The president of the United States has not received any requests to pardon famed filmmaker Roman Polanski, arrested in Switzerland recently on a 30-year-old–plus child sex case out of California, and he does believe pedophiles should be prosecuted.
Confirmation came today from White House Press Secretary Robert Gibbs in an answer that put President Obama at odds with many Hollywood celebs.
Les Kinsolving, WND’s correspondent at the White House, asked, “Will the president pardon Polanski. Will he or not?”
“I don’t know of any pending pardon request,” said Gibbs.
“Does he believe pedophiles should not be prosecuted,” asked Kinsolving.
“The president believes pedophiles should be prosecuted,” Gibbs responded.
The arrest of Polanski at the request of the United States surprised many, and left Hollywood celebs crying in his defense. According to the EOnline website, a list of more than 100 filmmakers, actors and industry participants have assembled a petition seeking to have the fugitive released.
Zurich police took the 76-year-old into custody at the request of Los Angeles prosecutors who still have an open case against him regarding a 1970s statutory rape conviction. A rape conviction had been removed from his case as part of a plea bargain, but Polanski fled the U.S. before his sentencing and has been hiding out in plain sight in Europe ever since.
Among those offering Polanski their support were Martin Scorsese, Woody Allen, Monica Bellucci, Tilda Swinton, Terry Gilliam and others.
The petition seeking his release says, “It seems inadmissible to them that an international cultural event, paying homage to one of the greatest contemporary filmmakers, is used by the police to apprehend him.”
Other stars, such as Whoopi Goldberg, also defended him, saying, “It was something else, but I don’t believe it was rape-rape,” she told EOnline.
However, public comment on the website’s forum page was running in the opposite direction.
“The slimeball was not wanted for sleeping with a 13-year-old girl. The slimeball – who is also a sand flea and a self-entitled, overbloated, manipulating egotist – is wanted for skipping out on a hearing over his sentencing. For having unlawful sex with that 13-year-old. … The girl had been drugged and had said no. Polanski went ahead anyway. He was originally charged with rape, but the charge was reduced to unlawful sex with a minor as part of a plea bargain,” said one forum participant.
“To the petitioners – you have once again proven that Hollywood is intellectually and morally bankrupt. Have you read the transcript of the victim? It’s available on the Internet and lays to rest the implication that this young girl engaged in consensual sex. She was drugged and she said, ‘NO,’” wrote another.
Said a third, “He admitted to the crime and skipped out on sentencing. There is no doubt he is guilty. He should be treated as any fugitive would.”
Reuters pointed out that if prosecutors are able to get him back to Los Angeles, the judicial system deals more harshly today with such criminals that it would have in 1977.
“He might never see the light of day if he was brought to court today, but at the time, attitudes were a little more relaxed,” Stan Goldman, a professor at Loyola Law School in Los Angeles, told the news agency.
The report also noted that several states including Louisiana and South Carolina have sought in recent years to apply the death penalty to those convicted of sexually assaulting children, although those laws later were thrown out by the U.S. Supreme Court.
If you would like to sound off on this issue, participate in today’s WND Poll.