Rolf Harris was sentenced to 5 years and 9 Months in prison on Thursday after he was convicted on 12 counts of indecent assault. One of his victims was only 7-8 years at the time of the assault.
Mr Justice Sweeney said the entertainer had taken advantage of his celebrity status to perpetuate the crimes and silenc the women.
Harris who himself admitted that he was ’cuddly’ in nature touched one of the victims indecently as she went to collect his autograph. Another said the singer groping her at an event in Cambridge robbed her of her childhood innocence.
Seven of the counts relate to Harris’ daughter’s Bindi’s best friend whose abuse by Harris began from hen she was still a minor although Harris insists the relationship happened much later.
Justice Sweeney said, “In every case, the age gap between you and the victim was a very considerable one. You clearly got a thrill from committing the offences while others were present or nearby. Whilst others did not realise what you were doing, their presence added to the ordeal of your victims.” Reports the Standard.
Another victim Tonya Lee who waved her rights to anonymity, told the court that the 82 year old had abused her three times in one day when she was only 15.
Harris has now been stripped of his honorary degree from the University of East London, his Bafta fellowship and also risks losing his CBE.
Meanwhile, there’s been a huge backlash over in his hometown of Australia with many saying his sentence was too lenient- a sentiment echoed by other victims and children’s charities in England.
It will be 2017 before Harris who is the sole carer for his wife Alwen is eligible for parole. Thought to be in poor health, she wasn’t present in court for his sentencing.