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Sep. 30 2009 - 1:10 am | 15 views | 1 recommendation | 4 comments

Would you let Roman Polanski coach your child?

3074214685_b15be79f6eSo a lot of Hollywood heavyweights are signing a petition for the release of cinema auteur/child rapist Roman Polanski, including Woody Allen, whose act of putting pen to paper on such a document is the funniest thing he’s done since “Annie Hall.”

If I had known that being an girl-molesting artist restricted from travel was enough to get you world sympathy, I would have pushed harder with a Gary Glitter petition. After all, he’s got about as much right, legally, to be around your kids as Polanski. Meaning, not much of a right at all.

Let me ask this: if someone who committed a crime like Polanski’s was found to have slipped through the background-check cracks and was now coaching your child’s team, or your niece’s team, or was your local Catholic priest/soccer coach, would you say, “Eh, he’s brilliant, it was a long time ago — let him coach.” Or would you say, “How in the FUCKITY FUCK FUCK did this league let him near children?”

Polanski, as you’ve probably heard, recently was arrested in Switzerland for fleeing the United States before his 1977 sentencing in Los Angeles for having sex with an 13-year-old girl.

It was a crime he pleaded guilty to, a plea deal available only because the prosecution was sensitive to the girl’s family’s request not to drag her through a high-profile trial. That way, Polanski didn’t have to face trial on a rape charge for plying the girl with champagne and Quaaludes and forcing himself on her. (He did settle a lawsuit by the girl’s family, as well.)

Whether Polanski was right in skipping off to France because he was about to get railroaded on his plea deal by an activist judge (wait — can a liberal use that term?), the point is that in 1977, he already had copped to being what was called an MDSO — a Mentally Disordered Sex Offender.

You see, today, any high school graduate who shtupps a 15-year-old can get on the sex offender list for life, never able to get near your child to teach her how to shoot a jump shot for the crime of being slightly on the wrong side of the age-of-consent border. But in 1977, you really had to do something HUGELY perverted to get the state to surmise maybe you’re a threat to the young-’uns — in California’s case, be a male, say in his 40s, who plies 13-year-old girls with champagne and Quaaludes and forces himself upon them.

Having fled to France, Polanski didn’t get the dubious honor of psychiatric sessions to determine exactly how sick of a fuck, or what kind of sick fuck, he was. However, Polanski, thanks to his plea agreement, is officially on the sick-fuck list. The same one, the one that includes 19-year-olds caught shtupping a 15-year-old girlfriend and convicted because her dad was pissed off, that would keep him off any ballfield or basketball court.

Bob, you say, Roman Polanski, one of the great directors of our time, is never going to waste his life teaching soccer to 6-year-olds in the suburbs. And, Bob, you say, Polanski has long proven himself no threat to society — he doesn’t start romantic relationships with 15-year-old actresses anymore. And, Bob, you say, the man had a hard life, full of tragedy.

But the fact remains that if this were Roman Polanski, pipefitter, instead of Roman Polanski, filmmaker, legally speaking this would not be a guy who gets petitions on his behalf. He would be the kind of guy parents take up a petition against to get him to stop coaching the girls’ field hockey team. Are we parents overprotective about having this kind of person around? You bet. But I’m sure Martin Scorsese, one of the backers of the Free Roman Polanski petition, would shudder a little if he ever thought someone who plied a 13-year-old with champagne and Quaaludes, and forced himself upon her, was coaching his kids’ teams.

Maybe if Gary Glitter had written better songs, there would be prominent people who would think of what he’s done as no great shakes, either.


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    You gotta wonder what’s in Woody Allen’s head that he would sign this petition; it only brings attention back to his own creepy conduct in that long-ago seduction of his girlfriend’s daughter. As for the others–it boggles the mind that anyone could justify child rape, or excuse it because artists are somehow exempt.

    Even the French are starting to balk–a new poll indicates 70 percent of the French do not believe their government should speak out in Polanski’s defense.

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    Are we all ignoring the racial elephant in the room here? BBC World certainly isn’t… with its harping on about the holocaust in their segment on Polanski. I lost a lot of relative too in WWII. Doesn’t excuse me from buggery, sodomy and rape, does it?

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    What a creepy lot, this Hollywood crew, to be so indignant about Roman Polanski’s incarceration and, hopefully, extradition back to California’s justice system.
    Steve Lopez writes in the LA Times today, after reading documents from the DA’s office written at the time of the rape, that Polanski did not suddenly find himself in bed with this 13 year old. He had a systematic plan to intoxicate and seduce her. But the girl resisted – her side of the testimony – and said “no, don’t,” and “I have to leave” and direct requests to not have intercourse – which he did. One of our close family members was raped at age twelve. The woman is in her sixties now and has really had a life of turmoil, partly associated with that one tragic trip to the market. Her rapist worked in a dry cleaning store and was caught and harshly sentenced. I know the scenario is different – famous damaged movie director, Jack Nicholson’s house (fuck him and his courtside seats) but a thirteen year old girl was raped, sodomized, and orally copulated. Readers should check the stats of violent sexual offenders – they are usually repeat offenders. Polanski had a life that most would envy. He also had unimaginable horrors visited upon him. Therapy should not include raping thirteen year olds. Tom Medlicott

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    Nice one, Bob,

    I found it beyond apalling that the foreign ministers of France and Poland would actually take the time to write a letter on Polanski’s behalf to Sec. of State Clinton. Because he’s such a great guy to stand up for, right? Why in the fuck would a government official stick his neck out like that over a self-admitted child rapist? Who gives a shit who he is?

    In a letter, Harvey Weinstein referred to anally raping a 13-year-old as a “so-called crime” and said that Polanski had served his time. I guess the 42 days he spent confined for psychiatric evaluation before he fled the country counts as time served in Hollywood. Who the hell do these people think they are?

    Woody Allen was hardly a surprise — and you’re right, it’s funnier than probably his last 10 movies. Scorcese lost his edge years ago, so it doesn’t surprise me that the self-important artiste would sign on as well. But I confess I am really bummed that David Lynch signed on. I expected a little more perspective from the guy who directed “Mullholland Drive.”

    Polanski is a great director. It doesn’t get much better than “Rosemary’s Baby,” “Repulsion,” is an important film, and, yeah, I totally cried watching “The Piano.” It doesn’t matter. We can suspend our judgment of the man when we examine his art. But this isn’t an examination of his art. It’s about drugging and raping a little kid. How do all these people go to bat for this guy in good conscience? Supporting him seems to me like one of those points of view that’s best kept to one’s self.

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    About Me

    A youth sports blog written by Bob Cook. He contributes to NBCSports.com, or MSNBC.com, if you prefer. He’s delivered sports commentaries for All Things Considered. For three years he wrote the weekly “Kick Out the Sports!” column for Flak Magazine.

    Most importantly for this blog, Bob is a father of four who is in the throes of being a sports parent and youth coach in an inner-ring suburb of Chicago. He reserves the right to change names to protect the innocent and the extremely, extremely guilty.

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