One week ago today, on Monday, July 12 we learned that Switzerland would not extradite director Roman Polanski back to the United States to face sentencing for a crime he has already pleaded guilty to – having unlawful sexual intercourse with a 13-year old girl after he drugged her in 1977.
Most Americans know the story.
The Oscar winning director of “Chinatown,” “The Pianist,” and “Rosemary’s Baby,” was accused of luring the girl to Jack Nicholson’s house while the actor was out of town under the guide of having a modeling shoot with the child. Once the girl arrived, Polanski allegedly gave her champagne and part of a Quaalude, and then had sexual intercourse with her.
Some Americans have argued that the crime happened so long ago that prosecutors should simply move on.
Actress Whoopi Goldberg once insinuated what Polanski did may not fit the legal definition of rape in some countries – which actually turned out to be inaccurate.
All of those people are wrong though.
What Roman Polanski did was a cruel, disturbing, selfish act that tormented the life of a young girl and has haunted her throughout her womanhood.
A possible victim of Stockholm Syndrome or perhaps just emotionally exhausted, the victim herself has recently withdrawn her long standing adamant requests to see Polanski sentenced, and now says she just wants the case to go away so she can put it behind her.
Certainly, she deserves compassion and respect. But if we put this case behind us without seeing justice done then it’s only a sending a message to other sexual predators, celebrities and wealthy people who commit crimes that justice delayed is justice denied.
For decades the Swiss have helped people evade justice under the pretense they are neutral. They are not neutral.
They illegally shielded money the Nazis stole from the Jews during the Holocaust. It is widely known they help people who hide money they’ve stolen from fraudulent transactions, and in this case, they are an accessory after the fact in helping Polanski evade justice for raping a child.
Switzerland is evil.
Their policies of so-called neutrality are evil and they are cowardly. I can’t think of anything more cowardly than hiding behind the guise of neutrality when a crime has been committed against an innocent person or people. There is no gray. There is good and there is evil. It is in fact black and white.
As a former prosecutor who now selectively practices criminal defense, I often hear other criminal defense lawyers justify their actions when they represent defendants who are guilty of violent crimes – something I won’t do. They say that they do it for the system, that everyone deserves a good defense and that they’re not the ones who committed the crime.
But anyone with a moral conscience knows those are all pathetic excuses. Anytime anyone uses their own power to shield evil – or refuses to use the power they have to stop it, they are committing an act of evil themselves.
When someone makes an innocent person suffer they deserve to suffer themselves through the civil system of justice we have created. Without consequences, a message is sent to the perpetrator and other would-be perpetrators that it’s okay to hurt someone again.
Objectivist philosopher Ayn Rand once wrote that, “Whenever good and evil compromise, evil always wins.” She was right. In this case, Switzerland has compromised their morality and responsibility to the global community to extradite a convicted child rapist.
Evil has won.
Jeffrey Scott Shapiro is an investigative reporter and former Washington, D.C. prosecutor who is now practicing law in Florida and the District of Columbia. He can be reached at firstname.lastname@example.org.
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Jeffrey Scott Shapiro is an investigative journalist who reported his editors at The Globe tabloid to the FBI in 1999.