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October 1st, 2009
12:13 PM ET

Polanski's crime can't be excused

[cnn-photo-caption image=http://i2.cdn.turner.com/cnn/2009/SHOWBIZ/09/29/hollywood.embraces.polanski/art.polanski.gi.jpg caption="Peers of Roman Polanski have praised him for his talent and lamented his arrest."]

Leslie Morgan Steiner
Special to CNN

Historically, women's rights and status in America have been viewed by both men and women as "soft" issues - worthy but marginal.

Real problems are the serious ones - financial crises, international confrontations, nuclear arms, trade disputes, Mafia murders, the Steelers/Ravens game (if it looks close). But ills that plague the daily lives of women like rape, incest, prostitution and domestic violence - not so much.

However, with Hillary Clinton perched atop the State Department, Michelle Obama in the White House, Oprah, Katie and Diane dominating television, and Arianna Huffington running the blogosphere, so-called "women's issues" may finally get the attention they deserve.

Which perhaps explains why a 76-year-old French man who pleaded guilty to "unlawful intercourse with a minor" 30 years ago is a front page news story and one of California's prosecutorial priorities despite the financial and international crises crippling various segments of our country and the world today.

Maybe you've not heard of Roman Polanski, the 76-year-old French-born filmmaker who directed "Rosemary's Baby," "Chinatown" and "The Pianist," for which he won an Oscar in 2002.

In 1943 he survived the Nazis in Krakow, Poland; in 1969 he survived the trauma left by the Charles Manson family, which murdered his wife Sharon Tate and their unborn child; in 1977 he also survived the American criminal justice system when he fled the United States before being sentenced after he was accused of drugging and raping a 13-year-old girl.

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Filed under: Women's Issues • Women's Rights
soundoff (7 Responses)
  1. Jo Anne Wilkinson

    California should have gone after him when he skipped the country – but shame on the Hollywood Celebs saying not to put him in jail because he is a talented director. HE IS A RAPEST and so is the mother that allowed her 13 year old daughter to Jack Nicholson's house and allow that activity

    October 1, 2009 at 2:47 pm |
  2. mike s

    it seems funny to me that the majority of his high profile supporters share his religion. Double standard!

    October 1, 2009 at 2:32 pm |
  3. Alex Valiao (OC)

    Rape is rape. Polanski needs to serve his sentence. The only difference between him and Garrido is he is rich and famous. Both are despicable,imho. Another thing we also have to focus on is the global failure of men's morality and the legal system that allowed a rich and famous rapist to roam around and evade authorities for 3 decades. Mankind is against rape, so what gives? These failures gave more injustice and pain to a 13 year old and its about time her NO plea gets an answer.

    October 1, 2009 at 1:56 pm |
  4. Alex Valiao (OC)

    Rape is rape. Polanski needs to serve his sentence. The only difference between him and Garrido is he is rich and famous. Both are despicable,imho. Another thing we also have to focus on is the global failure of men's morality and legal system that allowed a rich and famous rapist roam around and evade authorities for 3 decades. Mankind is against rape, so what gives? These failures give more injustice and pain to a 13 year old and its about time her NO plea gets answer.

    October 1, 2009 at 1:53 pm |
  5. Jeanette

    Polanski should be in prison for a long time. a certain amount of time for each year he abscounded plus time for what he did. He is a child molester who should be taken out of society

    October 1, 2009 at 1:49 pm |
  6. Liz Figueroa

    I read the Polanski case transcript and it was obvious that he took several photos of the girl in various stages of nudity. Why wasn't he charge with producing Child Pornography too?

    October 1, 2009 at 1:43 pm |
  7. Amazing

    It shouldn't be excused. What he did was disgusting and wrong, then he flees the country. Should we reward him with Freedom? Hard to believe the Hollywood elite that don't seem to care what he did, especially Woody Allen, now that's funny. Crazy Hollywood elite, the same ones that thought Obama would make a great president. Just goes to show you what they know..........NOTHING!

    October 1, 2009 at 12:18 pm |