Editor’s Note: No free pass for any child rapist

Ingrid Jacques
The Detroit News

Melissa Gilbert, the actress who brought Laura Ingalls Wilder to life in “Little House on the Prairie,” made some comments on a TV show in 2009 that are coming back to haunt her.

And they should. Gilbert moved to Michigan from California and is running for Congress in the 8th District, challenging Rep. Mike Bishop, R-Rochester.

But running for office opens the door to past skeletons.

As a guest host of “The View” seven years ago, Gilbert and the other hosts discussed the arrest of famous movie director and producer Roman Polanski in Switzerland for drugging and raping a 13-year-old girl three decades earlier. Polanski had pleaded guilty of assaulting Samantha Geimer in 1977, but fled the U.S. before he was sentenced.

Hollywood is loyal to its own, and on the show, Gilbert downplayed Polanski’s crime, saying that “it’s gray area when momma is in the building,” in reference to reports that Geimer’s mother was at the house when the rape occurred.

Gilbert went on to say that “the punishment at this point may be excessive.” On the same show, Whoopi Goldberg also said that Polanski hadn’t committed “rape-rape.”

Seriously? What Polanski did to that child was horrific and inexcusable.

Just because the director has talent doesn’t give him a free pass.

The same goes for Gilbert. Imagine the media outrage if a non-famous Republican said those same things about child rape.