Monday, September 28, 2009

Roman Polanski arrested in Switzerland

As a fan of both crime stories and film, this case is intriguing, even though it's a fairly standard case of statutory rape. France doesn't want to extradite Polanski, and while I don't feel that his artistry holds him above the law, as some of the French seem to, the charges are over 30 years old. Also, his victim, now a grown woman, has said for years that she wants to drop the charges and get on with her life. Now, against her wishes, the grim details of her ordeal are once again being dragged into public scrutiny. If, as many in the American justice system claim, the search for "justice" in these cases is for the benefit of the victim, then why are they going directly against what the victim has said many times that she wants to happen? It leads me to believe that it is not about justice for the victim, but a personal vendetta against any type of sex offender.
Recently, The Economist had a story titled "America's Unjust Sex Laws." One of the related stories was of a man who had been convicted of statutory rape, served his sentence, and later married his "victim." Despite all of this, he is still listed as a registered sex offender and considered a potential threat to his community.
An adult having sex with a 13-year-old girl is wrong, no one is disputing that. But when the victim herself has moved past the troubling incident, she deserves to have her wishes in regard to the case honored. But the American justice system, in an urge to appear "tough on crime" for "the sake of the children," and an American public that is alternately appalled and morbidly fascinated by any sex crime news, it's unlikely that United States officials will let this quietly go away, which, I must say this again, is what the victim wants.