…but Kate Harding has saved me the trouble by writing essentially what I was thinking, and probably doing a better job of it than I would have.
I will add that the attitudes of those who would whitewash Polanski’s sorry crime and make excuses for him are not only wrong, but an example of the precipitous decline of what used to be known as Western Civilization.
A couple of legal points: it doesn’t matter what the victim wants at this point. It never does, except in the sentencing phase at the judge’s discretion, because one of the differences between civil and criminal law is that criminal acts are considered a crime against society as a whole.
There is also no proper legal sentence for a crime except the one handed out by the courts. “He’s suffered enough in other ways” is hogwash. If the court decides to take this into consideration and be lenient in the sentencing phase, fine. But that’s the court’s prerogative.
There are many sorts of judgments and many kinds of offenses. A victim can choose to forgive his/her perpetrator, but that’s on a personal level.
And a perpetrator can receive forgiveness from God, either in this life or the next; that’s between that person and the deity. But that’s divine law and divine justice. We happen to reside on earth, where justice is administered (albeit imperfectly) by our legal system. And that’s the system that Polanski had managed to evade for so long, and which may have finally caught up with him.
The wheels of justice grind slow, but they grind exceedingly fine.