NYTimes.com issued a News Alert this morning:
The Swiss government has rejected an extradition request by the United States for the film director Roman Polanski on a charge of having sex with a 13-year-old girl in 1977.
The Justice Ministry said Monday in a statement that national interests were taken into consideration in the decision, and that Mr. Polanski was now a free man.
So, Mr.Polanski, you're now a free man. How wonderful for you after so many years of confinement, being unable to move about freely while serving time for your crime--oh, wait. I forgot. You've been living quite well, haven't you?
The Times alert doesn't refer to the charges as rape or statutory rape, just "having sex with a 13-year-old girl...." It's amazing how much deference you receive after plying a child with champagne and a quaalude and raping her anally and vaginally. Yes, I know, you claimed you didn't know she was so young. Sorry, Roman, forcing anyone to have sex is called rape. Or viol, våldtäkt, rzepak: whatever it's called where you're currently being harbored and hailed as a persecuted genius.
Perhaps you would have been acquitted. Mostly likely not: drugging young girls and having sex with them is generally frowned upon, even for celebrities. And you were a smart-ass celebrity, not doing yourself any favors with your attitude and subsequent flight.
It's been so long that even your victim, whose grand jury testimony can be read here, says you should be forgiven. But it's not up to her. You didn't face the consequences, as anyone else would have been required to, in order to be exonerated. The passage of time means nothing when someone has flouted the law and beaten the system by running away.
So, Mr. Polanski, if it's all that can be accomplished, I'm glad you must stay away. If your many defenders want to meet you and fête you, let them buy a plane ticket to do it. Maybe you aren't a rapist, but you're a celebrated, coddled coward. Bon débarras.