Tracey McMillian

On Tuesday, Roman Polanskiís appeal for prison release was rejected by the Swiss court. The Swiss court was concerned that Polanski could avoid the extradition process if he fled Switzerland by helicopter or private airplane. Good decision by the Swiss court.

Following his arrest in September a whole smorgasbord of Hollywood celebrities have been clamoring for his release and defending him in one form or another.

I must have missed the memo that mandated the wailing and gnashing of teeth regarding Polanskiís recent capture, but numerous celebrities have received and acted upon it.

Itís no shocker that Woody Allen is defending Polanski, but would so many people be defending him if he had been an unknown male attacker? No. The only reason Polanski is supported by members of the Hollywood elite is because he is a somewhat talented filmmaker, well-known, and charismatic to some.

Polanski confessed to sexually assaulting a young girl in Los Angeles in 1977.† He fled justice and is now fighting his extradition from Switzerland to possibly face trial.

In 1978, Polanski was due to appear for sentencing when he boarded an airplane for England and never returned. Later he moved to France and for the next 32 years the Oscar-winning director traveled freely and worked in Europe. Polanski was careful about which countries he visited because he knew that the United States was still seeking his return.

Yes, it can be said that his victim, now 44, has forgiven him and wishes the whole ordeal would go away. But does forgiveness make a child rapist above the law? Forgiveness is for the soul of the person, not for the justice system. If the family of the victim of a murderer forgave him, would we set him free?

But for good or ill, the justice system doesnít work on behalf of victims; it works on behalf of justice.

Laws in every state make it clear that child rape and fleeing prosecution are serious crimes. The point is not to keep 76-year-old Polanski off the streets or help his victim feel safe. The point is that drugging and raping a child, then leaving the country before you can be sentenced for it is behavior our society should not tolerate no matter how famous, wealthy or well-connected you are. No matter how old you were when you finally got caught, no matter what your victim says about it, no matter how mature she looked at 13, no matter how pushy her mother was, and no matter how many really swell movies youíve made.

The more Hollywood moans about Polanski, the more it becomes obvious how out of touch they are with common sense and the basic decency that is shared by the general public.

As for me, Iíll shed no tears for Roman Polanski and shake my head at those who do.

Tracey McMillian works in editorial design at the Empire-Tribune. She can be reached at 254-968-2379, ext. 239.