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Shamed Rolf Harris faces more sex abuse claims

Rolf Harris: Shamed entertainer faces more charges. Picture: PA

Rolf Harris: Shamed entertainer faces more charges. Picture: PA

  • by JAMES TAPSFIELD
 

FRESH sex abuse allegations were made against Rolf Harris yesterday amid calls for tributes and honours to the disgraced star to be removed.

After the 84-year-old’s unanimous conviction on Monday on 12 charges involving four women – most while they were under age – police said they will look at fresh allegations that were not part of his trial.

Dozens more alleged victims came forward during the trial, including several in Australia, and Scotland Yard officers have been in touch with their counterparts in the Australian police.

Richard Scorer, a lawyer with Slater & Gordon which represents 176 victims of Jimmy Savile, said his firm had been contacted by “up to a dozen people” with allegations about Harris and were considering them. The 12 women who have contacted Slater & Gordon are thought to be from the UK, New Zealand and Australia.

Mr Scorer said: “We back an overarching inquiry into child abuse once those reports which are still outstanding are completed.

“It is vital we do everything possible now to learn from the mistakes of the past and take this opportunity to toughen the laws around the protection of children and vulnerable adults in institutions.”

NSPCC chief executive Peter Wanless said the charity had received an “explosion of calls” from people concerned about sexual abuse, though not directly related to Harris himself, following Monday’s convictions.

Mr Wanless said: “I think this case is symptomatic of an increased confidence that people have now to seek justice for crimes that have been committed against them.”

And he said that the decision by Harris to feature in a child abuse prevention video, Kids Can Say No, in the 1980s had shown his “absolute hypocrisy”.

Mr Wanless said Harris had commissioned an independent film company to make the video then asked the NSPCC about the accuracy of the messages in it.

Mr Wanless said: “It is extraordinary – it shows… the sort of self-confidence that sexual predators can feel that they are almost above the law.”

Harris faces jail when he is sentenced on Friday, and his reputation was in ruins yesterday following his conviction.

Simon Danczuk, MP for Rochdale, has called for the star’s honours to be revoked. Harris received an MBE in the 1960s, followed by an OBE a decade later, and a CBE in 2006.

Mr Danczuk, said: “I think the guy is an absolute disgrace and he is bringing the whole honours system into disrepute.”

While the Cabinet Office said it could not comment on individual cases, normal protocol sees honours from Buckingham Palace being forfeited in circumstances where the person is considered to have brought the system into disrepute.

A recommendation can be made by the honours and appointments secretariat to the forfeiture committee to revoke an honour if a person has been found guilty of a criminal offence. The decision must be approved by the Queen.

In 2005, the Queen sat for Harris while he painted a portrait, commissioned by the BBC for television programme The Queen by Rolf, to mark her 80th birthday. In 2012, the entertainer was one of the performers at the Queen’s Diamond Jubilee celebrations at Buckingham Palace.

Harris’s portrait of the Queen was on display at the palace during 2006 before being returned to the BBC. A spokesman said yesterday that the corporation does not have the painting in its collection.

Meanwhile, it has been reported that Jimmy Savile showed Harris around Broadmoor high security psychiatric hospital while women patients were getting undressed for bed. However, an investigation into Savile’s abuse at the hospital found that, although Harris did visit, there was no indication of inappropriate behaviour by him.

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