Bitter Factoids: Roman Polanski


At the end of Roman Polanski’s Chinatown, with John Huston’s sins revealed and Jack Nicholson ready to throw down, we hear the famous line, “Forget it, Jake. It’s Chinatown.”

Well, it looks like the Los Angeles District Attorney didn’t forget it. Last weekend, Swiss authorities arrested Hollywood’s most famous fugitive, and the decades-old sexual abuse case has been living on the front page since.  L.A. Dist. Atty. Steve Cooley vows to bring Polanski to justice for drugging and raping then 13-year-old Samantha Geimer, but the director, backed by a number of high-profile Hollywood supporters, is threatening to fight extradition every step of the way.

Let’s break it down by numbers:

44

Polanski’s age at the time of the crime in 1977.

13

Victim Samantha Gailey’s (now Samantha Geimer) age.

18

Age of consent in California where the crime occurred. California’s first penal code in 1850 criminalized sex with girls under the age of 10. The age of consent was raised to 14 in 1889, to 16 in 1897, and finally to 18 in 1913, according to Slate’s Explainer column.

12

Number of U.S. states where the age of consent is 18, according to Wikipedia.  31 states plus District of Columbia have state laws making the age of consent 16, while 17 is the age of consent in 7 states.

3

Number of countries today (Japan, South Korea and Spain) where the legal age of consent is 13, according to The Daily Beast.

30

Approximate number of countries today (including Austria, Italy, and Lichtenstein) where the age of consent is 14, according to The Daily Beast.

6

Number of initial charges brought against Polanski in the 1977 indictment, including rape by use of drugs, child molesting and sodomy.

1

Number of charges Polanski eventually pleaded guilty to, which was unlawful sexual intercourse.

16

Approximate number of times then 13-year-old Samantha Gailey claims to have told Polanksi “no” the night of the incident, which included him offering her champagne and quaaludes, skinny dipping together and him having oral, vaginal and anal sex with her, according to the transcript of Gailey’s 1977 grand jury testimony on The Smoking Gun.

2

Number of times then 13-year-old Samantha Gailey said she had sex previous to her encounter with Polanski, according to the transcript of her 1977 grand jury testimony on The Smoking Gun.  She also admitted to having drank champagne and tried quaaludes previous to her incident with Polanski.

90

Number of days Polanski was ordered to spend at California’s Chino state prison to undergo a psychiatric evaluation, according to the Los Angeles Times.

42

Number of days Polanski spent in Chino before he was released, according to the Los Angeles Times.  Those 42 days served were the original sentence Judge Rittenband agreed to for the single charge.

15

Mandatory minimum number of years in state prison for rape, sodomy or a lewd act with a child, pursuant to a current state law, according to MSNBC quoting former prosecutor Robin Sax on how laws regarding sex offenders having changed since the 1970s.

14

Approximate number of months that elapsed between former Los Angeles Deputy District Attorney David Wells’ two contradictory statements regarding Polanski’s sentencing. In July of 2008, Wells told The New York Times that he stood by claims he had made in the 2007 HBO documentary Roman Polanski: Wanted and Desired about having advised Judge Laurence J. Rittenband on how to sentence Polanski. Earlier this week, Wells recanted his story, telling the same paper, “I’ve got to tell you, I lied.”

31

Number of years Polanski has been a fugitive from justice.

27

Number of years that elapsed after Polanski fled the U.S. before American authorities sought his return by issuing an international arrest warrant, according to The Guardian.

2

Number of separate documents filed by Polanski’s lawyers with the California 2nd District Court of Appeals asking for a dismissal of all charges against the director, according to CBS.

23,599

Number of fans on the “Roman Polanski” Facebook page.

1,827

Number of members in the “Free Roman Polanski” Facebook group.

312

Number of members of the “Roman Polanski Should Be Extradited to the U.S.” Facebook group.

79

Number of members of the “Roman Polanski Is Adorable” Facebook group.

$95,905

Total worldwide gross for the theatrical release (released in only 9 theaters) of HBO’s Roman Polanski: Wanted and Desired, according to BoxOfficeMojo.com.

$154,086,901

Total U.S. grosses of Polanski-directed films including Rosemary’s Baby, Chinatown, and The Pianist, according to The-Numbers.com.

$120,000,000

Total worldwide gross of Polanski’s 1992 film The Pianist, according to The-Numbers.com.

100

Approximate number of Hollywood directors who have signed a petition in support of Roman Polanski. According to the Los Angeles Times, the list includes Martin Scorsese, David Lynch, Michael Mann, Mike Nichols and Woody Allen.

Bitter Staff is a collection of current and former editors, contributors, and various other lawyers who have written for Bitter Lawyer over the years. Posts include interviews, contests, and other general lawyerly and bitter content.

19 Comments

  1. BL1Y

    October 2, 2009 at 2:35 am

    I don’t understand the support for Polanski.  It’s not like he’s claiming an unfair trial or something, he pled guilty.

  2. Alma Federer

    October 2, 2009 at 3:22 am

    It is because he is an “artist”, and artists are known to take unwarranted liberties with unsuspecting girls. That is unforgiveable.  That is why I very strongly recommend to all of you the movie HARD CANDY. Both young women who have been victimized by men, as well as men who take advantage of us pretty young women should think twice about victimizing women (of any age).  In it, a young girl (Ellen Page – from Juno), who is about to be taken advantage of by a sleazy child preditor/photographer, turns the tables on the sleazebag.  You men will learn from this movie that we women have feelings too, and that we can get back at you for hurting us.

  3. Lawyer Bob

    October 2, 2009 at 6:06 am

    I don’t get the support for Polanski, either. But support from a guy like Woody Allen in a case like this is doom.

  4. MSJD

    October 2, 2009 at 6:26 am

    Can’t believe there is a FB group for people who think he’s adorable. He’s vile and he should be in jail. But so should the girl’s mom. Where was she in all of this? She’s 13 and she lets her daughter go alone with Roman Polanski to do a photo shoot! INSANE!

  5. Marty

    October 2, 2009 at 6:46 am

    I actually think they should just let Polanski go. He pled guilty and was supposed to get probation, then he fled because of alleged judicial misconduct. We don’t really know what happened there, but the judge in the case is dead, the victim has moved on with her life and wants this over, and the LA DA didn’t really do anything on this until 2005. Is he a scumbag, sure. But is going after Polanski worth it? I don’t think so. Move on, folks.

  6. KateLaw

    October 2, 2009 at 7:22 am

    I think he should face the repercussions of his actions -just like everyone else has to do in our country’s legal system.  He should not get special treatment just because he’s a famous director or because so much time has passed.  What kind of message does that send?  It’s a matter of policy.

  7. Craig

    October 2, 2009 at 8:24 am

    I would just let it be.  Living as a fugitive and in exile for the past 30 years is enough punishment.  And not to freak anybody out, but the legal age for consent, drinking, driving, etc.. in the United States is too high

  8. Leon

    October 2, 2009 at 9:12 am

    Craig, it’s an arbitrary line. I agree with that. But I wouldn’t put that line at 13. I think I’d draw it at 16 for sex, drinking, driving, voting. For the military I’d keep it at 18.

  9. BL1Y

    October 2, 2009 at 9:25 am

    Age of consent should be 25 minus 1 year for each point a girl scores on a scale of 1-10.

  10. Nelly

    October 2, 2009 at 10:28 am

    @ BL1Y. Dumb. Not funny.

  11. BL1Y

    October 2, 2009 at 10:56 am

    Seriously though, it’s stupid that statutory rape is a strict liability offense.  If nothing else, just put the burden on the accused to show by a preponderance of the evidence (or even by clear and convincing evidence) that he believed the victim was of legal age to consent.

  12. Er, no.

    October 2, 2009 at 12:03 pm

    You mean living as a fugitive in exile in his luxury flat in Paris and traveling all over Europe?  Give me a freaking break.  He drugged, raped and sodomized a 13 year old girl – to suggest that moving to Europe and living high on the hog the whole time is sufficient punishment shows you to be a typical elitist commie whacko who thinks supporters of The Party should be above the law.  Let’s hope you feel the same way after another member rapes your wife or daughter Craig.

  13. LawyerLover

    October 2, 2009 at 12:07 pm

    @, Er, No. Can we leave Craig’s family out of this? Why can’t you just disagree and be civil?

  14. Anonymous

    October 2, 2009 at 8:14 pm

    Did anyone else read the girl’s grand jury testimony on Smoking Gun?  It really changes your perspective.

  15. Guano Dubango

    October 3, 2009 at 1:43 am

    I like what BL1Y has to say.  As you Americans say, he is very wise beyond his years.  I would like for my Aunt Ooona to read some of his work.

  16. Guano Dubango

    October 3, 2009 at 1:50 am

    I read the smoking gun.  There is 36 pages of Transcript of the girl.  But here is summary.  I do not think this man is any good. He took advantage of little girl.  Read this==============.

    >>>>>>>>>>>>>>>>>>>>>>>this is terrible===========================

    The teenager’s troubling–and contemporaneous–account of her abuse at Polanski’s hands begins with her posing twice for topless photos that the director said were for French Vogue. The girl then told prosecutors how Polanski directed her to, “Take off your underwear” and enter the Jacuzzi, where he photographed her naked. Soon, the director, who was then 43, joined her in the hot tub. He also wasn’t wearing any clothes and, according to Gailey’s testimony, wrapped his hands around the child’s waist.
    The girl testified that she left the Jacuzzi and entered a bedroom in Nicholson’s home, where Polanski sat down beside her and kissed the teen, despite her demands that he “keep away.” According to Gailey, Polanski then performed a sex act on her and later “started to have intercourse with me.” At one point, according to Gailey’s testimony, Polanski asked the 13-year-old if she was “on the pill,” and “When did you last have your period?” Polanski then asked her, Gailey recalled, “Would you want me to go in through your back?” before he “put his penis in my butt.” Asked why she did not more forcefully resist Polanski, the teenager told Deputy D.A. Roger Gunson, “Because I was afraid of him.”

  17. Devil's Advocate

    October 3, 2009 at 8:43 am

    Of course, grand jury testimony is going to change your perspective. It’s a one-sided account that DA’s use to develop a case. Wonder what you’d think if she actually had testified and gone through cross.

  18. Craig

    October 3, 2009 at 10:30 am

    Er, no …  I don’t care enough about Roman Polanski or you to even respond to your profoundly ignorant post.

  19. Anonymous

    October 5, 2009 at 2:42 am

    Even the “girl” who was Raped by Polanski has become old and wishes for this to be put behind her.  But I think the fellow ought to be punished.  Having him share a cell with men who look like “Mr. T” might give this guy the idea that he should have kept his pecker in his pants.

Leave a Reply

Your email address will not be published. Required fields are marked *

You may use these HTML tags and attributes: <a href="" title=""> <abbr title=""> <acronym title=""> <b> <blockquote cite=""> <cite> <code> <del datetime=""> <em> <i> <q cite=""> <strike> <strong>