Australian entertainer slapped with sex charges

Agence France-Presse
13 counts of indecent assault and indecent images against British-TV celebrity Rolf Harris

BEYOND THE PUBLIC FRIVOLITY. Police had been watching Harris for some time. Photo: AFP

LONDON, August 29, 2013 (AFP) – Rolf Harris, the veteran Australian artist and entertainer, has been charged with 9 counts of indecent assault on two girls aged under 16, prosecutors in Britain said Thursday, August 29.

The 83-year-old, who has long been a fixture on British TV, was also charged with 4 counts of making indecent images of children.

READ: Entertainment wRap: Crimes and controversies

Here is ITN’s report on the sex charges against Harris:

Harris is one of several older celebrities in Britain arrested under Operation Yewtree, the police investigation set up in the wake of revelations that the late BBC star Jimmy Savile was a prolific sex offender.

READ: British star Savile’s victims set to seek damages – lawyer

Harris, who moved to England in 1952, has been a popular figure on British television screens for decades.

He painted an 80th birthday portrait of Queen Elizabeth II in 2005, took part in her diamond jubilee celebrations last year, and has been honored by both Britain and Australia.

The presenter and musician is due to appear in a London court on September 23.

Alison Saunders of England’s State Crown Prosecution Service said: “We have concluded that there is sufficient evidence and it is in the public interest for Mr. Harris to be charged with 9 counts of indecent assault and 4 of making indecent images of a child.”

Harris faces 6 counts of indecent assault relating to a girl aged between 15 and 16 for incidents dating from April 1980 to April 1981, and 3 relating to a girl aged 14 from April to June, 1986.

He was further charged with 4 counts of making indecent images of children, sometime between March and July, 2012.

As a singer, Harris topped the Australian charts in 1960 with “Tie Me Kangaroo Down, Sport” and the British charts in 1969 with “Two Little Boys.”

His trademark sound is the wobble board, which he accidentally contrived by shaking a painting board.

Here’s Harris with his wobble board performing Led Zeppelin’s ‘Stairway to Heaven’:

About 14 people have been arrested under Operation Yewtree, 4 of whom have since been charged, including broadcaster Dave Lee Travis.

The charges against Harris and Travis are not connected to Savile, regarded by the police as one of Britain’s worst-ever sex offenders. – Rappler.com

 

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