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Should Authorities Drop the Polanski Case If Victim Wishes?

It's been more than 30 years since celebrated director Roman Polanski, then 43, plead guilty to having unlawful sex with a 13 year old, after apparently giving champagne and part of a qualude to her. He served 42 days in a maximum security prison and, right before sentencing, fled the country when the media-conscious judge presiding over the case voiced his desire to give him another 48 days.

Over the weekend, Polanski was arrested at the Zurich airport and awaits the Swiss court's decision on whether or not he will be extradited to the United States.

Polanski, director of such classics as Rosemary's Baby, Chinatown, and the Oscar-winning film The Pianist, has been living in France ever since he fled the US. (He was a no-show at the Oscars when The Pianist won in 2003.) His victim, now 45 and the recipient of an undisclosed sum from Polanski after she sued him, wishes his charges would be dropped and that the whole case would go away. She believes that because his case was so mishandled years ago, continual attempts over the years to revive it bring unwanted publicity — and pain — to her, her husband, and her children.

Image Source: Getty
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According to this article (, his daughter is 16.
dikke-kus dikke-kus 7 years
Wow. I had no idea he had committed this crime. I still don't understand how he avoided a trial even with the extradition laws. I hope the Swiss send him right over. I am not familiar with international law, but France has the dog ate my homework attitude about everything. Then that detail about Natasha Kinski. You know what I'd like to know? If he has a daughter, and if so, what he thinks of her being drugged and raped at 13 by a dirt bag movie director.
blondeyy blondeyy 7 years
Thank you #16 and #47. And just because this man eluded police for decades and people 'haven't even heard of him' (I think is how one poster put it) doesn't EXCUSE his crime.
He's had an arrest warrant out on him for years. France knew about it (received one), but as you know, they refuse to extradite their citizens. He knew that. That's why he went there. I think the 'act of war' viewpoint is a little dramatic, and 'official' officials (not those sworn to protect their citizen artists) from France and Poland have come out to say that he needs to basically face the music. I am much opposed to him getting away with only 42 days locked away for an evaluation. He left the US and started dating a 15 year old, for goodness sake! How many other little starlets did he have his way with?
Akasha Akasha 7 years
Can I say one more time that I don't agree with what he did and that I find him a vile reprehensible person. And yes I work in Hollywood and no I don't think that rich people should get off easy. What my problem here is, is the justice system as a whole and the giant load of crap that we just stepped in over this. Beyond the maybe / maybe not legality of the deal that was made. Even if he is brought back here you will all be very unhappy with the sentence he is given as even though the laws have changed the Constitution stipulates that the allowing of ex post facto law is not Constitutional, and the interpretation of the law would revert back to those around in 1977. In other words 3-5 max. Now, on top of that does anyone here even realize the massive international incident that the US has gotten itself into right now over this case? The US asked the Swiss government to arrest Polanski, and extradite him to the United States. France and Poland were never contacted by the United States or Switzerland about the warrant to arrest him at this time. Since the United States, France, Poland, and Switzerland are not at war, the Geneva Convention international law stipulates that governments have to share this kind of information. Also according to the United Nations, the transport of a citizen of a country without the authorization of the home country is kidnapping, and an act of terrorism. So now in order to bring this man to trial, or to have him serve the 48 days (or the three years he may or may not get), we may very well have committed an act of war against France and Poland and gone against the UN again. And before you think I'm getting over dramatic an act of terrorism that is state or country sponsored by people either in the military or it's police force is considered an Act of War. If the victim still wanted to go after him I would be all for it. I wouldn't give a rats butt about committing a terrorist act, declaring war against France and Poland, or say to hell with the Constitution to bring this man to justice, but since she wants to let it go I'm not sure I can argue with her given the ramifications.
It must be awesome to have money to pay off your underage sex toys so they can refuse to testify or write opinion pieces about letting it all go after 30+ years. Yes, R. Kelly and Roman, I'm looking at you. Personally, I can't believe more women aren't pissed about this whole mess. I guess this is typical Hollywood behavior for male directors? Otherwise, he wouldn't have so many Hollywood directors supporting him. I'm gagging right now.
gamestomper-6 gamestomper-6 7 years
why don't they just let charles manson go over there and finish him off, then he can join his wife, sharon tate and their baby. kinda strange he wasn't at home when manson and his crew butchered everybody at his home.
RockAndRepublic RockAndRepublic 7 years
I guess it's okay for it to happen to someone else's 13 yr old. If it happens to you, will it matter then?
mermei mermei 7 years
"What I am saying is that if anyone of us had committed a crime (no matter what that crime is) done your time for it, made a plea arrangement and then the judge decided to go back on that arrangement and not offer you the chance to then change your plea and stand trial, then you might feel a bit differently about the situation." Understood, but what I'm saying is that is not what happened. There was a tentative agreement that had not gone through formal sentencing. That agreement was for 90 days. Polanski served 42, had the rest suspended, and the judge wanted to send him back for the other 48 days. Because someone with the CA da's office had been talking to the judge in the meantime without the defense present, there was an ethics violation. So the whole thing - had Polanski stayed - would have been kicked to another judge to decide sentencing. But just because you and your lawyer and the prosecution's lawyer work out a deal, that doesn't matter - it's not official until the judge completes the sentencing. The judge is not bound by the agreement on the plea deal. So no, he did not already "do his time" - he didn't stay around to get the final word on what his time would be.
runningesq runningesq 7 years
I haven't been following this closely, so this may be totally incorrect, but: the State can make a recommendation for sentencing that the defense either agrees to go along with (or can argue for less), but unless the Judge binds, the judge IS NOT part of the plea agreeement. I always tell defendants that my offer is X but the Judge is free to give up to and including the max for any crime.
Akasha Akasha 7 years
Sorry I meant arguing the point that he is a bad guy.
Akasha Akasha 7 years
Again, I'm not condoning what happened. Or arguing the point that he is not a bad guy. What I am saying is that if anyone of us had committed a crime (no matter what that crime is) done your time for it, made a plea arrangement and then the judge decided to go back on that arrangement and not offer you the chance to then change your plea and stand trial, then you might feel a bit differently about the situation. I understand that everyone is upset for the victim, and it's not that I am not. But the miscarriage of justice is just as upsetting. Stuff like this is the reason that people don't trust the justice system. Plus, on a personal level, I live in California and the state is broke and doesn't have the money to deal with the violent criminals that are awaiting trial now. To spend millions of dollars to extradite this guy means more violent criminals end up back on the street and personally I'm more scared of them than I am of a 76 year man who lives in France.
mermei mermei 7 years
Akasha, Polanski said in the plea agreement that he knew she was 13. He also got her mother's permission to take the pictures in the first place, so clearly he knew she was underage. The age of consent in California was 18 - and has been continuously since 1913. Things were NOT "different" then. And anyway, screw age of consent - she said no repeatedly. Rape is rape no matter how old he claims he thought she was. I'm disgusted that anyone would even attempt to suggest otherwise, or even entertain the idea that this was somehow not rape. Ginger, there were definitely problems with the judge, but welcome to the American justice system, where you have the right to appeal. (And my understanding is that the judge reneged on a tentative agreement - whatever his reasons for doing it, it was not a final sentence and could be altered.) No matter what the problems with the original process, the only way for any of this to end is for him to return to LA and submit himself to the courts. He never should have left, but at least he should have done this years ago. The victim did receive a financial settlement and would like it to be all over. Well, it can be: if her attacker finally stops running and faces the consequences of his crime. Polanski, and Polanski alone is responsible for her suffering all these years. We cannot sacrifice rule of law for the sake of a Hollywood director, however compelling or unique some people claim the story is.
Ginger Ginger 7 years
Technically, Polanski already has served his time for the crime, per the original agreement between the judge, lawyers and victim. Had they not made that agreement, it's very unlikely that Polanski would have ever pleaded guilty. He could have plead innocent, had a trial, and very possibly walked on all of it. There were a number of factors which could have made it a weak case. Knowing that this would not be a slam-dunk conviction was a factor in the deal the DA made. The victim wrote an opinion piece for the LA Times on this a few years ago, under her own name. She's very public and open about this, and wrote: "I know there is a price to pay for running. But who wouldn't think about running when facing a 50-year sentence from a judge who was clearly more interested in his own reputation than a fair judgment or even the well-being of the victim?" and "My attitude surprises many people. That's because they didn't go through it all; they don't know everything that I know. People don't understand that the judge went back on his word. They don't know how unfairly we were all treated by the press. Talk about feeling violated! " Her whole piece is on the LA Times website.
Akasha Akasha 7 years
First thing, I am actually not a fan of Polanski or his work. What I was trying to say is that, if a victim 30 years later (clearly she's had time to think through what she wants) wants to drop the charges because she doesn't want to deal with the publicity of it all, I feel like her wishes should be taken into consideration. You guys keep saying that he hurt a 13 year old child (not debating that) but image what her kids must go through every time this pops up in the news. It's not like their friends at school aren't going to be hearing about it. The publicity of this case must be terrible for them and even worse for her having to explain it to them. The other thing you have to remember is that this case isn't being looked at by today's standards, 30 years ago things were quite a bit different. The age of consent back then was around 16 years old, and the drinking age was 18. Which means it's very possible that a 13 year old could have looked 16 or 18. @ Anonymous: I haven't seen the pictures of the girl at 13, I'm going by the interview with her where she claimed that she lied about her age and that she didn't look 13 at the time. Why should I disbelieve the victim? @ sloane220: You are correct why should the law be applied differently celebrities? In this case you have to look at it both ways. If Polanski hadn't been a celebrity the judge wouldn't have very publicly reneged on the original deal that was struck with the prosecutors, and if he had been required to do jail time it would have been max 3 years back then, not the 50 years that the judge was about to hit him with. To everyone saying that if I had a daughter I would want him prosecuted, I have to agree, but then again I wouldn't be the type of mother to let my 13 year go party at Jack Nicholson's house. Also, if my daughter was 43 years old and begging people to make it go away I would fight for her right that she's old enough to make that decision. In no way am I condoning what he did. I find the whole thing disgusting. But if you look at the case on it's merits not from an emotional stand point then you can see where it was mismanaged from the start.
sloane220 sloane220 7 years
why should the law be applied differently to someone rich and famous then to everyone else, and for something as heinous as drugging and raping a 13 year old girl? he needs to come back to the u.s. and face justice, i don't care how long it's been, who he thinks he is, or what friends he has. the hoopla to not only diminish his actual (because having sex with a 13 year old is never consensual. period. never mind that she was drugged as well)crime but just make it go away, REALLY speaks to the apathy that sexual crimes against women and children are treated with.
kurniakasih kurniakasih 7 years
Running, relax, why are you getting upset at my post? Yes, that's the impression that I get from your post based on how you posted it. I merely said that the fact that he's a brilliant director made MANY PEOPLE think his case is different (again, if it's just another guy on the bloke doing the same thing, the outcome in public's eye is going to be completely different). I'm not saying that because he's a brilliant director he needs to be let go of his punishment. As for the prosecutor going along to prosecute a perpetrator despite the victim's wish to be left alone (the case), I've seen that happened a few times in my life. Never been a lawyer, just a bystander when a few things gone wrong. And those times, although the victim asked for the case to be dropped, the prosecutor do go ahead to prosecute the alleged perpetrator. Again. JUST STATING my experience. 'Sorry' if you get the gist wrong because I put 'unfortunately' in front of it. All I know is he confessed/admitted to raping a child/minor and then fled and for that of course he should not be evading his punishment. Geez.
haydeedoll haydeedoll 7 years
The judge lied and manipulated Mr. Polanski and his lawyers. Mr. Polanski served the initial time that was agreed on, and then the Judge decided to go against the agreed sentencing. The case should be dropped now.
GlowingMoon GlowingMoon 7 years
I also agree with Anonymous #30. In addition to the mentioned atrocities, Polanski plied the girl with alcohol and quaalude. She was 13 years old. About sixth or seventh grade?? I heard that her mother was in the house, and gave consent to Polanski to do this to her daughter. In my opinion, that mother FAILED as a parent, and did not protect her child. She should have been convicted, just like Polanski, and face jail time. That poor child.
Papaver Papaver 7 years
Thank you Ginger. My thoughts exactly.
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