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Polanski facing extradition over underage sex -

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Polanski facing extradition over underage sex

Barbara Miller reported this story on Monday, September 28, 2009 12:33:00

ELEANOR HALL: He should have been the guest of honour at the Zurich Film Festival, but instead
Roman Polanski spent Sunday in a Swiss jail facing extradition to the United States.

The director has been detained on an arrest warrant dating back 30 years. Back then he fled the US
after pleading guilty to having sex with a 13-year-old girl.

While Polanski fans argue the case should be dropped, sexual assault counsellors say the director's
fame and fortune shouldn't get in the way of the fact that he committed a serious offence.

Barbara Miller has our report.

BARBARA MILLER: Life has dealt Roman Polanski some harsh blows. His mother died in Auschwitz. His
first wife Sharon Tate was hacked to death by Charles Manson followers when she was heavily
pregnant.

But the director has also famously found himself on the wrong side of the law, in a case dating
back to 1977. It was then that he had sex with a 13-year-old girl at a party in the home of the
actor Jack Nicholson. He had allegedly drugged the teenager beforehand.

Polanski pleaded guilty, but fled the US before sentencing - later claiming the judge appeared to
be about to renege on a plea bargain. He settled in his country of birth, France, where he enjoys
protection from extradition to the US and great respect.

The French Culture Minister Frederic Mitterrand has protested strongly about Polanski's arrest in
Switzerland describing him as a wonderful man.

FREDERIC MITTERAND (translated): My reaction is one of very, very strong emotion. Roman Polanski is
an internationally recognised film maker who does our country honour in the sense that he has made
many films in France and that he lives here.

BARBARA MILLER: Polanski, the director of Chinatown and Rosemary's Baby, is also highly regarded as
a director.

OSCAR NOMINATION: And here are the nominees for the 75th achievement in directing.

BARBARA MILLER: And in 2003 he won the best director Oscar for The Pianist.

OSCAR ANNOUNCMENT: To Roman Polanski.

BARBARA MILLER: There was outrage among film buffs in Zurich where Polanski was due to receive a
lifetime achievement award about his arrest.

VOX POP: I am ashamed to be Swiss because I don't understand how they can bother this gentleman
after 30 years and sometimes here we are so mild towards other things that are real crimes.

VOX POP 2: It is very, very stupid in a way. Let him go. I mean that is a long time ago and
whatever it was, it is nobody's business.

BARBARA MILLER: But some tourists on the Hollywood Walk of Fame were less forgiving.

VOX POP 3: Time doesn't make the crime go away. If you do the crime, you should do the time.

VOX POP 4: That is a disgusting crime and they should be prosecuted today, tomorrow, 50 years from
now. I think justice should be served and he should be prosecuted and sentenced just like any other
average Joe would be.

VOX POP 5: I think it depends on if it is something like shoplifting or rape. I mean, I think, 30
years later, the store got over the fact that you shoplifted something but this girl, her life will
never be the same.

I mean you can't get over something like rape or murder or something. You can't make it right. You
can't go back and make it right so you know, I think if the victim still feels the pain then the
perpetrator should be able to feel the punishment.

BARBARA MILLER: Karen Willis the manager of the New South Wales Rape Crisis Centre says there's no
doubt that Roman Polanski should be extradited to the US.

KAREN WILLIS: Absolutely. There is no statute of limitations on sexual assaults and 30 years ago he
would be in his mid-40s and a man of that age knows that having sex with a 13 year old is not on
and he has clearly gone ahead.

He can't use an excuse of youthful exuberance or anything else. He was a mature adult and he must
be held account for his crimes.

BARBARA MILLER: Polanski's victim, who's now in her forties, has already sued the director for an
undisclosed amount. She's previously called for the case against him to be dismissed.

Karen Willis.

KAREN WILLS: I am wondering whether that is because she feels that it was OK for a 46 year old man
to have sex with a 13 year old or, and I am guessing, it is more likely that the whole idea of now
30 years later having to go through the court processes, having all of those memories brought back
up when she would have already done the recovery work and been getting on with her life.

To go back there again, that is a big ask for anybody.

BARBARA MILLER: It's not clear why after so many years in Europe Roman Polanski has been arrested
now. This time it's understood US authorities learned of his plans to go to Zurich and contacted
Swiss authorities. A formal extradition request is expected to be lodged within 60 days.

ELEANOR HALL: Barbara Miller reporting.