- The Washington Times - Wednesday, September 30, 2009

The National Organization for Women has lashed out against movie director Roman Polanski.

“He’s a criminal. He is a convicted criminal pedophile,” said Terry O’Neill, president of NOW. “How dare Roman Polanski think he could get away with this. I believe he has banked on men — powerful decision-makers — who are more intent on protecting rapists than children. This is the world Polanski is exploiting. It’s outrageous.”

Polanski was arrested as he arrived Saturday in Switzerland for a film festival. He fled the United States for France in 1978, a year after pleading guilty to unlawful sexual intercourse with an underage girl.

The surprise arrest at the Zurich airport is expected to lead to a high-profile extradition process that could take weeks or months.

Many in the creative community have raced to defend their own.

An army of prominent film artists, European apologists and liberal heavyweights have sprung up to defend the filmmaker, indicted in 1977 for drugging and raping a 13-year-old girl. Now 76 and a French citizen, Mr. Polanski sits in Swiss jail awaiting extradition to the United States as the combat continues and sympathizers cast him in the role of martyr.