Pulling A Polanski? Rape Charges Fly As Weinstein Flees To Europe

Things have gone from bad to worse for Hollywood film mogul Harvey Weinstein.

When The New York Times first reported the story, Weinstein was accused of sexually harassing at least eight women, all of whom had received a settlement in exchange for signing a non-disclosure agreement. But the story exploded as the board of his own company fired him and more women lodged allegations.

On Tuesday, the whole mess went nuclear. Three women accused Weinstein of rape as hitherto mum Hollywood A-listers Gwyneth Paltrow and Angelina Jolie alleged they suffered sexual harassment by Weinstein.

Late Tuesday night, the skeevy perv — who one aspiring actress said once forced her to watch him masturbate and then ejaculate into a potted plant — boarded a private plane and left the United States.

Weinstein headed for Europe, TMZ.com reports, but it's unknown what country.

"We're told Harvey has decided to take the advice of the people around him and leave immediately. We're told he will enter a live-in facility and will deal both with sex and other behavioral issues," TMZ wrote.

Weinstein's sudden departure is reminiscent of another Hollywood icon who was accused of raping a 13-year-old girl. Director Roman Polanski was arrested and charged in 1978 in Los Angeles with five offenses — rape by use of drugs, perversion, sodomy, lewd and lascivious act upon a child under 14, and furnishing a controlled substance to a minor.

He worked out a deal in which he'd plead guilty to "unlawful sexual intercourse" in exchange for prosecutors dismissing the five initial charges, but when he learned he would likely go to jail, Polanski, who was free on his own recognizance, fled to England.

Of course, Polanski has never returned to the United States and has lived in Europe, mostly France and Poland, ever since.

Various authorities have tried to prosecute Polanski. He was arrested in Switzerland in 2009 at the request of the United States. Hollywood celebrities and European artists and politicians demanded his release. He was jailed for two months but never extradited to America.

In 2015, a Polish judge denied a request by the United States to extradite Polanski.

So Polanski was able to skirt the law and continue his work as a director, even winning awards and being lavishly praised by Hollywood A-listers.

Weinstein no doubt knows the tale and is wondering if he can pull it off, too.

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