Rolf Harris, 83, charged in UK over child sex abuse

PUBLISHED : Friday, 30 August, 2013, 12:00am
UPDATED : Friday, 30 August, 2013, 11:13am

Rolf Harris, an Australian entertainer, was charged yesterday as part of a British police probe into sexual-assault allegations.

Harris, 83, faces nine counts of indecent assault of girls as young as 14 and four offences of making indecent images of children, the Metropolitan Police said. The alleged assaults took place from 1980 to 1986, while the images were made last year, police said.

Harris was arrested in March by officers investigating child abuse by people in the entertainment industry.

The investigations began last year with accusations against the late British Broadcasting Corporation television star Jimmy Savile, which triggered a scandal at the world's largest public broadcaster.

"We have determined that there is sufficient evidence for a realistic prospect of conviction and that a prosecution is in the public interest," Alison Saunders, chief prosecutor for the Crown Prosecution Service, said.

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 in 2005, took part in her diamond jubilee celebrations last year, and has been honoured by both Britain and Australia.

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

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

Harris was first interviewed by police last November and arrested in March this year when he was released on bail pending further investigations. He denied all wrongdoing.

Additional reporting by Reuters


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