Time does not minimize the crime, which in its details is creepy, but jail would no longer serve a purpose.
Actually, Cohen never uses the word "rape." Indeed, at one point, he refers to it as a seduction:
He seduced -- if that can possibly be the word -- the 13-year-old Samantha Geimer with all the power and authority of a 44-year-old movie director who could make her famous.
No, Mr. Cohen, "seduced" cannot possibly be the word. Pick another. Give "rape" a try. It fits pretty well.
At least Cohen's Washington Post colleague, Anne Applebaum, sets him straight. Oh -- wait, I'm sorry; Applebaum agrees Polanski should not be imprisoned:
He did commit a crime, but he has paid for the crime in many, many ways: In notoriety, in lawyers' fees, in professional stigma. He could not return to Los Angeles to receive his recent Oscar.
Oh, he wasn't able to receive his Oscar? Well, that changes everything! Clearly, the man has suffered enough! In fact, let's all apologize to him. Applebaum comes close in her conclusion:
If he weren't famous, I bet no one would bother with him at all.
Well, nobody would write columns arguing that he's already been punished enough by being kept from displaying an Oscar on his mantle, that's for damn sure.
UPDATE: Conservative blogger Patterico says Anne Applebaum's husband, Polish Foreign Minister Radoslaw Sikorski, is lobbying the US to drop proceedings against Polanski. That sure seems like something Applebaum should have disclosed, doesn't it?
UPDATE 2: Applebaum says she's disclosed before, so it's no big deal that she didn't this time:
"I have disclosed that before, more than once. Also, when I wrote the blog I had no idea that my husband, who is in Africa, would, or could do anything about it, as Polanski is not a Polish citizen. I am not responsible for his decisions and he is not responsible for mine. "
Applebaum's previous disclosure of who her husband is, of course, has next to nothing to do with the question of whether she should have disclosed that her husband is lobbying the US to go easy one Roman Polanski at the same time she is writing a Washington Post column to that effect.
But then, maybe she's just adhering to the Howard Kurtz school of intermittent disclosure.
UPDATE 3: Applebaum's defense of her defense of Polanski has some flaws.