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Los Angeles prosecutor drops artist’s sex accusation against Roman Polanski

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Prosecutors in Los Angeles said on Tuesday they declined to pursue criminal charges against film director Roman Polanski after a woman said last fall that he molested her 43 years ago when she was 10 years old.

The Los Angeles County District Attorney’s Office was investigating charges that Polanski, a long-time fugitive from the United States, committed lewd and lascivious acts with a child and sodomy with a minor, but did not proceed because it was beyond the statute of limitations, spokesman Greg Risling said.

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The office pegged the date as Jan. 1, 1975 and declined to identify Polanski’s accuser. The prosecutor opened the investigation in December.

The accuser, who identified herself online as artist Marianne Barnard, accused Polanski, now 84, in October of having molested her when he photographed her as a naked 10-year-old under an open fur coat in a photo shoot arranged by her mother.

“After it happened, I didn’t say anything to anyone,” Barnard said in a post on thepetition.com, where she is seeking signatures urging that the Academy of Motion Picture Arts and Sciences revoke Polanski’s board membership.

Polanski’s lawyer, Harland Braun, said the incident never happened, adding that because police and prosecutors have stopped looking into the matter, he is pursuing his own investigation in an effort to clear his client.

“We have what we believe is a totally fictitious case against Mr. Polanski,” said Braun.

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Polanski in 1977 admitted to having unlawful sex with a 13-year-old girl in Los Angeles and spent 42 days in pre-trial custody. He fled the United States the following year, fearing a plea bargain with prosecutors would be overruled and that he would get a lengthy prison term.

In November, Swiss prosecutors dropped an investigation of him after finding that the country’s statute of limitations did not allow pursuing allegations by a former German actress and model that he raped her in 1972 when she was 15 years old.

Polanski won an Academy Award in 2003 for directing “The Pianist.”

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(Reporting by Peter Szekely in New York; editing by Grant McCool)


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Buffalo has a long history of protecting cops from criminal charges: report

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On Saturday, The Daily Beast documented the recent history of use of force in the Buffalo Police Department, which is reeling from controversy as two officers face assault charges for shoving a 75-year-old protester to the ground.

"As shocking as this all may be to outsiders, the shoving of demonstrator Martin Gugino and the defiant response of officers to an effort to discipline two of their own is indicative of the state of police affairs in Buffalo," wrote Jim Heaney. "Has been for a long time, not that you have to go back too far to find other episodes of brutality that have been captured on video."

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Internet disgusted after Buffalo first responders cheer cops charged with assaulting 75-year-old protester

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Commenters on Twitter expressed both contempt and disgust for Buffalo firefighters and police officers who turned out in front of Buffalo City Court to support two suspended police officers with applause and cheering.

Moments after officers Aaron Torglaski and Robert McCabe were charged with second-degree assault and then released without having to post bail, they were greeted as heroes outside the courthouse.

After a video was posted showing the celebration, commenters on Twitter vented at cops and firefighters for defending the two officers who assaulted the 75-year-old man who had to be rushed to a hospital after they shoved him to the ground where he sustained a head injury.

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Donald Trump’s lurch toward fascism is backfiring spectacularly

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Welcome to another edition of What Fresh Hell?, Raw Story’s roundup of news items that might have become controversies under another regime, but got buried – or were at least under-appreciated – due to the daily firehose of political pratfalls, unhinged tweet storms and other sundry embarrassments coming out of the current White House.

During the 2016 campaign, as Donald Trump railed against "Mexican rapists" and other "criminal aliens," pollsters found that the share of Americans who said that immigrants worked hard and made a positive contribution to our society increased significantly, and noticed a similar decline in the share who said they take citizens' jobs and burden our social safety net. After Trump was elected and began pursuing his Muslim ban, the share of respondents who held a positive view of Islam also increased pretty dramatically. I'm not aware of any polling of the general public about transgender troops serving in the military before Trump decided to discharge them, but Gallup found that 71 percent of respondents opposed his position after he did.

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