herald

Wednesday 23 August 2017

Harris charged with 9 indecent assaults of girls

Accused: Rolf Harris. Photo: Reuters
Accused: Rolf Harris. Photo: Reuters

VETERAN entertainer Rolf Harris has been charged with nine counts of indecent assault and four counts of making indecent images of a child.

The 83-year-old is accused of the offences between 1980 and 1986, relating to two alleged victims, who were 14 and 15 at the time, the UK Crown Prosecution Service (CPS) said.

Alison Saunders, of CPS London, said: "We have carefully considered the evidence gathered by the Metropolitan Police Service as part of Operation Yewtree.

"Having completed our review, we have concluded that there is sufficient evidence and it is in the public interest for Mr Harris to be charged."

The charges that he faces are:

* Six counts of indecent assault relating to a girl aged between 15 and 16, from 1980 to 1981;

* Three offences of indecent assault relating to a girl aged 14, in 1986;

* Four offences of making indecent images of a child between March and July 2012.

Harris was interviewed under caution on November 29 last year, five days after a search warrant was executed at his Berkshire home.

He was questioned as part of Operation Yewtree, the national police investigation sparked by allegations of abuse against DJ Jimmy Savile.

Harris was publicly named as a Yewtree suspect only in April, when the Sun newspaper became the first media outlet to identify him in connection with the investigation.

The inquiry has been run in three strands – claims involving Savile, those involving Savile and others, and those involving others.

Harris is being dealt with under the 'others' strand, meaning the allegations have no link to Savile.

The Australian, who painted a portrait of Queen Elizabeth in 2005 and performed at her Diamond Jubilee concert last year, has been a family favourite for decades.

He had his first musical hit Tie Me Kangaroo Down, Sport in 1960, and continued to enjoy success in the industry, gaining cult status in recent years and performing at Glastonbury several times.

 

Presenter

He also proved popular as a TV presenter, getting his first big break in 1967, when he began hosting his own BBC1 programme, The Rolf Harris Show, before moving on to children's television in the 1980s and then to Animal Hospital, which he hosted from 1994 to 2004.

Harris will appear at Westminster Magistrates' Court on September 23.

hnews@herald.ie

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