Connect to share and comment

UK police charge Rolf Harris with 9 counts of indecent assault

British police charged the Australian-born entertainer as part of Operation Yewtree, which was set up in the wake of the scandal involving BBC host Jimmy Savile.

Rolf harris Enlarge
Rolf Harris performs during the Queen's Diamond Jubilee Concert at Buckingham Palace in London on June 4, 2012. (AFP/Getty Images)

British police have charged Australian entertainer Rolf Harris with nine counts of indecent assault as part of Operation Yewtree, set up in the wake of a scandal involving former BBC host Jimmy Savile.

Harris, 83, also faces four charges of making indecent images of children.

The veteran TV personality was first questioned by police in November over allegations of sexual assault. Harris was arrested in March and released on bail while police reviewed the evidence against him. He was charged Thursday and is due to face court on Sept. 23. 

"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 with nine counts of indecent assault and four of making indecent images of a child," Chief Crown Prosecutor Alison Saunders said in a statement.

Six of the offences relate to the indecent assault of a girl aged 15-16 between 1980 and 1981. Another three offences relate to a girl aged 14 in 1986.

The indecent images were allegedly made between March and July 2012.

Harris, who lives in Berkshire, west of London, has been a household name in Britain and Australia for more than half a century, and the charges against him have shocked the entertainment industry.

Apart from presenting various television shows around the world, Harris has also put out 30 studio albums and 48 singles including his hit “Tie Me Kangaroo Down, Sport,” which topped the Australian singles chart in 1960 and went to No. 3 in the United States.

In 2005, Harris painted a portrait of the queen, which the Press Association described as the "pinnacle" of his career, and he was awarded an MBE in 1968, an OBE in 1977 and a CBE in 2006.

Operation Yewtree is investigating historic claims of sex abuse, including allegations against Savile, who died in 2011 at the age of 84.

So far, 14 people have been arrested and, of those, four have been charged, including Harris.

The allegations against Harris are not connected to the investigation into Savile, who is believed to have abused hundreds of children and women over more than 50 years.

More from GlobalPost: My life with sex criminal Jimmy Savile
 

http://www.globalpost.com/dispatch/news/regions/europe/united-kingdom/130830/rolf-harris-charged-indecent-assault-operation-yewtree