Rolf Harris, Australian TV presenter and artist who once had the Queen sit for one of his portraits, has been charged with 13 indecent sex offences on children. Within minutes of the announcement, his paintings began trending on Ebay.
Harris, 83, was interviewed in November of last year and then arrested back in March of 2013, after allegations of child sex abuse on young girls.
Nine of the offences are said to relate to girls under the age of 16 taking place between 1980-81. Four more offences relate to one girl in 1986, who was age 14 at that time. Harris also had in his possession a collection of indecent pictures of young girls, for which he has also been charged.
Harris was arrested in connection with Operation Yewtree’s child sex assault project and follows in the wake of the charges brought against BBC TV presenter Jimmy Savile, BBC Radio 1 disc jockey, Dave Lee Travis and publicist to the celebrities, Max Clifford.
The chief Crown Prosecutor, Alison Saunders stated:
“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.” She went on:
“The alleged indecent assaults date from 1980 to 1986 and relate to two complainants aged 14 and 15 at the time of the alleged offending.”
Rolf Harris arrived from Australia to the UK in 1952 and has been watched on television by generations in both Australia and the UK for over 50 years, hosting his own shows, targeted at children, families and art enthusiasts. He has been known for hosting television programmes, “The Rolf Harris Show”, “Rolf’s Cartoon Club”, “Animal Hospital” and “Animal Clinic,” from which he was sacked, following his arrest.
This news also comes as a complete shock to many children and adults alike, who have been fans of the famous television artist and entertainer for many years.
Harris was once viewed as a television family favourite, was also present at several televised Royal command performances over the decades, appearing before the Queen and other members of the Royal family, and was often seen meeting, chatting and laughing with them back stage afterwards.
Mr Harris has also received 3 honours of the British Empire from the Queen herself. In 1968 he received a Member of the British Empire (MBE), followed by an Order of the British Empire (OBE) in 1977. In 2006, his status was progressed to Commander of the Order of the British Empire (CBE).
Then in June of 2012, Mr Harris was awarded one of his own country’s most esteemed honours when the Queen made him an ‘Officer of the Order of Australia’ on Her Majesty’s Birthday Honours List.
In the mean time, Rolf Harris, CBE, is also trending on Ebay. His original oil paintings have been popping up for sale on the shopping site and started within minutes of the news of his indecent assault charges going viral. One of his oil paintings, simply entitled “Niki,” features a young nude, posing on a chair and staring listlessly out of a window. The price on the painting is valued at US $93,096.00.
As yet, there have been no bidders.
Harris will be appearing in court 23 September of this year. Neither his lawyer nor publicist has so far been available for comment.
By Brucella Newman