Meryl Streep can give him all the standing ovations she can muster. Hollywood elite —from Woody Allen to Martin Scorsese—can sign every petition put in front of them asking for his safe return to the U.S.
But Los Angeles County authorities say that director Roman Polanski, who fled to Europe after being convicted of raping a 13-year-old girl in 1977, is not free to return to his American home without talking to them first.
On Monday, Polanski’s lawyers will plead with the LA County Superior Court, asking authorities to let Polanski, now 83, come home to California to visit the grave of his late wife, Sharon Tate, before he dies.
But LA’s prosecutors say Polanski hasn’t served enough time for sexually assaulting a minor, and that his talent as a director shouldn’t mean he receives special treatment.
“The defendant is, once again, trying to dictate the terms of his return without risk to himself …. (He) wants answers—but will only show up if he likes the answers,” an LA prosecutor told Reuters. Polanski wants to be let off the hook for his crimes, but “there will be no discussion regarding what will happen until Mr. Polanski returns,” the attorney added.
Polanski was charged, in 1977, with six counts of criminal sexual conduct, including rape of a minor and furnishing a minor with controlled substance, and plead guilty to “unlawful sexual intercourse with a minor.” He fled the country before he was sentenced.
Thirteen-year-old Samantha Geimer told police that Polanski had arranged to photograph her for French Vogue, and asked her to meet him at Jack Nicholson’s Beverly Hills home. During the shoot, which took place in one of the home’s bedrooms, Polanski plied Geimer with alcohol and quaaludes, then pinned her to the bed and raped and sodomized her multiple times.
Polanski claimed the teenaged Geimer was a willing participant, and pled guilty to unlawful sexual intercourse with a minor. He served only 42 days before boarding a plane back to France.
His lawyers say that Polanski should get credit for the 40 years he’s spent in exile from what he considers his “home” country, and say that both Poland and Switzerland, which have declined to extradite him back to the U.S., believed LA County was being unreasonable in continuing to pursue his case.
But LA prosecutors say that’s their call, not Polanski’s, Poland’s, Switzerland’s or, yes, even Meryl Streep’s.