Don't be distracted by the recent debate over whether fugitive movie director Roman Polanski should return to America and do time for sex crimes.
Don't let ill-informed daytime talk show hostesses convince you it wasn't really a crime.
Don't get distracted by Hollywood types who claim the deed was done more than 30 years ago and poor Polanski has been through enough in his life. After all, they argue, Polanski lost family in the Holocaust and his pregnant wife, Sharon Tate, was brutally murdered by Charlie Manson's gang.
Don't let the media convince you that angry prosecutors, stung by an HBO documentary on the case, suddenly sprang to life to go after a case they'd abandoned. That's been proven to be malarkey and structured around a former DA who now he admitted he lied about influencing the judge in the original case.
All of that is beside the point. This case boils down to a few simple questions: Is rape okay if the perpetrator is famous? Is it okay for a 44 year old man to feed drugs and drink to a 13 year old girl and have sex with her? Should all be forgiven if the man involved has won accolades, like say, an Academy Award?
How about NO, NO and NO!
So why are so many people, from TV gabber Whoopi Goldberg who said it wasn't "rape rape" since Polanski pleaded guilty to only "unlawful sex with a minor" to tainted actor Woody Allen and on to movie mega-producer Harvey Weinstein, who said he's "calling on every film-maker we can to help fix this terrible situation," all about forgiving and forgetting what Polanski did?
I can't imagine why. Sex with a minor is rape - period.
What if it were their 13 year old child drugged and demeaned by a 44 year old man? Would a sexual attack on their youngster be excused if the attacker was a famous creative type? For those who would ask, "Well why did her mother let her go alone to actor Jack Nicholson home (the scene of the crime) for a solo photo shoot?" - don't give it a second thought, that's just more obfuscation. Do I think her mother was smart about it? I do not but that's not the point.
Some facts you may not have known: The 1977 "photo session" was not a spur of the moment event during which Mr. Polanski simply lost his head. This was the second time Polanski requested to photograph this particular 13 year old girl. The first time he convinced her to go topless so he asked her back again to arouse himself and see what else he could get her to do. This second meeting was pre-meditated, done with criminal intent in my book. Polanski lured this child again and when she complained of having an asthma attack from the steam in the hot tub he'd cajoled her into and asked to be taken home his answer was to give her booze, a Quaalude and direct her to a nearby bedroom where he anally raped her.
For goodness sakes don't buy that distracting argument that the girl somehow consented to the sex because a 13 year old cannot give informed consent and it doesn't matter that the victim, now a 40-something mother of three, desires the case be dropped. It isn't up to the victim and besides we now learn she took a half million dollars to buy her silence. No wonder she wants it to go away. This case was filed on behalf of the people of the State of California vs. Roman Polanski and it is the state that calls the shots.
The only outstanding question right now should be why Roman Polanski fled the United States 32 years ago and denied justice for the child in the first place. He'd pleaded guilty to the crime and ran away like a coward.
I don't care how many of Polanski's peers come forward to discuss how dismayed they are by the decision to finally pluck Polanski from his cushy life and put him behind bars. HE RAPED A CHILD.
No one gets a pass on a crime like this. Not the guy next door and not the guy who just happened to direct movies like Rosemary's Baby, Chinatown or The Pianist.
I saw an old video clip on the CBS Early Show this week in which a young looking Roman Polanski demurely shrugged his shoulders and with a crooked smile admitted, "Well, I like young girls ... I suppose most men do."
Yes, Roman, I suppose you're right but most adult men realize it is a crime to interact sexually with them! Your cavalier attitude when asked about the crime makes me wonder how many other unsuspecting girls you despoiled in your smarmy career.
As the mother of a daughter I'm outraged that what Polanski did doesn't matter to some people. I'm aghast that once again a celebrity is thought to deserve a pass. I'm disgusted that some actors and Polanski's fellow film industry luminaries are circulating a petition for his immediate release from prison. Shame on them.
Diane Dimond can be reached through her official web site www.DianeDimond.net