited to guest-edit. Her mother allowed a private photo shoot.

Geimer testified that Polanski performed various sexual acts on her after giving her a combination of champagne and quaaludes. Specifically, Geimer's testimony was that Polanski kissed her, performed c nnilingus on her, penetrated her v ginally, and then penetrated her ana!ly, each time after being told 'no' and being asked to stop.

Posted by: Skowronek | September 28, 2009 2:23 PM | Report abuse

It's gross to hear Cohen - the sexual harrasser of a young woman he supervised at the Post - plead for Polanski to be released. And it's absurd and pathetic for Cohen to appoint himself arbiter of crude vigilante justice by punching Polanski.

Mr. Cohen, you use the word "seduce" and wonder if it's the right word. Is a seduction the same as a rape? If not, then don't use the word "seduce" but pretend you find it inadequate. The girl was raped. She was not "seduced."

Polanski is a criminal on the lam, pure and simple. The Holocaust, his films, what the victim wants done or not done at this point, have nothing to do with anything. He should be brought to justice just as any other criminal on the lam should.

Posted by: unojklhh1 | September 28, 2009 2:23 PM | Report abuse

As long as we're in the process of issuing international arrest warrants, shouldn't somebody be issuing warrants on Cheney, Bush, etc. for war crimes. I certainly wouldn't mind seeing Cheney detained at the airport in Geneva or Berne the next time he tries to travel overseas. It would only be justice.

Posted by: topperale

If they are charged and convicted, then yeah! But someone has to get the ball rolling, you know?

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

He drugged and raped a child. I don't care how long ago it was, what his personal history might be, or how marvelous his movies have been. He sodomized a 13-year-old who repeatedly said no. Then he fled the country. The man is a disgusting pervert and should have done actual jail time long ago.

Posted by: historian_nan | September 28, 2009 2:32 PM | Report abuse

Excellent post, Richard, especially when juxtaposed with Mrs. Applebaum-Sikorski's disgusting rationalization of child rape.

I'm guessing that you're not married to a Polish diplomat who has championed Polanski's pardon, huh?

Posted by: hisroc | September 28, 2009 2:35 PM | Report abuse

How great would that be--- to see Richard form his soft, dainty, well-manicured hand into a tiny fist, then launch a feeble punch at Polanski's head... he'd probably shatter all his fingers, while barely leaving a discernable mark on Roman's face.

Posted by: Regis09 | September 28, 2009 2:38 PM | Report abuse

Are you really claiming that Mark Rich is as repugnant as Polanski because he's opted not to return to the US after his pardon? Seriously?

I don't have an opinion on whether Rich should or shouldn't have been pardoned, but the fact is that he was and he was indicted while already out of the country. Equating that with a person who plead guilty to a heinous crime and then fled to avoid actually being punished is insanity.

Posted by: DonWhiteside | September 28, 2009 2:42 PM | Report abuse

No he committed a forcible rape using drugs of a young girl. He should get at least 5 years, his age should not be considered, or the time since his conviction, because he could have served it 30 years ago when he would have unlikely to get the unreasonably short 5 years. I believe in some places in the USA, raping a child is a capital offense which may be extreme, but 5 years for forcible rape by an educated man, and fleeing confinement would be light indeed. If he dies in prision good, he should have still been there from his original crime.

If Polanski wants to get off with a punch, he should get one from every adult who was raped as a child in the same year, he would not live through the 100's from LA alne.

Posted by: Muddy_Buddy_2000 | September 28, 2009 2:45 PM | Report abuse

The reason why we have courts, judges and trials is so that we don't have to find someone who commits a crime and sock them to exact justice. Polanski committed a crime and fled to avoid his sentence. Allowing him to get away without at the least facing the consequences of his flight is to make the rule of law arbitrary and random. We all know that poor powerless people are not given any support by people such as Annie Applebaum if they decide to flee their sentences and hide in Europe. Polanski must deal with the consequences of his actions, just like all the rest of us do.

Posted by: claritygraph | September 28, 2009 2:50 PM | Report abuse

I never thought this was about rape. The case was always about the "culture war" as we now call it. Sex, Drugs, Rock N Roll. Anti-war protests, Civil Rights, Women's Lib. Gay Rights. Studio 54.

Polanski's wife was vilified after she was murdered, accused of attending wild drug parties when she was 8 months pregnant. Polanski was too stunned to respond to such vicious crap. These were the "swift boaters" of the time.

Why did the 22 year old attract such hatred? She was beautiful, rich, married to the one of the most revered movie directors of that time. She had what most of us never would have, and a lot of people resented her for it. Susan Atkins said as much in the trial when she described how "exciting" it was to feel the embryo react to the knife, as Sharon begged her to stop. Just like Susan Atkins, the "boaters" felt no sympathy for Sharon Tate. Just hatred and envy. Rosemary's Baby won an award the previous year and a lot of religious moralists were mad. How could he make such a movie? How could Polanski allow his wife to engage in such behavior? Amazing. And disgraceful.

8 years later, this case comes along, and the 'swift boaters' now turn on Polanski. Why? They were still pissed that Polanski was still a popular figure. Here was the chance to make him pay. Polanski had no history of child abuse before or after this case. The case was plea bargained, and the judge reneged. The moralists were going to win this one!!! They were going to teach Hollywood a lesson!!!

The US was going to undo all of the cultural changes of the sixties once and for all. Polanski just found himself in the middle of a cultural backlash. The victim said the sex was consensual but it did not matter since she was 13 years old. Today she says the case should be dropped, but I guess her opinion does not matter now either.

There is no statue of limits for a person who flees from the US justice system, but there is a lot of reason to say that the miscarriage of justice occurred causing Polanski to take flight.

He was betrayed, pure and simple, by the judge.

Posted by: LeftGuy | September 28, 2009 2:52 PM | Report abuse

Who needs the courts, when Mr. Cohen and His Two Fists Of Justice is here to enforce the lay of the land. A more effective deterrent for antisocial behavior could not be hoped for.

And kudos, WaPo, on green-lighting this remarkable discourse. It makes me proud to be an American. Can you please have Punisher Cohen punch that nasty Bin Laden person next?

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

Good article. I don't understand the idea about time being a mitigating factor in this.

Seems to me that if Mr. Polanski was a Catholic priest no one would be using the "it was 30 years ago" excuse.

Posted by: jesseweiher1 | September 28, 2009 2:53 PM | Report abuse

topperale: "While I agree with you in principal, I have to note that you made one omission from your detailing of the extenuating circumstances. There is evidence, admittedly not strong evidence - but evidence nevertheless, that Polanski truly did not know the girl was underage."
Uh, no there isn't any evidence whatsoever. Polanski asked permission from the girl's mother to do two photo shoots. His claim that he didn't know she was underage is bunk.

Posted by: multiplepov | September 28, 2009 2:54 PM | Report abuse

While not dismissing the awfulness of what Polanski did... Cohen wrote about George Bush for 8 years.

What about socking George Bush in the mouth?

- For turning 9/11 into a war on Iraq
- For lying about mass destruction
- For instituting a policy of torture
- For wiretapping and lying about it to American citizens
- For violations of Habeas Corpus
- For turning our surplus into a massive debt and deregulating thereby destabilizing the economy to the point of collapse.
- For politicizing the Justice department to be used against political enemies

Cohen... why don't you grow a sack. Polanski is an easy target. Maybe you just want to look tough, but you and the rest of the media will always be cowards to me for what you let occur between 2001-2008.

Posted by: pdxgeek | September 28, 2009 2:54 PM | Report abuse

Look, the victim does not want to prosecute. That IS the end of it. All the rest of this moralizing is meaningless. THE VICTIM DOES NOT WANT TO PROSECUTE.

Case closed.

Posted by: nyrunner101 | September 28, 2009 2:56 PM | Report abuse

It doesn't matter how long ago the crime was; such considerations are irrelevant to a criminal violation without a statute of limitation.

It also doesn't matter how tragic his life has been; if actually relevant, such considerations may be taken up by the sentencing judge.

It is not for pundits, his fans, or foreign governments to determine his guilt, innocence, or just sentencing for a crime he committed in California. It is only for the authorities in California.

Posted by: pgbsan | September 28, 2009 2:57 PM | Report abuse

I cannot understand how anyone can simply write this crime off because Polanski is famous and has had other traumas in life to surmount. So why are the French so anxious to punish Nazis 50 years after the fact? Is being a guard at a prison camp any less heinous than raping a child? And citing his professional achievements as a reason not to prosecute him? That is simply an invitation for abuse of power.
As a survivor of sexual abuse, I have to say I think this man, no matter who he is, should pay for his crime. In my opinion, anyone who commits sexual abuse should (1) be neutered, and (2) be given a life sentence without possibility of parole. As we have seen, sexual predators generally commit their crimes again and again. It seems that society is more interested these days in protecting the predators, than in protecting those preyed upon. Jaycee Dugard and her family are perfect examples of the tragedy of letting her abductor/rapist back out in the community after a previous abductiions and rapes.

Posted by: CharleneW222 | September 28, 2009 2:57 PM | Report abuse

The victim said the sex was consensual but it did not matter since she was 13 years old. --LeftGuy

No, she didn't. Read the testimony. She said, "No" and "Stop". He didn't. His asking for and receiving permission to photograph her (so he had indication that she was a minor) plus the booze and Qualuudes indicate that this was NOT consensual.

Unless you consider adding GHB to someone's beverage 'consensual'?

Posted by: Skowronek | September 28, 2009 2:58 PM | Report abuse

nyrunner101: "THE VICTIM DOES NOT WANT TO PROSECUTE. Case closed."

Battered wives seldom want to prosecute. what's your point?

Posted by: jesseweiher1 | September 28, 2009 2:59 PM | Report abuse

Whether or not the victim wants to prosecute is also irrelevant. If she wanted that, she should have declined to press charges in 1977. Now that he has pleaded guilty, there is no more prosecution to go through. All that is left is the sentencing.

Posted by: pgbsan | September 28, 2009 3:00 PM | Report abuse

"The fact that the lawyers reached a plea agreement is in no way a promise made to the defendant. The judge still has final say, and its the same uncertainty that every defendant faces in court."

It's not that simple.

The judge actually communicated with Polanski's lawyers, telling them that if he agreed to admit guilt as part of a six month 'mental confinement' then he would in fact not sentence him to lengthy jail time.

Polanski did do.

Then the judge used that admission as grounds to renege on his deal.

Even the prosecutor in the case has gone on record saying Polanski was betrayed, and that the judge's motives were suspect at best.

Plus, the victim does not want prosecution.

Posted by: Hillman1 | September 28, 2009 3:01 PM | Report abuse

No......let ME at him first.

Where are the feminists on this? Is it that he is a cool, liberal director guy that the liberal fems look the other way?

Posted by: hz9604 | September 28, 2009 3:02 PM | Report abuse

Tough stance there, Mr. Cohen.

Bet you woke up the other morning and wondered for a few minutes whether you truly had the steadiness of moral fiber and purpose necessary to risk your all and take this thoroughly principled stand against pederasty.

Posted by: washpost29 | September 28, 2009 3:03 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

Posted by: jd121 | September 28, 2009 3:04 PM | Report abuse

Cohen's attitude is as unprincipled as Pat Buchanan's cry for mercy for the Nazi War Criminals' on the basis that their crimes are too far in the past and they should be immune from prosecution because they've been good boys since then.

Would he have advanced that same rule of "justice" for Eichmann or any other of the Nazi War Criminals?

Polanski pleaded guilty to raping a thirteen old child. His flight from sentencing can be rationalized away by anyone for almost any reason if one wishes to.

However, the fact remains that Cohen now calls for Polanski's absolution based upon the "rule of Cohen" rather than our Constitutional rule of law.

Wonder what his attitude would be if his daughter had been the victim.

Posted by: samscram1 | September 28, 2009 3:04 PM | Report abuse

Well, since the U.S. couldn't catch Bin Laden, at least we've finally nabbed Polanski.

Great expenditure or resources.

Posted by: joy321 | September 28, 2009 3:05 PM | Report abuse

OK, I'll buy a ticket to this one. In corner number one is Cohen. In corner number two is Polanski. My best guess is this fight will have to take place between 11 AM and Noon. There is little doubt in my mind either one or the other of these gentlemen will be sleeping or eating the other 23 hours of the day.

The victim in this case doesn't want to proceed. She sued old Roman the Reaper and settled out of court for an undisclosed amount of cash. She's made numerous requests of the PA Prosecutor's to dismiss the case. At this point she is more fed up with the LA Prosecutor's and the Press then she is at Polanski. (Note to the Justice System and the Press: Wake up and smell the roses. The victim thinks less of you then she the man who raped her when she was 13) That's a rather damning note, but when you have papers to sell and elections to win who cares about the victims wishes?

I'm still chuckling to myself visualizing Roman and Cohen going toe to toe. I'm sure Geritol would be happy to sponsor the match. The chances are about 100% they'd fall asleep before either one could even attempt a blow. Thanks for the humor.

Posted by: boblund1 | September 28, 2009 3:09 PM | Report abuse

It is kind of the victim to forgive Mr. Polanski, but that has no bearing on the need of society to prosecute child molesters. Many of you seem to want to forgive this guy because of who he is, yet you would want to personally castrate the "diddler next door".

This guy is the diddler next door.

Self exile to avoid punishment is not the same as punishment. He should serve a sentence as dictated by law and then have to serve additional time for his flight from justice. Period.

Posted by: howie14 | September 28, 2009 3:10 PM | Report abuse

mitt1968 - Maybe, instead of the 13-year-old, you should have been the one to bent over so that Polanski could have his way with you, since,obviously you would have loved it in view of your admiration for him.
Your comments are really ignorant and insulting to the victim. Grow up!!!

Posted by: Veridico | September 28, 2009 3:13 PM | Report abuse

Sorry, Richard Cohen; your resort to physical violence vs. Polanski won't be satisfactory. He needs to go to jail.

Posted by: ravitchn | September 28, 2009 3:15 PM | Report abuse

Mr. Cohen,

Nothing in Mr. Polanski's heritage, background, or fame has any bearing on this case. We have a justice system and a process. Let's use it. that's what it's there for. Judges, not columnists, ministers, or public opinion, are empowered to render decisions in these cases.

Equal justice for all is an ideal we don't reach every single time, but it shouldn't be because we didn't want to try. Whenever we provide different justice to people because of who they are (not what they've done), Western Civilization crumbles just a little bit more. Bring Mr. Polanski to court. Have him stand before a judge. Let the judge render what he deems is just. Why would you not do anything else?

Posted by: GeorgeGipp | September 28, 2009 3:19 PM | Report abuse

LeftGuy said

"I never thought this was about rape".

Well, you thought wrong.

Posted by: jboogie1 | September 28, 2009 3:25 PM | Report abuse

so why not bring him back with the stipulation that the original plea deal goes into effect? then "justice is served" and everyone walks away "happy".

yes, yes, he did a bad thing. but if he'd elected to fight the charge many years ago he might not have been convicted at all. sounds to me like the whole situation could have been avoided if the government had played it straight from the beginning.

Posted by: rm0659 | September 28, 2009 3:29 PM | Report abuse

Thanks for the sanity.

The girl was 13. Polansky was 41 - this argument that he did not know how old she was is a complete crock, a true outrage. How could he not know? Roman wasn't a ghetto kid, he was a grown man, a brilliant film director. He didn't know? C'mon. This little girl duped him into thinking he was forcing her against his will to do multiple sex acts with him when it was an elaborate set-up? What?

Anyway, since when does not knowing the minor's age get someone off for statutory rape? Never. It was his responsibilty to know. And, by the way, he forcibly raped her, and rape regardless of the age of the victim is against the law.

The latest outrage, is the innuendo that the young woman's parents plotted to get her raped. Did not happen, not even a shred of evidence that was the case, and if they did, then they would also be rapists and would have been tried with Roman. But the DA's office did not bring child abuse charges against the parents because the parents did not abuse or pimp their daughter out. That whole story is the fantasy concocted by his defense team. All this, is much to the chagrin of the paranoid Hollywood elite who are sure everyone is plotting to seduce them so that they can be blackmailed, forced to give an actor a part in a film or be sued for some of their obscene fortunes of money. O the great sufferings of the rich and famous, how can any of us peons possibly understand what they go through?

Polanski drugged and forced this little girl to have sex with him. How would any of his defenders feel about that if she was their child? Would they say, oh its okay because he was so high on drink and drugs and sexed up he couldn't tell how old she was? So we love you for your movies and naturally forgive you because the Nazie killed your mother and the Manson familty killed your wife.

The girl was mortified by all the publicity, so they did not want it to go to trial, that is why the prosecutor didn't pursue even more serious charges.
The lady is now married and does not want to go through this humiliating experience anymore but the man already admitted to the crime - this is not a re-trial, he fled the sentencing.

No one, because of money and fame and talent should be given a free ride to rape a child.

If the horrible crimes that led to his mother's and his wife's death taught Roman Polanski anything, it should have been
not to abuse the weak and defenseless and cause them and their families suffering. Instead he took advantage of a naive little girl.

Posted by: maddymappo | September 28, 2009 3:33 PM | Report abuse

Cohen is an idiot. An earlier poster is correct: Cohen is always making allusions to acts of physical prowess; this coming from a guy who looks like Professor Lil'Ol'Man in Mel Brook's "High Anxiety."

Posted by: MrRedskin21 | September 28, 2009 3:34 PM | Report abuse

I've no sympathy for Polanski on this behavior.

But Cohen - spare me the moral outrage. You beat the drums for an illegal invasion of Iraq, which lead to 10s of thousands of deaths and millions of refugees. You need to reflect on your own hubris, your will to power over other people. (For some people, empire is more gratifying than sex.) Make a sincere apology, demonstrate contrition. And maybe show a comprehension of the perspective of Palestinians in the ongoing strife in Israel.

Until then, it is just another example of your self-righteous attitude.

Posted by: j2hess | September 28, 2009 3:38 PM | Report abuse

If you think Chinatown has a muddled script, then you truly are an idiot.

Posted by: cythera45 | September 28, 2009 3:40 PM | Report abuse

If you're rich enough and famous enough you can get away with anything. If this crime had been done by an average unknown citizen, they would end up in the slammer and child molesters don't last long in jail. So I guess our taxes will pay for a trial for this POS.

Posted by: Baltimore11 | September 28, 2009 3:45 PM | Report abuse

Beside, Cohen is a sexual harasser. Read this, from The Observer:

when Mr. Cohen himself was accused of engaging in "inappropriate behavior" toward Devon Spurgeon, a 23-year-old editorial aide at the paper, Post management went into its own form of crisis mode: Staff members are forbidden to discuss the matter, the participants in the dispute have been frozen out by superiors, and Post executive editor Leonard Downie Jr. is refusing to comment. The episode has increased tensions between the sexes at the paper, Post staff members have said, and has exposed a rift between a salty old guard and younger colleagues grappling with the complicated issues of interoffice gender politics....

Despite his displeasure with Ms. Spurgeon's job performance, Mr. Cohen seems to have sought out her opinion on matters relevant to his column. After reading a Lewinsky-related article that referred to oral sex as "casual sex," Mr. Cohen engaged Ms. Spurgeon in a discussion on the subject that other staff members found offensive. Staff members said that Mr. Cohen sometimes used foul language in the office and that he remarked on Ms. Spurgeon's appearance, telling her she "looked good in black," according to a Post staff member. On another occasion, the staff member said, Mr. Cohen asked Ms. Spurgeon to "stand up and turn around."...

Let me at him!

Posted by: cythera45 | September 28, 2009 3:45 PM | Report abuse

If he were a 25 year old SS guard who had done the same thing to a young girl at a concentration camp would anyone think avoiding capture for 40 years w/o doing it again would mean he should not be pursued?

Posted by: mgferrebee | September 28, 2009 3:56 PM | Report abuse

It isn't enough that even though her mother sold her to Polanski and just because Polanski paid her off that he should get off with just a punch in the jaw. That would be bad public policy and it would say that rich men can get away with crimes that poor cannot. He must be returned and he must be put into prison.

Posted by: aloysius1 | September 28, 2009 4:01 PM | Report abuse

Cohen having a fistfight with Polanski makes me lol.

Posted by: squier13 | September 28, 2009 4:02 PM | Report abuse

I bet this is just more Chicago politics. We give up extradition of Polanski in exchange for European support for a Chicago Olympics.

Posted by: SUMB44 | September 28, 2009 4:10 PM | Report abuse

Does Richard Cohen also believe Demjanjuk should have charges dropped against him?

It has been a lot longer since his alleged crimes and he certainly has suffered more than Polanski ever did.

Posted by: inkflute | September 28, 2009 4:15 PM | Report abuse

Maybe he thought that it was ok to play around with the kid. Her mom advertised on tv that "You get your way". He just took it to mean a child and not a car.

Posted by: msjn1 | September 28, 2009 4:24 PM | Report abuse

Why is it ok for jews to call anyone who says anything about jews all kinds of vile names and insults, but anti semitic when the reverse is true?

And has anyone considered that the mother of the girl authorized her 13 year old to go to the home of a hollywood celebrity for a 'photo shoot'? Could it have been a set up?
a quarter of a lude is drugging someone?
What a crock. Also, there are 13 year olds who will trip you and beat you to the floor.
Going to jail for a simple consensual sex act is ludricous.
Not so long ago in this country, 13 year olds were getting married. And still are in other parts of the world. Only the sanctimonious jerk offs in this country can so holier than thou. Nothing wrong with them that slapping the s___ out of them wouldn't cure.

Posted by: froggy57 | September 28, 2009 4:29 PM | Report abuse

I always wonder why some people get so exercised over other people's sexual transgressions. Is Cohen's ire up to facing Polanski? For all we know, Polanski might be athletic enough to return Richard's punch three-fold. Then what would you write about, Richard?

Is it worse to seduce a 13-year old (I'm not excusing that at all but it's not the worst thing a person could do) in comparison, say, to bringing about a war responsible for more than 4000 American deaths, how many lifelong cripplings, and how many Iraqi deaths? In fact, the responsibility for the war is way worse even than what Madoff did, isn't it? While we're being outraged, how would you compare Polanski's crime to the one or ones responsible for burying under a bulldozer the young American Jewish woman who went to Israel to protest the treatment of Palestinians?

Posted by: dicka1 | September 28, 2009 4:34 PM | Report abuse

Mr Polanski is a genius artist.
Mr Polanski appears to have suffered a lapse in judgement.
Mr Polanski appears to have done no great harm to the victim.
Mr Polanski fled the jurisdiction.

That is a crime, and for that he must be punished.
He had the resources in 1978 to appeal his sentence, to
hire good attorneys, to pursue his legal options.
Venue shopping via PanAm is not acceptable.
I'm willing to see him get time served for his sex crime,
but for fleeing justice? That's a year.

Posted by: patb | September 28, 2009 4:44 PM | Report abuse

Really this was kind of pathetic. I don't think Cohen could beat up a 13 year old. The crime Polanski committed was evil and then he ran from justice and lived in luxury (France naturally). Perhaps Mr. Cohen you can deal with reality next time. You're going to beat Polanski up? Even as a rhetorical device that is dimwitted and a joke.

Posted by: bcd_2001 | September 28, 2009 5:01 PM | Report abuse

Mr Cohen, are you aware that "having his way with her" included ANAL sex? First he drugged her, then had intercourse with her, then had anal intercourse with her. A 13 YEAR OLD!

Polanski is one sick human being that has demonstrated a capacity to take advantage of another human being in an incredibly vile and sadistic manner.

Mr Cohen, if this were your daughter who was violated by Polanski, would a "bust in the mouth" be appropriate punishment? If so, then it shows that you have no moral character.

Posted by: 4dawgswoof | September 28, 2009 5:13 PM | Report abuse

Im not surprised to hear this form you Cohen. Since you bring up the holocaust, first of all, Polanski did NOT survive the holocaust. He escaped it.

His father survived the holocaust and sadly his mother did not. So dont put him on a pedestal for something he did not go through.

Secondly, he is a pedophile who did not serve time and is a fugitive on top of that. Thats a double whammy for people like you and me. He needs to rot and die in jail

Finally, let me draw up a parallel for you. The recent deportation of a Nazi guard from the US to the Hague. He was in his nineties and had some terminal illness!! We still kicked his ass to the Hague. If time were a factor as you suggest, why wasn't he spared??? Do I detect a double standard Cohen?? Nope. Im staring at it.

What if Polanski's first name was Hussein? Eh Cohen?

Posted by: RandomGuy | September 28, 2009 5:16 PM | Report abuse

...shouldn't somebody be issuing warrants on Cheney, Bush, etc. for war crimes. I certainly wouldn't mind seeing Cheney detained at the airport in Geneva or Berne the next time he tries to travel overseas.

Posted by: topperale

Topper, I doubt that Cheney will ever again travel abroad, and not for fear of being arrested. Very few of the Bushies ever left the US. That's because they were, and are, totally uncurious about the rest of the world, except when they're looking for a new source of oil.

Remember when Cheney showed up at an Auschwitz memorial service dressed as if he were going ice fishing? Their utter ignorance of, and disdain for, other countries and cultures is how they let 9/11 happen and then blundered into two unwinnable wars.

Posted by: angelas1 | September 28, 2009 5:17 PM | Report abuse

I don't think the Swiss will extradite him, but I do agree that his talent and past tragedies should have no bearing on how we or the justice system should regard his odious actions in 1977. If Polanski had done what he did to Geimer in 1977, to a 13 year old today in the United States, he might very well be looking at spending the rest of natural life behind bars. Another point -- what was the mother's role in all of this?????

Posted by: creatia52 | September 28, 2009 5:30 PM | Report abuse

Who does Cohen thinks he fools
with his lists and lists of "it shouldn't matter that...."

Then there's bit about Cohen's Moral Prudery.
What a twisted piece of work khe is.

Posted by: whistling | September 28, 2009 5:31 PM | Report abuse

I have no clue why some of you deem it appropriate to mention events that have absolutely nothing to do with the Polanski matter, i.e., the Israeli/Palestinian situation, but clueless anti-Semites that you are, well I am sure you felt compelled to reference it ad nauseum. And for your information, Rachel Corrie was in a closed military zone where she had no business being when she died. But here are the germane facts in the Polanski affair: Roman Polanski skipped bail. He forfeited his bond. He is a fugitive from American justice for this reason alone. The underlying crime for which he was charged is still legally relevant, as he never submitted to legal authority for disposition of his crimes. The bond-skipping charge is important and the time factor is not relevant. The victim's belief that Polanski should not be bothered anymore by the authorities is likewise not relevant. Cohen's assertion that France does not extradite sex offenders is incorrect, even based on laws in existence at that time. France kicked Yasser Arafat out of the country years ago for molesting an eight-year old boy, so you see, they do still have some interest in addressing sexual crimes. In Polanski's case there is no dispute that a crime was committed. We are now speaking of bringing a felon to justice on an outstanding warrant. Better to ask why the US waited so long for this detainment to occur when Polanski travels all over Europe and does not hide in either France or Poland? The US could have made any European country's life hell for harboring him for so long and chose not to. Polanski's legal advice thirty-odd years ago should have been to tell him that US law included due process, including the right to appeal to higher courts if he was found guilty at the time. His fear that he might serve time for thirty years to life notwithstanding, he escaped justice and should be brought back to the US for trial. At the least, California could use the new bail bond money to fix its financial situation when he skips out again.

Posted by: rlgrennie1 | September 28, 2009 5:33 PM | Report abuse

Not all holocaust survivors are child rapists and it is unfair to say too bad Hitler didn't kill Polanski too and save this child .

Posted by: borntoraisehogs | September 28, 2009 5:43 PM | Report abuse

Cohen Applebaum Polanski, hmmm some commonality in there somewhere.

Posted by: AIPACiswar | September 28, 2009 5:58 PM | Report abuse

Both Jewish WaPo contributors, Cohen and Applebaum would set him free. Mr. Polanski, as it turns out, is also Jewish not to mention quite famous. Would they be so willing to offer absolution if his surname name was Hamad known or unknown?

Posted by: wturecki | September 28, 2009 6:01 PM | Report abuse

This isn't hard, Cohen. It doesn't even begin to be hard.

It boils down to this:

"Equal justice under law"

If you're in DC, take a walk past the Supreme Court and look up. It's carved in stone right up there. Try to keep it in your memory.

Posted by: vanderleun | September 28, 2009 6:04 PM | Report abuse

"He seduced -- if that can possibly be the word -- the 13-year-old"

No, actually, that cannot possibly be the word. "Drugged and Raped" -- I think that's the phrase you were looking for.

Posted by: Addie_Loggins | September 28, 2009 6:05 PM | Report abuse

I think we should find a tall tree, and well...hang him from it by his testicles!

Posted by: TheNations | September 28, 2009 6:05 PM | Report abuse

"Let Polanski go -- but first let me at him."

Does anyone else find Cohen's frequent shows of brave machismo lately (from the safety of his editorial page) a bit pathetic?

And is anyone else as disgusted as I that the entire WaPo editorial team has weighed in on Polanski, but at no time during his 8-year reign of lies could they find the time to broach the subject of George W. Bush's impeachment? I guess sex sells, but the deaths of a million Iraqi civilians to enrich your campaign contributors is not really germane to the WaPo editorial page.

Posted by: B2O2 | September 28, 2009 6:09 PM | Report abuse

If people think Polanski can't be forgiven - why were so many willing to forgive Michael Jackson? This raises the question of children at puberty who mature too fast.

Some of the children are not only sexually active - some are sexual predators themselves. Some of these children have parents who are exploiting them for profit. Some of them could be accused of pimping their own kids.

Yet, many wish to honor Michael Jackson's great achievement as a talented musician and entertainer. Since OJ walked and got off scot-free - a lot of folks want to hang everybody who is famous - except Michael Jackson. Isn't this a little schizoid?

Posted by: alance | September 28, 2009 6:17 PM | Report abuse

Liberals always have an excuse to let a perv go.

And just how did he survive the Holocaust? I thought the Germans executed all the women and children upon entry to the extermination camps and the men were saved for slave labor?

Posted by: combat18 | September 28, 2009 6:18 PM | Report abuse

Mr Cohen,
Excuse me, but who made you the long arm of the law? Either ask to have him prosecuted for his ancient crime or say (like Applebaum says) that he should be let go. Let Cohen punch him is not one of the options available, thank God.

Posted by: Clio1 | September 28, 2009 6:24 PM | Report abuse

bring your lunch.
polanski would kick your butt.

Posted by: surlydoc | September 28, 2009 6:35 PM | Report abuse


polanski never made it to a concentration camp.

he was confined in a ghetto, and escaped from there andl ived off the good will of others until the end of the war.

Posted by: surlydoc | September 28, 2009 6:39 PM | Report abuse

Mr. Cohen, I don't believe your fists will be able to satisfy the demands of justice. For his own sake, Polanski needs to face the music.

Posted by: azke | September 28, 2009 6:40 PM | Report abuse


Posted by: blasmaic | September 28, 2009 6:41 PM | Report abuse

Worth cross-posting from the comments after Applebaum's Polanski column - from the poster mateosf:

"Well, give Anne Applebaum credit for having a sense of irony. Her right-wing spidey sense must be tingling, as the "deeper story" is the fear many neocons like Applebaum have that their idols (Kissinger, Doug Feith, Cheney, etc.) could face similar fates for the war crimes they're currently being tried for in a few EU nations. Once convicted, like Kissinger (and make no mistake - these men are guilty of war crimes, by their own admissions), if they ever set foot in a European nation that respects the rule of law - it'll be Polanski, but with broader consequences."

Posted by: B2O2 | September 28, 2009 6:46 PM | Report abuse

Cohen didn't state the real reason he want Polanski's release. Americans have nothing on Third World countries when it comes to misogyny. It's been Open Season on women for a long time. See - tax payer supported misogyny.

He's a fugitive. Which is a Separate issue.

Posted by: info12 | September 28, 2009 6:47 PM | Report abuse

Thanks for this measured and thoughtful opinion. Applebaum's clueless and insensitive piece yesterday threw me into a tailspin of memories of my own encounter with such a man. I'm not into vengeance--I'll leave all that to fate and the courts. Again, thank you for your opinion--thoughtful people may disagree about this. But Applebaum's rationalized dismissal of it was too much to bear.

Posted by: sjohnston1 | September 28, 2009 6:52 PM | Report abuse

Why is one accused of being a "prude" if one thinks that a middle-aged man who drugged and sodomized a 13-year-old girl should be held legally accountable for his acts? The only reason we are even discussing this case is because he is rich, famous, and white.

Posted by: Ladyrantsalot | September 28, 2009 6:53 PM | Report abuse

People claim this guy is a great Director?
Have him make the best movie of what he did to that girl and how he avoided justice.
The revenue goes to rehabilitating the young victims of our nation.

Posted by: sunliteco | September 28, 2009 7:25 PM | Report abuse

What would a Holocaust survivor such as Polanski think of the 'it was a long time ago, leave me alone I have suffered enough' defense of a Nazi Prison guard who fled to a mansion in Rio or Argentina? The French do themselves no favors.

Posted by: mikey999 | September 28, 2009 7:26 PM | Report abuse

According to a NY Times comment Polanski's crime is nothing compared to the crime of black men who repeatedly rape their woman, even underaged girls. He claimed that most black births were the result of rape. Wow! Let's imprison all black males: that would solve many different sorts of problems, hein?

Posted by: ravitchn | September 28, 2009 7:27 PM | Report abuse

" let you at him "

Cohen,, You're kidding me right ?

Cohen, that stack of dimes,,, you call biceps,,, would be lucky to open a jar of Planters dry roasted nuts.

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

It's all right with me if you stop injecting yourself into matters in which you are not involved. An opinion is one thing, a personal retribution quite another. And yes, I know it was merely a rhetorical device - a foolish one.

Posted by: daphne5 | September 28, 2009 7:30 PM | Report abuse

Polanski's sordid life aside: "Chinatown" "muddled"? Good grief! But then, people Cohen's age can have trouble keeping track of things.

Mandatory retirement age for WaPo op-ed regulars; just do it.

Posted by: misterjrthed | September 28, 2009 7:31 PM | Report abuse

A punch in the chops is sufficient punishment for the rape of a thirteen year old girl? Oh, well, sure it's been 30 years, so that makes such a rediculous punishment sufficient. Are you kidding me? How about instead we let him try to survive in a maximum security prison's general population for a month. If he's alive when the 30 days is up, he can go free.

Posted by: tsobserver | September 28, 2009 7:37 PM | Report abuse

What is in the WAPO water these days? Its turning those who should be rational studied people into elitist snobs with noses so far up in the air, they're in danger of drowning in a spring shower. Get your head out of the clouds (or your own sphincter) and get with the program. The drugging, boozing and raping of a just barely tuned teenager by a 44 year old man is a srious crime that does not go away with time. It is an affront to the sence of justice held by good Americans regardless of the victim's feelings. Change the water supplier over there!

Posted by: MDDem1 | September 28, 2009 7:39 PM | Report abuse

Like most people born around 1964, I first heard of Roman Polanski in connection with this nasty story and only later learned of his having directed Chinatown, Academy Award, and marriage to Manson murder victim.

However, I can't remember for the life of me ever having stumbled across the victim's name before. What did this add to the commentary? Is there no editor here? I am sure it's been in the public domain for some time, but if I had never seen it, that means some giant number of people had never seen it -- such as, perhaps, friends of any children or grandchildren she may have, neighbors, people she socializes with 30+ years later, etc. Jeez! Instead of popping 76-year-old geezers in the nose, why don't we give space and respect to middle-aged ladies who had to put up with their creepy sexual stuff way back when. Wouldn't that be more in the spirit of chivalry?

I'm serious, isn't there any editor at the Post any more? Ms. Weymouth, you are not that much younger than me -- what do you think of this?

Posted by: ruthannewilliams | September 28, 2009 8:05 PM | Report abuse

Another reason not to pursue this is that it will become another way for GOPers and Dems to bash each other over the heads, with justice being second banana to those who wish to politicize the whole thing. It should be about the facts of the case, it should be about whether a person accused of this sort of thing can truly expect justice or merely revenge, and it should be about protecting the victim from further harassment by both her supporters and detractors. Instead it will become another media circus much like the OJ Simpson trial.

Posted by: jpsbr2002 | September 28, 2009 8:05 PM | Report abuse

It is telling that Mr. Cohen chose to mention the movie "Chinatown" without pointing out a couple of eery parallels it shares with the subject of his own column.

"Chinatown" happens to include the story of a rich and powerful man who has raped his own daughter, tries to cover it up with murder, and will likely repeat evil with his grandaughter, a byproduct of the prior incest.

By the end of the movie the man -- child molestor and murderer -- gets away with his crimes, despite having been discovered. A closing shot shows him clutching his frightened and vulnerable granddaughter, leaving the audience disturbed by concern for her well-being.

To watch the movie unfold is to experience a marvel of storytelling. The script is one of the most masterfully layered in Hollywood history, muddled only perhaps to those with muddled minds.

Posted by: mrmf | September 28, 2009 8:07 PM | Report abuse

"There are two extenuating circumstances in Polanski's case." This statement is complete idiocy. And right, Cohen. Hit him with your purse.

Posted by: Bailey7 | September 28, 2009 8:19 PM | Report abuse

Ya know, it's kind of surprising to hear so many folks arguing for clemency for Polanski based on the evils done to him.

I'm somehow sure they would not find a similar clemency in their heart for a homeboy who raped a 13 year old girl, but who'd been horrifically abused as a kid.

This is about people empathizing with who Polanski IS--a talented artist, a wealthy man, a member of the international elite--than about a genuine sense he shouldn't be responsible for his actions because of who he WAS. People want to enjoy his movies without guilt, to go to parties with his friends and fans without being a moral scold. So they find ways of excusing his inexcusable actions.

The guy deserves to serve his time like anybody who drugs and rapes a child.

And of course you can still enjoy his movies. He wouldn't be the first deviant who's a really talented artist. Shut up and enjoy the movie, if it's a good movie.

Posted by: theorajones1 | September 28, 2009 8:28 PM | Report abuse

In the old days, musicians. painters and other artists were regularly commissioned by aristocrats and rich people to produce work, many of them master-pieces. I wonder who commissioned Mr. Cohen's article. But this one is not even good (he could have added something like the victim has seen Chinatown 50 times and considers Polanski her greatest idol, etc.). For heavens sake, this guy pleaded guilty! Just being Jewish and a Haulocast surviver does not make him ineligible for jail (I think?).

Mr. Cohen's next commissioned work - to argue that Madof should be freed immediately.

Posted by: KT11 | September 28, 2009 8:54 PM | Report abuse

I know a guy who got a year in jail for possession of six Vicodins. There was no victim whatsoever, he didn't hurt a soul, but they still threw the book at him. My friend is an artist too, but he's not rich. I have zero sympathy for this millionaire celebrity criminal who has spent the last three decades in luxury with impunity.

Also I wish people would stop referring to his foul, foul crime as "statutory rape." The definition of rape is when one person forces another person to have sex against the second person's will. "Statutory rape" is quite a different matter, where the second person was perfectly willing to have sex but was underage according to the statute that applies in their state. So naturally, when people hear "statutory rape" they assume that the victim was willing and cooperative; that this was not a crime which hurt an unwilling victim but merely the technical transgression of a law.

However, according to the statement of Polanski's victim, she said, and I quote her sworn testimony:

"No... No I won't, keep away... No, come on, stop it..."

yet Polanski forced himself upon her anyway. Yes, she was also underage, but that wasn't merely "statutory rape," that's just plain rape, pure and simple.

Posted by: wkiernan2 | September 28, 2009 8:56 PM | Report abuse

Couple of points...

If you were at all interested in this case, you would have heard the victim's name several times in the past twenty years or so. Every time Polanski releases a film, details of the crime are trotted out, people interview the victim, talk on and on about the showboating lawyer, and so on.

I'm not certain what the situation was in CA back in those days, but it seems that "unlawful sex with a minor" carries a 5 year maximum penalty today.

It's been mentioned, not here but in other publications on this case, though never (that I've seen) conclusively proven, that the victim's mother gave her the Quaalude, not Polanski. It's also been said, by people who were present at the photo shoot that the girl had done drugs before and was not virginal. I have (obviously) no way of knowing if that is true or not, 30 years later, but it does lend credence to the suggestion that, at least at the outset, it may have seemed consensual. That, of course, does not remove culpability if the victim later withdrew that consent.

That there has not been any mention, since that time, of Polanski having improper relations with a child or adolescents, this indicates that he's not really a pedophile, hebephile or ephebophile. That, again, doesn't excuse this one case, but it does indicate (again) that the scenario is not as clear-cut as some would like to think.

Personally, I think the best course of action would be for an independent judge to review the findings of the original trial, apply the sentence in accordance with the laws of the time, and then add whatever the penalty is (if any) for skipping out on bail. This could all have been handled via the appeals court in its day.

Posted by: psienesis | September 28, 2009 8:56 PM | Report abuse

The victim is still alive, and is now a grown adult woman.

She is the only one who can assess the damage that Polanski has done, and as an adult, she is now competent to do so.

She should be the one to decide what happens to Polanski.

Posted by: poperatzo | September 28, 2009 9:11 PM | Report abuse

Polanski can come back to the U.S. and make all these arguments. But a fleeing convicted felon deserves no sympathy until he is back before a judge. It is amazing that Cohen and Applebaum think that he is worthy of unusual sympathy.

Posted by: Delongl | September 28, 2009 9:25 PM | Report abuse

Excuse me, but don't we go after Priests who commited sexual acts long ago on children?

Posted by: october30 | September 28, 2009 9:31 PM | Report abuse

Why don't make sex between an adult and a 13 year old girl legal for all?

Well, I am not sure if could actually do it, because there is that scary thought of good old Cohen coming after me.

Cohen you have completely lost it?

What happened to the Editors of the WP, have you lost it too allowing such a tasteless piece to be published?

Posted by: wassiv | September 28, 2009 10:09 PM | Report abuse

Let the jury decide. That is the law that applies to all......

(except the rich with connections)

Posted by: likovid | September 28, 2009 10:16 PM | Report abuse

Richard Cohen is a tough guy!


Posted by: rick_desper | September 28, 2009 10:29 PM | Report abuse

If he served his proper sentence, he would have been required to register as a sex offender and he would have not been able to live the free and easy life that he has lived - just because you become a fugitive does not give you a pass from jail. Or if it does - how much time is enough - 30 years, 20, 10, 2 weeks? Maybe it's the money that is giving you a skewed perspective - if he was ugly and poor would you also say let him go? If so, there are a bunch of people in prison who also say they've suffered enough - yes, that's right, poor Roman has suffered in this life with his money and homes in France and Switzerland.

Waaait, I get it - you graduated from the same high school as Bernie Madoff - you are both amoral. So creepy.

Posted by: sh522 | September 28, 2009 10:31 PM | Report abuse

Is everyone forgetting....Polanski, a 44 year old man, CONFESSED to the RAPE (oral, vaginal and sodomy) of a 13 year old child, after coaxing and intimidating her in to getting drunk (on Champagne) and giving her drugs (half a tablet of Qualude). These are not allegations, he has confessed to them. He then was not man enough to face punishment but fled like a common criminal. A 40 yr old Paedophile who intoxicates and sodomizes a 13 yr old child....everyone rising to his defense should have their heads examined.

Posted by: AJ1806 | September 28, 2009 10:31 PM | Report abuse

Polanski is a child rapist who fled justice.

He should serve a life sentence without the possibility of parole if for no other reason than to send an appropriate message to other child predators.

His enablers on this board are beneath contempt.

Posted by: egdusa | September 28, 2009 10:41 PM | Report abuse

The lynch mob mentality is alive and well in America.

This entire episode reminds me that America's time as a respected bastion of freedom is at a close. As with Berlin circa 1932, it is now time to leave, while the leaving is still easy.

Posted by: DupontJay | September 28, 2009 10:45 PM | Report abuse

If you go after Polanski you are anti-semite, right Cohen and Applebaum and all of you?

Posted by: RIVASF1@WESTAT.COM | September 28, 2009 10:56 PM | Report abuse

"It's been mentioned, not here but in other publications on this case, though never (that I've seen) conclusively proven, that the victim's mother gave her the Quaalude, not Polanski. It's also been said, by people who were present at the photo shoot that the girl had done drugs before and was not virginal. I have (obviously) no way of knowing if that is true or not, 30 years later, but it does lend credence to the suggestion that, at least at the outset, it may have seemed consensual."

Let's take this point by point.

1) Mom--if she were drugging her daughter so Roman could rape her, don't you think she would have been charged with child endangerment and lost custody?

2) Dragging a rape victim's past sexual history into court isn't done anymore. It shouldn't have been brought up at all. The girl was 13 years old. Let me repeat that. THIRTEEN YEARS OLD.

3) She said no. She said stop. He didn't. That is rape at any age.

4) He had to get a parent's permission to photograph or audition her. If she were NOT a minor, why would he have bothered to ask for permission?

IF the judge had done what Polanski heard through the rumour mill (mess with the plea agreement and punishment), Polanski would have been able to appeal it. Clearly, he had the bucks then as well as now. But no, he opted to flee the country.

As for what he's done or not done since, well, Natassja Kinski was 15 when he was involved with her.

It was no kangaroo court, he had recourse to appeals and lawyers, etc. He simply didn't like what the rumour mill was grinding out and decided he wasn't going to be held accountable for pleading GUILTY to a CRIME.

Posted by: Skowronek | September 28, 2009 10:59 PM | Report abuse

To the poster who commented on statute of limitations. Most likely, California had a fairly brief statute of limitations for crimes such as the one in this case. That's not necessarily the issue right now. Polanski is a fugitive, regardless of your beliefs. The question is, does the US allow fugitives to get off scot-free because too much time has passed?

By the way, some states have NO statute of limitations on rape.

I am incredulous that anyone would advocate that Polanski avoid his punishment for any reason. It's no better than allowing priests who molested children to go unpunished. Who's to say that Polanski hasn't continued to get away with it all these years, with other 13-year-old girls?

Posted by: readerny | September 28, 2009 11:01 PM | Report abuse

I wonder if Mr. Cohen would apply the same logic to pedophile Catholic priests?

Polanski raped a child. For that, he should spend the rest of his life in prison. His defenders are disgusting.

Posted by: OverworkedUnderpaid | September 28, 2009 11:03 PM | Report abuse

It's so disappointing that there are so many editorialists calling for clemency. I have to give Cohen credit for not saying that Polanski should be let go because: his wife was killed, the holocaust, etc etc.

However, the point is that Polanski did drug and rape a child; this is not even in dispute. That it was 30 years ago, or that he has been clean ever since, is not at all relevant. That his victim forgives him is not at all relevant. What does this say to rape victims today? That the crime of rape really isn't that serious? That you should get over it in 30 years? You're expected to be the bigger person and forgive the man who molested you? This is insanity.

And this isn't about some puritanical American law which makes no sense; in which country would raping a child be acceptable? And yes, at age 13, that's not even a grey area, you are most definitely a child at 13.

Posted by: rhadamanthus | September 28, 2009 11:12 PM | Report abuse

I have to admit, that I find it appalling that all these vociferations quite scary!

Mark Twain, was quite concerned about trials by jury... for good reasons.

I have read a bit about this case, which looks as muddy as Michael Jackson's... and Charly Chaplin's cases, there is a background of blackmailing, perhaps lynching the stranger?

In this I am afraid we will never know the truth.
By the way, was plea bargain settled? If so, then why did the prosecutor not keep his commitment?

Why is it not such a public outrage against priests who sodomized hundred of children, with lots of open witnesses depositions, and much less doubts? Most of them were never tried: statute of limitation.

It is difficult to say, but here if the (consenting) victim, wants mercy, who are we thirty years later to insist on harsh punishments, when a new trial is quite difficult?

Let's stop the lynching.
Time to move on.

Posted by: Pezenas | September 28, 2009 11:12 PM | Report abuse

This column makes absolutely no sense. Let him go, but lemme at him. This would get an F in journalism class.

Posted by: kls1 | September 28, 2009 11:19 PM | Report abuse

You are 100% wrong re Polanski. What message does it send to other perverts, child molesters? Had he not produced great films or been a great writer or musician or painter, would the desire to cut him slack lessen? He deserves to pay for his crime just like any other convicted societal miscreant. Perversities to children are not forgiveable and must be punished. Otherwise, what is the definition of a socially responsible society? Harm the children and there is no social responsibility. Joan Harlin

Posted by: joanharlin | September 28, 2009 11:38 PM | Report abuse

With Applebaum and now Cohen, the Washington Post has declared itself in favor of child rape.

Posted by: OverworkedUnderpaid | September 28, 2009 11:45 PM | Report abuse

I disagree. He should be held accountable for 1) drugging and raping a 13 year old girl (vaginal and anal rape + the child kept saying no and feared for her life) and 2 for fleeing from justice.

Posted by: notfromDC | September 28, 2009 11:53 PM | Report abuse

The lynch mob mentality is alive and well in America.

This entire episode reminds me that America's time as a respected bastion of freedom is at a close. As with Berlin circa 1932, it is now time to leave, while the leaving is still easy.

Posted by: DupontJay | September 28, 2009 10:45 PM


So long. Don't let the door bang you on the butt on your way out.

BTW, take all your pedophile friends with you. I highly recommend France as a destination. You will fit right in there and, speaking of Berlin circa 1932, give us even less motivation to save it the next time it is invaded.

Posted by: hisroc | September 28, 2009 11:54 PM | Report abuse

gee, explain to me again how you feel about pursuing priest pedophiles in the court system.
"but first let me at him" ...Mr. Cohen, judge and jury.
How much time do you spend on thinking before you write?

Posted by: PaulLeddy | September 28, 2009 11:56 PM | Report abuse

Btw, "alright" is not AP style.

Posted by: kls1 | September 28, 2009 11:57 PM | Report abuse

Isn't it reassuring that we have Cohen to stand up for all that is good and decent and bust Polanski one in the mouth? Really, what is it with these WaPost commentators that they have so much understanding towards a pedophile who drugged and raped a girl? First Applebaum and now this?! It doesn't matter how long ago it was. It doesn't matter about his Holocaust connections. It doesn't matter that he's a famous director. He committed a crime and should do the time in the same way that a less wealthy, less famous, less connected person surely would do. Applebaum and Cohen really should be ashamed, and more importantly, so should the WaPost for posting this pathetic drivel.

Posted by: toch2 | September 29, 2009 12:17 AM | Report abuse

Cohen - why are you, like almost everyone else commenting on the Polanski case, so afraid of using the right word here: rape?

The girl was not seduced or taken to bed. She was RAPED. There was no consent. She was 13 and she didn't want to have anal, vaginal and oral sex with him. Please use the adequate word.

Were it your daughter, I doubt a punch in Polanski's face would do it for you.

Posted by: asoders22 | September 29, 2009 1:41 AM | Report abuse

Mr. Cohen, apparently the Alzheimer's is finally taking hold - this column is just too much! You insinuate that the elder Polanski should be let off for "time not served", but only after you bust him one? Surely you must be joking. What the incident is about is pedophilia, plain and simple. Polanski RAPED an adolescent girl; that it was pled down to statutory rape doesn't change the fact, only the charge. Then he fled the country to avoid a trial. The only travesty is that he wasn't arrested decades ago - it isn't like he has been hiding out in a cave in Afghanistan for the last three decades. I guess this is eurojustice, a poor substitute for the real thing, but still, somehow better late than never.

As the father of a daughter, I am dismayed that Cohen and Applebaum make excuses and shade the facts in this case. Isn't this what the trial system is for? Establishing the facts, not how you "feel" about something based on your emotions and prejudices? Let Mr. Polanski appear before a jury and let the jury decide. Some notion that Mr. Polanski is being persecuted is a travesty. He has been living a jetset lifestyle in Europe all this time.

Truth really is stranger than fiction - only in the land of liberals does this pass for some twisted sort of logic. But the idea that Mr. Cohen is going to pull some sort of "Dirty Harry" on Polanski is too much, it is just over the top! Do you promise to televise this on Pay-Per-View? I for one would pay a whole dollar to see Mr. Cohen in his Rascal wheel up to Mr. Polanski with his walker and take a swing at him. That'll teach him to rape an adolescent girl! Hilarious! I have heard this type of Macho statement described as "woofing", where the writer makes a lot of noise about what he "would like" to do, if it weren't for those pesky laws and all that, somebody hold me back before I do something I won't regret!

This column manages to simultaneously make me want to laugh out loud and yet throw up. Not an easy feat, but please enough with the woofing already, as I can't stop laughing, but I really need to get to the bathroom because I am going to be sick...

Posted by: Jet7 | September 29, 2009 1:59 AM | Report abuse

So he kept his nose clean for 30 years? After he fled to France he started a romantic relationship with Nastassja Kinski who happened to be 15. I'm sensing a pattern here.

Posted by: szepete | September 29, 2009 5:20 AM | Report abuse

I don't know what's wrong with the world. This man drugged and raped a little girl. I don't care how hard his life was or what a good director he is. He is not above the law, even if he was able to buy his victim off.

Posted by: JamieRoberts | September 29, 2009 6:10 AM | Report abuse


1) If time is an extenuating circumstance, then are you saying that a fugitive found in the united states after 30 years should not be sentenced for whatever crime he's been convicted of? That's a ludicrous idea on its face. How is this case different from Polanski's?

2) If the victim's preference should be considered here, why shouldn't it be considered in a court of law? Why, instead, should the victim's preference figure in whether or not Polanski should even be subject to that court's power?

Posted by: notfromDC | September 29, 2009 6:18 AM | Report abuse

Cohen, In your article, replace all the words referring to Polanski with "rapist". See how your ideas sound. Now, mind, this rapist did 45 days in a psych hospital for raping a 13 year old girl and then fled sentencing. What do you think now?

Get a hold of the facts man!

Posted by: notfromDC | September 29, 2009 6:23 AM | Report abuse

Polanski is not stupid. He was wise to leave Hollywood before that lying gangster judge reneged on his word and decided to sentence him. No surprise that a pubicity seeking District Attorney is chasing him 30 years later. This is Hollywood hypocrisy. The same phony moralists ran off the great Charlie Chaplin into exil. They condemned Igrid Bergmann for having an affair with a married man. They ran her out of town. A gangster publicity seeking judge hounded Michael Jackson with fake charges which led to his early death. God save us from the Hollywood hypocrites. Too bad we can't file charges against gangser judges and DA's and phony moralists.

Posted by: eppe27 | September 29, 2009 7:25 AM | Report abuse

So... Cohen supports child rape?

Posted by: OverworkedUnderpaid | September 29, 2009 7:29 AM | Report abuse

Once more, Richard Cohen soft pedals issues of Justice in prostrate deference to the cocktail party alter at which he worships.

Scooter Libby didn't subvert justice by lying to investigators to protect Dick Cheney. According to Cohen we should look the other way when members of his social set perjure themselves to a federal grand jury. Just pretend it doesn't erode the constitution.

Similarly, Roman Polanski didn't drug and rape a little girl. He "seduced" her.

The only similarity I can see in these two cases is that by down-playing the actual crime and appealing publicly for un-just leniency, Cohen is afforded an
opportunity to show his obeisance to the coterie, some of whom are acquainted with the convict and can't imagine such-a-one as this doing hard time.

Posted by: grimmke | September 29, 2009 9:03 AM | Report abuse

Kudos to Eugene Robinson today... who has no sympathy for Polanski.

What if Polanski had been a Priest ? Would his supporters on the Left, the Europeans and Hollywood still defend him ? Of course not.

A 46-year-old Roman Polanski drugged, raped and sodomized a 13 year old girl against her will. Pleaded guilty and than fled to safe tolerant Europe.

The Left think its no big deal that ACORN offices in five cities can provide advice on setting up a brothel with 13-year-old illegals.

The Left forgave Bill Clintons serial womanizing and assaults on at least four different woman.

Where is the liberal feminist outrage ?

Where is the morality on the Left ?

Posted by: pvilso24 | September 29, 2009 10:00 AM | Report abuse

Hawser writes:

"Even the prosecutor of this case was actively testifying against the judge in this case. He spoke out about what he considered was the judges improper, highly uncustomary, and often illegal conduct."

Exactly how does any of this ameliorate the fact that Polanski drugged and anally raped a 13-year-old girl?

Posted by: chaos1 | September 29, 2009 10:20 AM | Report abuse

He did it on US soil. So US Justice system mush get him. French can screw their children all they want. We don't allow that. Even to rich jews.

Posted by: tissot21 | September 29, 2009 10:26 AM | Report abuse

Joy 321 writes:

"Well, since the U.S. couldn't catch Bin Laden, at least we've finally nabbed Polanski.

"Great expenditure or resources."

I'm pretty sure that if Bin Laden showed up in Switzerland to claim an award, we'd nab him too.

Posted by: chaos1 | September 29, 2009 10:30 AM | Report abuse

Nice try Cohen.

You can't mask your advocating leniency for a child rapist by saying you want to "bust him in the mouth".

You're advocating leniency for a child rapist.

Either you think you're really smart or you're readers are really stupid.

Posted by: keving98 | September 29, 2009 11:13 AM | Report abuse

I wonder if it was "Father Roman Polanski", a Catholic Priest, rather than "THE Roman Polanski", famous movie director, whether the Illuminati would be clamoring for his release.

I'm betting not.

Posted by: sbroce | September 29, 2009 12:35 PM | Report abuse

There is absolutely no evidence that Polanski did not realize she was underage. First off, her mother admitted under oath that she told him her age. He himself testified under oath that he knew she was 13. The age of consent in CA in 1977 was 18, same as now.

The only reason Polanski ran was because he realized his fame and fortune would not affect the judge when it came to sentencing.

Posted by: TheLastBrainLeft | September 29, 2009 12:54 PM | Report abuse

I asked Ms. Applebaum and now I ask you:

Can you verify if the Polish government is planning to have Polanski castrated? They passed a law in Poland last Friday 25th September mandating chemical castration for anyone having sex with a minor younger than 15.
I understand the Polish Prime Minister is asking Swiss authorities to release Polanski and on the other hand:
"Prime Minister Donald Tusk said late last year he wanted obligatory castration for paedophiles, whom he branded 'degenerates'. Tusk said he did not believe "one can use the term 'human' for such individuals, such creatures" (Reuters, 28 Sep 09).

Curious double standard, isn't it?

Posted by: skip40 | September 29, 2009 12:55 PM | Report abuse

I disagree with the columnist, to say Polanksi has kept his nose clean all these years overlooks the fact that he's been a fugitive all these years.

While he has been living a life free of encounters with foreign authorities he has never faced any real prosecution for the rape, or fleeing the US. To let him off the hook just reinforces that the law doesn't apply to the rich, famous and powerful.

Posted by: shadow27 | September 29, 2009 1:36 PM | Report abuse

Men who rape children are usually not just doing it as a one time thing out of curiosity. Truth is, this guy is mentally sick and has probably been repeatedly raping children in Europe since 1977 on a regular basis. It's time to get him into a California jail where his fellow inmates can put him on the receiving end of anal rape.

Posted by: greg3 | September 29, 2009 2:05 PM | Report abuse

Mr. Cohen,

Why should you be the only arbiter of justice. How about we let him go after everyone that wants to have the opportunity to punch him in the mouth, punches him in the mouth. Maybe in about 10 to 15 years there would be no one else that desires that opportunity.

Posted by: pdv22 | September 29, 2009 2:54 PM | Report abuse

You know what? Dr. Daniel Gajdusek won a Nobel Prize in Physiology or Medicine in 1976. He still went to jail for his guilty plea to a crime.

His work was (and still is), FAR more important to all of us than anything Roman Polanski ever done.

He didn't flee. He served his sentence. Polanski may or may not serve any time for the original RAPE, but he d@mn well should serve time for fleeing the country.

Posted by: Skowronek | September 29, 2009 2:58 PM | Report abuse

Q. What did he say?
A. He asked, he goes, “Are you on the pill?”

And I went, ‘No.”

And he goes, “When did you last have your period?”

And I said, “I don’t know. A week or two, I’m not sure”.

Q. And what did he say?
A. He goes, “Come on. You have to remember.”

And I told him I didn’t.

Q. Did he say anything after that?
A. Yes. He goes, “Would you want me to go in through your back?”

And I went, “No”.

Q. Did he say anything else?
A. No.

Q. How long did he have his penis in your vagina?
A. I can t remember how long, but not a very long time.

Q. Had you had sexual intercourse with anyone before March 10th?
A. Yes.

Q. Approximately how many times?
A. Twice.

Q. How did you know that he had his penis in your vagina?
A. I could tell. I could feel it.

Q. What happened after he says “Do you want me to – “was it go through the back?
A. Yes.

Q. What happened then?
A. I think he said something like right after I said I was not on the pill, right before he said, “Oh, I won’t come inside of you then”.

And I just went– and he goes — and then he put me – wait. Then he lifted up my legs farther and he went in through my anus.

Q. When you say he went in your anus, what do you mean by that?
A. He put his penis in my butt.

Q. Did he say anything at that time?
A. No.

Q. Did you resist at that time?
A. A little bit, but not really because –(pause)

Q. Because what?
A. Because I was afraid of him.

"The Outrageous Arrest of Roman Polanski". Anne Applebaum, YOUR article is outrageous.

Posted by: thedudesblog | September 29, 2009 3:28 PM | Report abuse

Let's go ask a REAL professional, one who has done field research with pedophiles, on what Roman Polanski does in addition to making films.

Posted by: Skowronek | September 29, 2009 3:48 PM | Report abuse

This piece of filth belongs in jail.
Child rapists are among the few classes of people who should be locked up.

Posted by: bilejones | September 29, 2009 4:01 PM | Report abuse


Oh right, because it's totally okay to drug and rape a girl that he thought was old enough.


Posted by: lj68 | September 29, 2009 4:11 PM | Report abuse

The next time ANYONE is judgmental of a woman, remember how you all come unglued when it comes to this subject, but when women...or men, for that matter...turn out to be promiscuous during their lifetime - one way that being molested manifests itself - THEN you ...SOME OF YOU, anyway... call them vile names. Bottom line: NO ONE knows what another human being has been through, so NO ONE BUT GOD has the RIGHT TO JUDGE!!!

Posted by: slamming | September 29, 2009 4:51 PM | Report abuse

"NO ONE knows what another human being has been through, so NO ONE BUT GOD has the RIGHT TO JUDGE!!!"
--slamming, 9/29/09

Oh brother. Why would we ever lock anyone up then? Are you advocating letting any rapist, murderer or thief walk free, because "only God should judge"?

This is idiocy with a capital I.

Posted by: sbroce | September 29, 2009 9:34 PM | Report abuse

It is a mystery to me how Mr. Cohen and other semi-apologists or apologists can so confidently assert that Mr. Polanski has been squeaky "clean" these last 30 odd years. Are we to suppose that the 13 year old was the only under-age violation of his life? Perhaps; or perhaps it is the only one for which he was caught.

Its best he just serve out his prison sentence; preferably in one of those prisons where he can continue his exploration of the joys of rape.

Posted by: simpsonth | September 29, 2009 10:46 PM | Report abuse

Hello. This is not about that. It's about jewish mafia in US of A media and Hellwood. They are protecting their own.

Posted by: tissot21 | September 30, 2009 10:55 AM | Report abuse

"Polanski had good -- but illegal -- reasons to flee the U.S. After copping to a single count of “unlawful sexual intercourse with a minor,” he had grounds to believe that a publicity-crazed judge was about to throw the book at him."

Exactly, which is why I propose we set up a 2nd set of courts that future accused might appeal their cases to if they believe they were treated unfairly. we can call these Appeals courts.

And we should have a hierarchy building up to a single court that is the final arbiter... perhaps call it the Supreme Court or something similar to indicate its Judicial supremacy.

Once we have this in place, we will no longer have to wonder if someone was correct to run from their initial court case, as they will have many other options.

If only we had thought to initiate this Judicial setup, we could have a system by which we would know his flight was illegal and unnecessary...

Wait, we have that system, and have for hundreds of years? Damn, why are all my brilliant ideas taken before I come up with them?

Posted by: gekkobear1 | September 30, 2009 3:54 PM | Report abuse

It may be true, as a poster above suggests, that if I were at all interested in the films of Polanski I'd have seen the victim's name before.

However, I never have had any interest in Polanski's films (I did rent Chinatown once) and it sounds like hardly anyone here has either, with the possible exceptions of Chinatown and Rosemary's Baby. If the victim's name really is getting trotted out every time he makes a film, I don't blame her for saying she wants the whole thing to blow over!

Posted by: ruthannewilliams | September 30, 2009 4:33 PM | Report abuse

Every defender of Polanski should be held down and sodomized (including Cohen). Then we should hear their opinions.

Posted by: truth5 | October 1, 2009 10:40 AM | Report abuse

The victim's opinion can have no bearing on this case, Polanski has already paid her the big bucks. This fact alone removes her opinion from the equation (besides, that's not the only factor Judges use in sentence determination).

He is a fugitive from justice, maybe not perfect justice, and as a member of society, I want him to pay for his crimes against the victim and for his additional crimes against our society. I hope the bastard dies a lonely death in prison. He has given the middle finger to a nation that made him wealthy. BTW, why would a Jew ever step foot on Swiss soil after they helped the Nazi's kill most of his relatives?

Posted by: paul522 | October 1, 2009 2:14 PM | Report abuse

To turningfool: I have punched someone in the face and I dare say had this child been mine, Polanski would be fearing something worse than a smack on the face. As for you, you are an idiot. Don't lose sight of what happened here. You probably would have kissed Polanski rear and gone for the $$$ had this been your kid. Grow up and be a man instead of hiding on the net!

Posted by: rustynailx | October 2, 2009 12:00 PM | Report abuse

Mhm. I love how you portray yourself as some righteous dude because you want to smack Polanksi (as through you stand apart from the hordes of others that want to do the same.) Your smugness is astonishing. But, don't think that we don't see through this cute little tactic, kind of a bait-and-switch, of trying to cajole the audience on your side while with a "deft hand" defending what is repugnant.

"but jail would no longer serve a purpose. The victim and the victimizer are united -- they both want clemency."
Nope. You've only fallen into the same illogical conclusion that every Polanski supporter has added to their limited--and weak--defense. The victim is tired of the publicity that Polanski stirs up every time he whine about not being able to work in Hollywood. They are not "united" as you disgustingly suggested in order to bolster your argument.

Posted by: juma789 | October 3, 2009 4:41 PM | Report abuse

Oh yes, one other thing, Cohen: PLEASE don't put forth your pipe dream notion that a pop from you is an appropriate means to settle the matter of a man who drugged and raped a 13 year-old girl. I don't really think that anyone gives a crap about who you want to punch. We'll stick with our court system. Kthanks

Posted by: juma789 | October 4, 2009 2:10 PM | Report abuse

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