Patterico's Pontifications


Tom Shales Owes a Correction on Roman Polanski

Filed under: Crime,General — Patterico @ 12:13 am

Washington Post columnist Tom Shales:

Polanski, diminutive director of “Chinatown,” “Rosemary’s Baby” and other creepy classics, did indeed have sexual intercourse with Samantha Gailey, who was 13 at the time, back in 1977. He was never charged with rape but with “unlawful intercourse.”


Take a look at Count IV of Polanski’s indictment:


A contemporary BBC article confirms:

Polanski is facing four charges including rape, sodomy, child molestation and giving drugs to a minor.

He was accused of giving a 13-year-old girl several glasses of champagne and part of a Quaalude, and then raping her. Time Magazine explains: “the drug is often used by professional pornographers to tranquilize young subjects.”

I think Shales means Polanski entered a plea to unlawful sexual intercourse with a minor. But don’t try to tell us he was “never charged with rape.”

Well, this is a nice opportunity to become acquainted with another ombudsman for a major newspaper.

Thanks to Rob I.

DIGRESSION THAT IS NOT REALLY A DIGRESSION: Maybe Shales is just practicing the Orwellian revisionism of judges who bar the word “rape” at rape trials. Imagine being told that you have to describe your rape as mere sexual intercourse. It’s like the state telling you that you really wanted it after all.

24 Responses to “Tom Shales Owes a Correction on Roman Polanski”

  1. I don’t think it’s logically or legally possible to have intercourse with someone who’s 13 without it being rape, unless there’s still a state in the Union left where the age of marital consent is that young. Is it?

    Thirteen-year-olds are conclusively (irrebutably, meaning you can’t even TRY to introduce contrary evidence) presumed to be incapable of giving valid consent. I’m reasonably sure that’s the law in every state of the union; it’s not like it’s a controversial proposition.

    I haven’t seen the HBO documentary yet, but the promos for it are disgusting. Let’s assume that the judge and the prosecutor were all publicity hounds and every other bad thing that’s intimated about them in the promos. Is that somehow supposed to absolve, or even mitigate, Polankski’s admitted, undisputed guilt?

    That he’s never done prison time is tragic. That the French and other non-American companies consider him anything but a monster is pathetic. That an American company like Time-Warner, through its HBO subsidiary, would glorify or excuse his actions is typical, but still disappointing.

    Shales’ column — “Polanski belongs to a rarefied subculture: celebrities hounded by the state” — puts him along with these others in this decadent moral bankruptcy.

    Beldar (f6143b)

  2. Beldar – If Polanski did not share their worldview, do you think he would get the same treatment?

    JD (75f5c3)

  3. No matter what I still say Knife in the Water and Rosemary’s Baby are amazing films.

    Jack Klompus (b796b4)

  4. Speaking of the cheese-eating surrender monkeys, they gave plenty of years of shelter to Philly killer Ira Eichorn. He’s the scumwad who claims he was innocent of killing his girlfriend even though her body was stored in a trunk (I think) where he lived. As I recall, Arlen Spector had a hand in Ira being released on bail for the crime many years ago.

    And we need no reminders of the left’s love affair with cop-killer Mumia Abu Jamal. Or how Mexicans can come here and kill Americans and flee back to Old Mejico to be protected because of American death penalty.

    madmax333 (c45f12)

  5. #3 Jack- Ever catch Polanski and Sharon Tate in campy “The Fearless Vampire Killers”?
    With all the pull Polanski has had you’d think maybe he would have sprung for a prison contract killing of Charlie Manson. Shouldn’t Obama be pardoning him and Mumia in the future?

    madmax333 (c45f12)

  6. #5 – Yes! aka “Pardon Me but Your Teeth are in My Neck.” I have a copy of that on VHS. No surprise that the free Mumia crowd has found a home in the Obama campaign. God those people are so friggin’ annoying.

    Jack Klompus (cf3660)

  7. in the sf chronicle, the movie review was titled how roman polanski was made a fugitive.

    judges who bar the use of the word “rape” in rape trials simply invite relatives of the victim to lynch the defendant. like nature, justice abhors a vacuum.

    assistant devil's advocate (dcbb12)

  8. I doubt that it was a “rape” trial. Prosecutors were having difficulty getting juries to find defendants guilty of “rape”. So, in the eighties, legislatures repealed “rape” statutes and enacted “sexual assault” statutes.

    Pick the conclusory and argumentative witness statement of your choice. Whether it’s “rape”, “murder”, “negligent”, “fraud”, “theft”, etc.

    Just the facts, ma’am. What did the defendant do? The prosecutor will argue to the jury what crime it was.

    nk (4bb2be)

  9. But fear not, Obama will restore to America, the respect it deserves from countries that harbor refugees from America’s obsession with prosecuting child rapists … like France.

    SPQR (26be8b)

  10. It sounds like a “rape” trial to me.

    “I was robbed by that guy.”

    “Objection: robbery is a conclusion.”

    “The guy took my property without my consent.”

    “Objection, consent is a legal conclusion.”

    “He took a gun –”

    “Objection. There is a firearm allegation. It’s up to the jury to decide if it was a gun.”

    JUDGE: “Mr. Victim, you may not use the words robbed, consent, or gun. Tell the jury you gave the defendant your money. Just the facts.”

    Patterico (476b7c)

  11. Heh!

    State: Miss Doe, what did the defendant do to you?
    Witness: He raped me.
    State: No further questions.
    Court: Defense, cross-examine?
    State: Move to limit the defense cross-examination to the sole question of whether the defendant did or did not rape Miss Doe, all other questions being outside the scope of direct.
    Court: Motion granted. You may proceed [defense] counsel.
    Defense: Miss Doe, my client did not in fact rape you, did he?
    State: Objection, argumentative.
    Court: Sustained.
    Defense: Miss Doe, did my client rape you or did he not?
    Witness: Yes, he did.
    Court: The witness may step down.

    nk (4bb2be)

  12. SPQR – Where is Baracky going to find the time? He has his hands full with stopping the oceans from rising.

    JD (75f5c3)

  13. JD, well you know that loaves and fishes thing has been done …

    SPQR (26be8b)

  14. In Chicago, the kids get Roman Polanski day off from school. What’s that all about?

    daleyrocks (d9ec17)

  15. Are you sure that’s not Roman Pucinski, daleyrocks? We were neighbors for a while. He had a gorgeous daughter but I was too young for her.

    nk (4bb2be)

  16. Kasimir Pulaski?

    JD (75f5c3)

  17. Here is an equally sympathetic but more detailed story about Tory Bowen.

    She was on the stand for thirteen hours.

    She woke up to find a man she did not know having sex with her. When she told him to stop, he did. Surveillance cameras at the bar where she had been drinking the evening before show her leaving with him. The charge was First Degree Sexual Assault.

    [I know a Nebraska trial judge. She is very bitter about the lack of preparedness and zeal of the prosecutors in her courtroom. When I told her that, whenever time allowed, I would provide the judge with a written memorandum of law she said “I never get such things”.]

    nk (4bb2be)

  18. JD #16,

    Yes. Daleyrocks and I were just joshing.

    nk (4bb2be)

  19. I always enjoyed that holiday. Kasimir Pulaski was my hero.

    JD (75f5c3)

  20. All those Polish names sound alike!


    Another Drew (8018ee)

  21. I lived just off Pulaski Road, and hung out at Kosciuszko Park when I was a teenager. I still have a weakness for Polish girls.

    nk (4bb2be)

  22. People who have any illusion leading them believe that what happened between that girl and Polanski was ANYTHING but rape, rape, rape needs to read only the second half of her 36-page deposition, posted at The Smoking Gun. Shales should be required to read it before making any further ignorant statements.

    How many times have seemingly rational and moral people been exposed as situational ethicists when a loved one is accused of or found guilty of a heinous crime? The problem with America’s love affair with celebrities is that they can have the same detrimental effect on large swaths of the public that admire their work. Such persons feel as if their favorite actor, musician or director are family they haven’t yet met, and somehow deserve benefit of the doubt regardless of the evidence.

    L.N. Smithee (d1de1b)

  23. Typical of the morally bankrupt people such as Shales and the filmmaker – blame the dead man who cannot defend himself rather than the sodomist/pedophile.

    As the father of a 13 year old girl, the mere though of what Polanski did to that poor girl makes me want to vomit.

    Darwin Akbar (11823f)

  24. In the Netherlands, isn’t sex between adults and 13 years old legal?

    Maybe Polanski should consider building a second home.

    DubiousD (f37bda)

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