The Disturbing Report from Polanski's Probation Officer

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Oct. 12 2009 10:02 AM

The Disturbing Report from Polanski's Probation Officer

The New York Times quotes extensively from the September 1977 probation officer's report about Roman Polanski . The report is appallingly sympathetic towards Polanski, describing his rape of Samantha Gailey as "spontaneous and an exercise of poor judgment by the defendant." The report, by acting probation officer Kenneth F. Fare, says that Roman Polanski was not a pedophile, and places the some of the blame back on Gailey and her mom: "There was some indication that circumstances were provocative, that there was some permissiveness by the mother."

But the most upsetting part of the report is the part that excuses Polanski's behavior because he's a creative genius and an immigrant:

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Possibly not since Renaissance Italy has there been such a gathering of creative minds in one locale as there has been in Los Angeles County during the past half century. While enriching the community with their presence, they have brought with them the manners and mores of their native lands which in rare instances have been at variance with those of their adoptive land.

I don't think Gailey felt particularly "enriched" by Polanski's manners and mores. Unfortunately, even the cops in L.A. were blinded by Polanski's charm and celebrity entitlement.

Jessica Grose is a frequent Slate contributor and the author of the novel Sad Desk Salad. Follow her on Twitter.

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