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A tale of two pedophiles

From A to Zowie

A tale of two pedophiles

By Richard Zowie

NOTE: Originally I submitted this for publication in the May 19, 2010 issue of the Mt. Morris/Clio and Birch run/Bridgeport Herald (Michigan) newspapers, but space was limited that day due to Senator Carl Levin eulogizing longtime Detroit Tigers broadcaster Ernie Harwell and my colleague, Mandilee Loomis, writing an excellent column “Draw a line for me please” about people viewing pornography in public libraries. I don’t know if this will be published in the paper in the future, especially since I’ll be writing about Memorial Day for next week, but for the moment, here it is…

Since I contribute columns to my hometown newspaper, the Beeville (Texas) Bee-Picayune, I receive the newspaper in the mail when it comes out. I enjoy keeping track of what’s happening in South Texas and seeing what’s going on.

Sometime in the past few years, I read in the paper that a man had been convicted of child molestation. When I saw his name, I recognized him as someone I attended school with. I never knew him personally, but I felt sadness for the victims of “John” (not his real name) and for what John had foolishly done with his own life. He was sentenced to a lengthy prison term.

In prison, convicted child molesters have it extremely rough and are classified with cockroaches regarding their position on the convict food chain. Without getting into too many graphic details, I understand they are often the target of assaults of various kinds from other inmates. For some, suicide seems the best option—even if it means facing hell as a final destination.

As I write this, John is in prison wondering if his nightmare will ever end.

Too bad John isn’t a famous filmmaker.

Also as I write this, French-born filmmaker Roman Polanski is fighting to avoid extradition back to the United States. We remember how Polanski, who directed the films “Rosemary’s Baby” and “Chinatown” and, more recently, the 2002 Academy Award-winning film “The Pianist”, pled guilty in 1977 to unlawful sex with then-13-year-old Samantha Geimer. He then fled America to France to avoid what would’ve almost certainly been a prison sentence after the presiding judge reneged on the original plea bargain.

Geimer has publicly said she forgives Polanski and wants the matter dropped. Various Hollywood directors and actors, such as Woody Allen (who left longtime girlfriend Mia Farrow and at 56 married Farrow’s 22-year-old adopted daughter) have signed a petition supporting Polanski. Actor Michael Douglas, at the Cannes Film Festival to promote his new film, told French radio he would not sign the petition and felt it would not be fair to sign the petition for “somebody who did break the law.”

As for Geimer, perhaps her “let’s move on” attitude would make a shred of sense if her case was isolated. But now, 42-year-old British actress Charlotte Lewis claims that when she was 16 around 1983, Polanski allegedly sexually assaulted her.

Lewis’ allegations undoubtedly won’t result in more criminal charges against Polanski since the statute of limitations has expired, but it may put a wrinkle in his efforts to have his original sentence commuted or dismissed. Some say where there’s smoke, there’s fire while others wonder why Lewis waited 27 years to air her allegations.

Lewis said an interview with a British newspaper that she was scared and ashamed and felt at first that the alleged attack was her fault, which is common for victims of sexual assault. She also said she would “never forgive” Polanski and that the director’s alleged actions ruined her life. She has, according to the interview, abused drugs and struggled in relationships since then.

IF Lewis’ accusations against Polanski are true, it would be truly astonishing how the director seemed to learn nothing from his acts against his first victim.

I have no idea if they broadcast FOX or CNN in prison or if they read the newspapers, but if they do, John no doubt will wonder why he’s in prison while Polanski has enjoyed a long life of freedom abroad and who may still avoid prison.

If only John had instead been a world-famous pedophile instead of an unknown pedophile from a small South Texas town…

Richard Zowie’s a reporter and columnist for the Herald. Visit his blog at http://www.fromatozowie.wordpress.com or e-mail him at richardzowie@gmail.com.

  1. May 30, 2010 at 2:37 pm

    Very true.
    Sad, but true. I wish this would’ve ran in the Herald, I think it is a very very interesting column and topic.

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