Rolf Harris, the 84-year-old British entertainer and celebrity, is facing 12 counts of sexual assault to four under-aged minors between 1968 and 1986. Rolf denies the accusations. Prosecutor Sasha Wass began her case by stating that Harris’ victims were enamored upon beginning relations with Rolf Harris, she then continued to argue that his prestige, fame, and reputation made the victims powerless and himself untouchable to any denunciations.
Harris has been a British broadcasting icon for decades. He regularly created shows to appeal to children. He has had a career with BBC since 1955, and simultaneously held a broadcasting job at ITV. Wass acknowledged Rolf Harris’ success by suggesting he has a “Jekyll and Hyde” like split-personality. One part of him is an intelligent and creative entertainer, but the other side enables him to have the confidence to molest girls without fear of consequence because of his stature and his knowledge of the unlikelihood anyone would believe them. Of the 12 counts of sexual assault to minors Harris is facing, seven of them came from one victim whom Wass described as being “groomed like a pet” until she gave in to the sexual advances from Harris. Wass assured that the woman would testify to becoming an alcoholic due to the abuse from the popular entertainer.
One woman confessed that while she was working as a waitress in Cambridge when she was 14, she saw Harris outside a marquee. She then went on to say that Harris sensually rubbed her shoulders, back, and buttocks and continued on his way as if nothing happened. A makeup artist from Australia’s Channel 7 indicated that Harris was known as “the octopus” due to the way he would always put his hands on female peers.
Harris Rolf denies the 12 counts of sexual assaults to minors, but he does not deny the existence of relationships with the accusers. Harris wrote a sincere letter to the father of one of the alleged victims. He admitted to her father that he had an affair with the woman when she was of legal age, but that no rape, brutality or beating took place. Harris also included in the letter an apology for “the misery I have caused.”
The only other confession given by Rolf Harris concerning the 12 counts of sexual assault that he is facing came from an admission to police about an affair he was having with a woman he met when she was under the age of 19. Harris claims the relationship did not start until she was of age. Harris informed the authorities that the woman attempted to blackmail him by threatening to go to the press and that he subsequently paid her 25,000 pounds to keep quiet.
Harris’ defense attorney accused the women who put forth the 12 counts of having ulterior motives, and found opportunity in the accusations against Harris to acquire a settlement. Wass countered by saying that the similarities between all the testimonies from the victims make that an impossibility, telling jurors that the notion of so many people conjuring similar false allegations was “ludicrous.”
By Andres Loubriel