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Critics riled as Polanski extradition fails

7-month house arrest ends
By Rachel B. Duke
Updated: 7:07 p.m. on Monday, July 12, 2010
The decision by Swiss authorities Monday not to extradite Oscar-winning director Roman Polanski over his rape of a 13-year-old girl provoked anger and disappointment in the U.S., though Washington made no retaliation threats.
Conservative critics saw the release as the latest example of European "sophistication" about sex and/or Hollywood rallying around one of its own, while some feminist and anti-rape groups saw sexist excuse-making and coddling of the rich and famous.
"Making him a heroic figure is a paean to pedophilia," said Judith Reisman, president of the Institute of Media Education and a longtime Polanski critic. "It is a tragic fact that he was released, but it fits the European model, and it's not a model the U.S. should follow."
Polanski was released from his seven-month house arrest at the Milky Way, his three-story vacation chalet in the luxurious Alpine resort town of Gstaad. He was on his way to a film festival in Zurich in September when he was arrested on the request of U.S. authorities.
"We're disappointed when people who abuse children aren't held accountable. Unfortunately, people who have access to money and power oftentimes are perceived as being above the justice system," says Karen Baker, director of the National Sexual Violence Resource Center.