CORONATION Street star Bill Roache has been criticised after saying victims of paedophiles bring abuse upon themselves because of what they have done in previous lives.
• Actor says sex assault victims due to what they’ve done in “previous lives”
• Comments made in New Zealand TV interview
• Roache calls for sex offenders to have anonymity
The star, 80, who has played strait-laced Ken Barlow in the ITV soap for more than 50 years, told New Zealand’s One News that the public should not be judgmental but be “totally forgiving” of people who have committed child sex crimes.
The actor, talking about the furore around the Jimmy Savile sex abuse revelations, also defended people “on the fringes”, especially pop stars, who he said were “caught in this trap” by sexually active young female groupies.
His comments were condemned by the National Association for People Abused in Childhood (NAPAC), which said his comments were an insult to abuse victims.
In a behind the scenes interview for the television channel, Roache discussed the exposure of former DJ Savile as one of the country’s most prolific ever paedophiles who may have abused hundreds of children.
He said: “If you accept that you are pure love, and if you know that you are pure love and therefore live that pure love, these things won’t happen to you.”
Interviewer Garth Bray replied: “To some people that sounds perhaps like you’re saying victims bring things on themselves - is that what you’re saying?”
Roache replied: “No, not quite, but and yet I am, because everything that happens to us has been a result of what we have been in previous lives or whatever.”
The Corrie veteran went on to call for anonymity for all those accused of child sex offences because of the stigma they faced even if innocent.
He said: “Paedophilia is absolutely horrendous. Paedophiles should be sought out, rooted out and dealt with.
“But there’s a fringe of people who, particularly pop singers, they have these groupies, these girls, who come, they’re sexually active, sexually mature, they don’t ask for their birth certificate, they don’t know what age they may be.
“But they’re certainly not grooming them and exploiting them, but they can be caught in this trap.
“These people are instantly stigmatised, some will be innocent, some will not, but until such time as it’s proven there should be anonymity for both.”
He added: “If someone has done something wrong the law will take its course. “But even so, all of them, whether they are proven guilty or not, we
should not be judgmental about anybody, ever. “We shouldn’t go around condemning, unforgiving. We should all be totally forgiving about everything.” Dr Jon Bird, from NAPAC, condemned Roache’s spiritualist beliefs, saying child sex abuse left people with horrific physical and mental scars.
“Abuse is a crime. The rape of a child is an appalling crime and the long term effects we here about include suicide,” he said.
“There is a whole range of terrible consequences that are life-long.
“This is a real insult, it is horrible. I think a lot of people will be deeply offended by what he said.”