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Family TV entertainer Rolf Harris found guilty of serial sex assaults

Published on Jul 1, 2014 12:53 AM

LONDON, June 30 (Reuters) - Rolf Harris, a mainstay of family entertainment in Britain and Australia for more than 50 years, was found guilty on Monday on 12 charges of indecently assaulting young girls over two decades.

Harris, 84, was unanimously convicted by a jury of six men and six women of sexually assaulting four girls, some as young as seven or eight, between 1968 and 1986.

An artist and musician who presented prime-time TV shows mostly aimed at children, Harris is the biggest name to go on trial since British police launched a major investigation after revelations that the late BBC TV host Jimmy Savile was a prolific child sex abuser. "Rolf Harris used his status and position as a world famous children's entertainer to sexually assault young girls over a period spanning 18 years," Ms Jenny Hopkins, deputy chief crown prosecutor in London, told reporters. "The victims in this case have suffered in silence for many years and have only recently found the courage to come forward."

During the trial, the prosecution had portrayed the bearded, bespectacled entertainer, who once painted Queen Elizabeth's portrait, as a predator who groomed and abused one woman for her entire teenage and young-adult life.

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