Year in Review: Trouble With the Law
- Photo: Invision/AP2 of 17
Nabbed for: Unlawful Sexual Intercourse
Suspected of: Moral Ambiguity
A grand jury charged filmmaker Polanski in 1977 with rape by use of drugs, sodomy, lewd and lascivious act upon a child under 14, perversion and furnishing a controlled substance to a minor. Polanski pleaded guilty to the lesser charge of engaging in unlawful sexual intercourse and submitted to a psychiatric evaluation. When rumors surfaced that the presiding judge might imprison Polanski and then deport him, the actor fled to France. The victim filed a civil suit against Polanski in 1988 for sexual assault, intentional infliction of emotional distress and seduction, and in 1993 Polanski agreed to pay out a civil settlement of at least $500,000. In August of 1996, a court filing against him stated that he still owed the victim $604,416.22, plus interest. Polanski has been dodging the original U.S. arrest warrant since 1978, as well as an international arrest warrant, issued in 2005. In September of this year, Polanski was arrested by Swiss police at the request of the United States, while traveling to receive a lifetime achievement award. His long-delayed arrest spurred debate across various news outlets as more than 100 actors, producers and filmmakers (including Woody Allen and Wes Anderson) signed a public petition insisting he be released. "We demand the immediate release of Roman Polanski," urged the petition. "Film-makers in France, in Europe, in the United States and around the world are dismayed by this decision … It seems inadmissible to them that an international cultural event, paying homage to one of the greatest contemporary film-makers, is used by police to apprehend him." Polanski currently awaits in house arrest as his appeal of the U.S. extradition request proceeds through the Swiss courts.