When in doubt and you're on the run from the California legal system, after being charged for sex crimes with a 13 year old, the best solution is to flee the country for 30 years. The arrest of Roman Polanski, on September 26, 2009, at the Zurich airport has once again created a rift between his artistic supporters and those who believe that justice must be served.
Years before this incident, Roman Polanski was noted for having a successful career as a director and for being married to actress Sharon Tate. In 1969, a pregnant Tate was at their house with four guests, Roman was away. Four followers of Charles Manson invaded the house and murdered the group; this created an unwanted spotlight directed on Roman that wouldn't disappear for years to come.
Then in 1977, Samantha Gailey (now Samantha Geimer) at the age of 13 had got involved with Polanski when he wanted her to model for the French edition of Vogue. Being a minor, her mother had given consent for the shoot. She was then asked to do a second photo shoot which Polanski would guest edit.
This second shoot took place the home of Jack Nicholson in Los Angeles, California. This time however, "We did photos with me drinking champagne, and I could tell he had different intentions, then I knew I was not where I should be," Geimer said in a 2003 television interview with ABC.
After providing her with a combination of Quaaludes, Samantha said she was then sexually assaulted while saying no several times. After her mother had found out that night, Polanski was arrested the next day, claiming, "The sex was consensual." But, in an interview with ABC, January 30, 2003, Polanski changed his tone saying, "I know now it was not the right thing to do, but there was no premeditation, it just happened."
As part of a plea agreement, Polanski pleaded guilty to "unlawful sexual intercourse." He was sent to a California jail, where he was then put through 43 days of mental evaluation. The judge had said that would be the extent of his punishment but later went back on his word. This is when Roman fled the country to France, where he has citizenship.
Now Geimer speaks out, saying she doesn't want to prosecute him. "I hope he can one day come back to the U.S. and not face more jail time; he has suffered enough," says Geimer in a September 2009 interview with ABC news. She has moved on with her life, married and a mother to four children.
The L.A. prosecutor's pronouncement after 30 unsettled years is to extradite Polanski back to Los Angeles for trial. In the 1970's, when the crime occurred, Roman had paved the way for later celebrities being convicted, like Robert Blake and O.J. Simpson. The question on most people's mind however, is why now? After, decades of watching Polanski continue to shine in the movie world, with numerous Oscar winnings.
In 2005, the United States had finally put out an international warrant for his arrest. With the Zurich film festival awarding Polanski a Life Time Achievement award. The Los Angeles District Attorney's office of Stephen Cooley, had heard days before that he would be attending; they soon set up the arrest with Swiss police. Before this, only a few, indecent, failed attempts to extradite Polanski had been made note of by Mr. Cooley.
According to an article in the New York Times, "His appearance at the Turin Film Festival last November had been advertised across the Internet since the February prior. In other words, the district attorney had nine months' notice of where he would be and when." Yet Mr. Cooley's office did not make any effort. To most, its fair to insinuate that Polanski's arrest is not their first priority, nor even measurably close.
Now when the arrest has finally been made, Mr. Cooley confidently stated that Polanski, "has been trying to get it resolved on his terms, but it's going to be on the terms of the Los Angeles County justice system." With inflated egos from both parties, who's to say if Mr. Polanski has suffered enough for the crime he plead guilty to.
All that's been made clear is that Mr. Polanski and Mrs. Geimer share a similar plea; what's been done is now in the past, and the both of them have been under enough public scrutiny.
Justice has not conventionally been served, according to the California legal system. But Polanski had already admitted, and recognized sincere shame and guilt, so he has been put back on a socially acceptable conscience. Why don't we let him finish living the rest of his years coping with guilt while, directing the movies we all love. Those left with the unsatisfactory appetite still have the opportunity to fulfill it, but what will that say if our system has already let those B-rated celebrities slide under the radar of justice.