A Hard Look At The Polanski Case

The story in the Sunday L.A. Times called “How a girl’s stark words got lost in the Polanski spectacle” by Joe Mozingo is not an easy read. The details of Roman Polanski’s rape of a 13 year old and the subsequent whitewashing of the crime are cringe-inducing. But may be the most informative, factual and agenda-free piece to be written about the crime in 32 years:

Samantha’s testimony that day was unequivocal: She had kept trying to get away from him, putting her clothes back on, saying no repeatedly. She had made up a lie about having asthma to get out of a Jacuzzi. He persisted. She was scared. She did not physically fight him off. He began to have sex with her, then, concerned she might get pregnant, switched to anal sex. When he drove her home, he told her not to tell her mom, adding, “You know, when I first met you, I promised myself I wouldn’t do anything like this with you.”

A generation of spectacle would follow: Polanski’s indictment, his plea deal, his flight from the country, allegations of judicial and prosecutorial misconduct, his decades of exile and critical success, his Oscar, a sympathetic HBO documentary last year, his rearrest in Switzerland last month.

Along the way, various people would scrub the core allegations into something more benign — a probation officer would deem the crime a “spontaneous” act of “poor judgment,” a prison psychiatrist would call it “playful mutual eroticism.”