Rolf Harris groomed 13-year-old girl for sex, court told
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[May 28, 2014]
By Jack Stubbs
LONDON (Reuters) - Veteran
Australian entertainer Rolf Harris groomed and psychologically
dominated a 13-year-old girl before repeatedly sexually abusing her,
a British court was told on Wednesday.
A mainstay of family entertainment for more than 50 years,
Harris is charged with 12 counts of indecent assault against
four girls, some as young as seven or eight, between 1968 and
Seven of the counts relate to one woman.
"This was not a consensual relationship, this was child abuse.
Grooming. You effectively psychologically dominated that girl,"
Prosecutor Sasha Wass said, addressing the 84-year-old musician
and TV-presenter, on the witness stand at London's Southwark
Harris, who denies all the charges, told the jury on Tuesday
that he had been in a relationship with the woman, but that this
had not started until she was 18, and that it had been an adult
and consensual affair.
He also told a series of anecdotes detailing his rise to
stardom, including a rendition of his famous comic song "Jake
"Yesterday you delighted us with a demonstration of your many
talents," Wass said.
"The prosecution does not suggest for a moment that you are
anything but a brilliant and polished performer. But this case,
as you know, is not a talent show. This case is taking place to
decide whether beneath your friendly loveable exterior there is
a darker side lurking."
Harris said the relationship had been a series of isolated
incidents and purely sexual.
"Did you love her?" asked Wass.
"It still had the feeling of love and affection ... it was a
mutual feeling of warmth and affection," he said, on his second
day of evidence at the indecent assault trial - now in its
fourth week - and the first day of cross-examination.
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Harris is the biggest name to go on trial since British police
launched a major investigation after revelations that late BBC TV
host Jimmy Savile was a prolific child sex abuser, leading to the
arrest of more than a dozen ageing celebrities.
The court has previously heard that he abused the woman throughout
her teenage and young-adult life. On one occasion he molested her
within yards of his sun-bathing wife and daughter and performed oral
sex on her in the same room as other sleeping children, the jury of
six men and six women was told.
Wass said that even when an adult, the woman had been too
intimidated by Harris' fame and public-standing to tell police.
"Everybody in this court who has given evidence has said that they
wouldn’t have stood a chance against you if it was your word against
theirs. Because you were so famous, so popular, so loved by
everyone," she said.
"You were able to play with her like she was a toy."
"Didn't happen," Harris replied.
The trial continues.
(Editing by Louise Ireland)
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