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Woody Allen, The Moral Authority on Child Rape

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Ronda Kaysen: It turns out that Woody Allen -- the guy who left his longtime girlfriend for her adopted daughter -- is an authority on crime and punishment.

The 74-year-old filmmaker thinks that Roman Polanski has paid his dues for raping a 13-year-old girl and should be left alone. According to Allen's logic, living in Paris and getting to make critically acclaimed movies -- but never getting to pick up his awards in person -- is punishment enough.

Woody Allen

"It's something that happened many years ago," Allen told a French radio station. "He has suffered, he has not been allowed to go to the United States. He was embarrassed by the whole thing."

I'm sure it was very embarrassing for Polanski -- and isn't embarrassment punishment enough for drugging, raping and sodomizing a child? Woody Allen must know a thing or two about embarrassment. The whole I-had-an-affair-with-my-sort-of-stepdaughter-who's-34-years-younger-than-me incident must have been a wee bit embarrassing for Woody.

What absolves Polanski of his guilt, as opposed to other child-rapists who actually serve their sentences? We're hardly a country that views sex crimes favorably. Just look at the Supreme Court, which has such an unkind feeling toward sex offenders that it just decided that some should stay locked up forever.

Well, what makes Polanski different, you see, is his art. According to Allen, "He's an artist; he's a nice person" -- and is therefore not really subject to the law. 

"He did something wrong, and he paid for it," Allen added. "[His critics] are not happy unless he pays the rest of his life. They would be happy if they could execute him in a firing squad. Enough is enough."

I don't think anyone's calling for Polanski's execution. I think his "critics" are merely saying that he was convicted in a court of law for having sex with a child, and the fact that he's a talented guy doesn't give him a free pass to rape girls.

Given the recent claims by British actress Charlotte Lewis that she, too, was sexually assaulted as a teenager by Polanski, it's plausible that the 1977 incident in the hot tub was not an isolated incident. Maybe, despite Allen's outrage that his friend has had to live in dreary France all this time, there's good reason for putting someone -- regardless of his talents -- in jail for raping a 13-year-old. Perhaps it would have protected other young girls from the same fate.

next: My 12-Year-Old Had Her First Kiss
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