Entertainer Rolf Harris found guilty of sexual assaults

by Reuters
Monday, 30 June 2014 15:02 GMT

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LONDON, June 30 (Reuters) - Rolf Harris, a mainstay of family entertainment in Britain and Australia for more than 50 years, was found guilty on Monday of 12 charges of indecently assaulting young girls over a period of nearly 20 years.

Harris, 84, was unanimously found guilty at a London court of indecently assaulting four girls, some as young as seven or eight, between 1968 and 1986.

Harris, an artist, musician and singer who presented TV shows mostly aimed at children, is the biggest name to go on trial since British police launched a major investigation after revelations that the late BBC TV host Jimmy Savile was a prolific child sex abuser.

More than a dozen ageing celebrities have been targeted as part of the same over-arching investigation.

Harris will be sentenced on Friday.

During the trial, the prosecution had portrayed the entertainer, who once painted Queen Elizabeth's portrait, as a predator who groomed and abused one 13-year-old girl for her entire teenage and young-adult life.

Harris, who sang snippets of his most famous songs when giving evidence in court, said he had only ever had a consensual adult affair with the woman. He had denied all the charges and said the allegations against him were "laughable".

A spokesman for the Harris family said they would not be commenting, in light of the verdicts, and asked that their privacy be respected. (Reporting by Costas Pitas; Editing by Robin Pomeroy)

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