It’s not like I’ve been trying, but this is as close I’ve ever come to feeling sorry for Roman Polanski.
Oh, sure, he had a tough life. He spent part of his youth in a Nazi concentration camp. His wife had been brutally murdered. That sucks, but it does not justify his drugging and fucking a 13-year-old girl in 1977. To be fair, he did not try to establish a causal link between that and his drugging and fucking a 13-year-old girl, but that doesn’t justify his later behavior in the least.
Polanski was charged with rape by use of drugs, perversion, sodomy, furnishing a controlled substance to a minor, and committing a lewd and lascivious act upon a child under 14. He made a plea bargain with the state of California where they would accept a guilty plea to engaging in one count of unlawful sexual conduct and to that one count alone. Under that agreement and the probation report, he expected to get off without being sent to prison.
Polanski said the sex – oral, vaginal, and anal – was consensual. The 13-year-old said it wasn’t. That does not matter. 13 is affectionately referred to as jailbait; according to the law, a 13-year-old cannot give his or her consent for sex to a 43-year-old. Ever hear the phrase “age of consent?” If not, trust me, it’s north of 13 – even in California. The judge was not bound to accept the plea agreement and had plenty of good cause not to. He also was not bound to accept the probation report, which he declared to be “whitewash.”
And… he didn’t. Facing serious jail time and deportation, the noted movie director (Chinatown, Knife in the Water, Fearless Vampire Killers) decided to avoid the prison part by self-deporting. He has spent, and continues to spend, his life living in nations that have no extradition treaty with the United States.
California governor Arnold Schwarzenegger declined to pardon the child rapist. From his perspective, and only from that perspective, it is a shame that Polanski did not do all of this in Kentucky.
According to The Guardian last Friday, prior to leaving office (he lost his bid for re-election) Kentucky Republican governor Matt Bevin pardoned all sorts of people. Such is common to end-of-term governors and presidents. One of those he pardoned was 41-year-old Micah Schoettle. He was nearly 18 months into his 23-year sentence for repeated rape, incest, sodomy and other matters of forced sex because his nine-year-old victim had been found to have her hymen intact.
If you don’t bust the cherry, Governor Bevin believes, you are innocent. Well, you’re innocent of raping a nine-year-old virgin. According to Governor Bevin. Who, evidently, is an imbecile.
Two other convicted child rapists also were among the 428 people Bevin pardoned, along with several murderers. When a radio interviewer asked Bevin how he could justify the rape pardon, the governor replied, “Which one?”
Former Kentucky chief medical examiner George Nichols told the Louisville Courier Journal “Rape is not proved by hymen penetration. He not only doesn’t know the law, in my humble opinion, he clearly doesn’t know medicine and anatomy.”
With patience and better planning, Roman Polanski could have been in the United States working on the new Chinatown television series this very day. But he did the wrong things at the wrong time in the wrong state. Compared to the fate met by Micah Schoettle, I guess Polanski got screwed.
Check your calendar. Yes, indeed. It is 2019.