Would you let Roman Polanski coach your child?
So 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.