Does A Bad Past Excuse A Crime?

Apparently, it does according to John Farr:

But the story of what Polanski suffered even before the unspeakable trauma of having his pregnant wife Sharon Tate butchered in the spooky twilight of the turbulent sixties makes me believe that overall, he’s as much victim as predator himself.

Can you imagine living in the Krakow ghetto during the Nazi Occupation, and at the tender age of ten watching both your parents shuttled off to concentration camps, only to have your mother die in one?

These horrors by no means excuse his crime, but they are mitigating factors, are they not?

No, I cannot imagine living in a ghetto but I also cannot imagine the trauma Samantha Geimer, now 45, went through as a 13 year old child…Polanski’s troubled past does not excuse his crime, period…Why haven’t other Holocaust survivors committed similar crimes? They too had to deal with living in ghettos and concentration camps and the loss and torture of loved ones…Just as the Holocaust was a colossal crime against humanity, rape especially the rape of a minors is also a crime against humanity and there are no excuses for either…

Farr continues:

So, with all due contempt for child molesters in general, I hope the case will be handled expeditiously, and if and when sentenced, that Polanski ultimately receives a measure of leniency. In other words- don’t throw away the key.

I can’t help musing that here in America, we drove away Chaplin for all those years, and though Polanski’s crime was much harsher and more defined, I, for one, would welcome having him back among us once he’s paid his debt to society. Maybe he could even help us make better movies again.

It’s good to know that Mr. Farr has contempt for poor and untalented child molesters and admiration for rich and talented ones…Has Roman Polanski paid his debt to society? Does making award-winning films negate his past sins? Why should celebrities get preferential treatment? Is talent more important than crime?

Roman Polanski may be talented but the fact is, he’s an admitted child rapist who ran away from justice…

A commentator to the post rightly said:

Every rapist has their reasons or stories. perhaps they were raped in the past or suffered some trauma or other psychiatric stress. should we let all rapists off the hook? the consequence of jailtime as a deterrent and shows such behavior is not compatible with current society. Polanski should be locked up.
His movie accolades have absolutely zero role in this discussion.


25 thoughts on “Does A Bad Past Excuse A Crime?

  1. I am fully with you on this.

    Unfortunately, the harsh fact is that all through history, there have been different rules for the ‘nobility’ and ordinary folks. Farr’s views, no matter how much he tries to garnish them, reflect that reality.

    I wonder why people are so forgiving of celebrities when it comes to rape…Are they as forgiving of celebrity murderers?


  2. The answer to your qstn is ‘NO’..If we were to justify crimes based on one’s past,how easy is it to get away from the punishment ..Every person has one or another reason to be evil,but since everybody in this world are not evil,I assume that it is humane to forgive and forget and it is satanic not to do so..


  3. I wonder if Mr Farr would have the same things to say had that crime been committed to somebody close to him. Not only did the man commit a crime, but the fact that he has been avoiding countries where he will be caught is just too much to digest.

    On the contrary, he should get harsher punishment for the fact that even remorse never brought him to the doors of justice in all these years! He should have handed himself over. I am sure a decent amount of taxpayers money was spent on tracking him! He should be accountable for that too!


  4. A person has to bear the punishment for the crime committed. NO excuse. everyone has a justification why they did the crime in the first place..Those justification should not absolve anyone from facing the consequences…

    Double standards inour society exist from time immorial. yesterday i was viewing one video about eygpt civilisation, wherein it is said, the mummification of body depends upon the person. if he is poor not much procedures..if he is rich then proper procedures are followed..


  5. Wow! Can anyone really pay his ‘debt to society’ for something like this?

    Not only rapists but people accused of any crime can put forward ‘reasons’ from their past for it. We may perhaps ‘understand’, but I think we cannot ‘forgive’. He has to be punished.


  6. I don’t understand how people can talk about excusing his crime because of his past. Yes, it could be a matter to be studied or analysed, but his crime still remains a crime. How can this person be viewed with any sort of leniency? And all this just because he is a celebrity.. His punishment for the crime, should be based on the crime, rather than what he went through in his past or how successful he has been, since.


  7. No. That is one word reply to your question.

    I have never understood why people so easily get away with crimes on the basis of childhood trauma and depression. At least put them behind bars and then treat. Most crimes are committed by people who aren’t clear in their head. So that shouldn’t be an excuse.


  8. Shiney Ahuja’s case and this case have this much in common, that both are celebrities, and both have the support of some sections of public. In one case the victim has a past of closeness to men (!) so the victim must be wrong, in another the culprit has an unhappy past so he must be excused. We seem determined to excuse crimes like rape. but never murder


  9. This “traumatic past” thing is bandied for too long.

    The last comment hits the nail on its head. Everybody goes through troubles in their lives. I agree the intensity could be higher for some but to say that creates a desire to do harm to others is unacceptable logic. To argue that a traumatic childhood and the murder of his wife made him rape a child is monstrous and inhuman.

    How does wayward behaviour today ease your past trauma? His achievements otherwise are of no consequence.


  10. it must be surely a NO bones… but the things is we are human within an animal…

    when some wrong things happen to one at a wrong time… it gets registered into his/her mind and nakes him to do sins….


  11. Yeah, I don’t understand why his creative contribution to the world is being brought into the equation. He’s a rapist, and a child rapist at that. and he ran away from justice which in itself is a crime…Polanski deserves no mercy.
    This whole blaming the past for actions of the present thing is what the multi-billion-dollar therapy business thrives on. So I guess there’ll always be someone out there making these kinds of insane arguments.


  12. The support Polanski is getting is because of his fame and talent and not due to the mental trauma he underwent in his childhood
    You know, if he had murdered someone, we wouldn’t have seen so much sympathy for him…Rape, I think, is not considered a ‘serious’ crime…


  13. Interesting…most here seem to talk about the crime as if it were “t=final”. I think if you look at it as “t=0”, and the context which followed it… might be a more sensible way of looking at.
    You could still come to the same conclusion, but at least your rationalization would be correct. The way this currently reads, it smacks of a society reeking with ADD.


  14. As humans, we have the ability to raise ourselves out of our conditioning and take responsibility for our actions. If anyone says that a criminal committed a crime “because” of his or her past, then they’re as good as saying that the person is an animal with no self control.

    Of course, I’m talking about emotional repercussions here. I do have sympathy for a person who steals food if he or she is starving for example. I mean I’ve never had to starve and I can’t predict how I’d behave if I were. I’d likely steal too.


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