Imagine if the Knight of Columbus decided to give an award to a pedophile priest who had fled the country to avoid prison. The outcry would be universal. Victim groups would demand the award be withdrawn and that the organization apologize. Religion reporters would be on the case with the encouragement of their editors. Editorial writers and columnist would denounce the knights as another example of the insensitivity of the Catholic Church to sexual abuse.
And they would all be correct. And I would join them.
But why is there not similar outrage directed at the film industry for giving an award to Roman Polanski, who not only confessed to statutory rape of a 13-year-old girl but fled the country prior to sentencing? Why have film critics and the rest of the media ignored this case for 31 years? He even received an Academy award in 2003. Are the high priests of the entertainment industry immune to criticism?
And further commentary:
There is the obvious parallel to the cases in the Catholic Church, which have rightly scandalized the public and the media. Prosecutors and plaintiffs’ attorneys have been dogged in pursuing these cases — whether out of concern for their careers or for justice — and the outrage was so widespread that the State of California created a one-year window in 2003 during which the statute of limitations on abuse crimes by Catholic priests (and others) was lifted. That meant the victims of men who were often long dead could finally get their day in court, or find some sense of justice and closure — and for cases that were no more egregious than Polanski’s abuse of Geimer. Polanski is alive, at least.