LONDON (AP) — Veteran Australian-British entertainer Rolf Harris denied charges of indecent assault Tuesday, a day that saw the start of high-profile trials of several entertainment figures accused of sex crimes allegedly stretching back several decades.
The 83-year-old Harris pleaded not guilty to 12 counts of sex crimes alleged to have happened between 1968 and 1986. He was accompanied by his wife and daughter at the brief hearing at London’s Southwark Crown Court.
Australia-born Harris was a British broadcaster for decades, and enjoyed a hit with “Tie Me Kangaroo Down, Sport.” He once performed the novelty song with the Beatles. Harris is expected to face trial in April.
Prominent disk jockey Dave Lee Travis and “Coronation Street” soap opera star William Roache were also in court Tuesday on sexual abuse charges.
Travis, 68, is accused of assaulting “vulnerable” young women while working in the entertainment industry. He has denied 13 counts of indecent assault and one of sexual assault.
In another court, prosecutors said that Roache — who plays Ken Barlow in the long-running show — took advantage of his fame to abuse young girls and keep them from speaking out.
The 81-year-old has denied five counts of indecent assault and two counts of rape. The offenses are alleged to have happened between 1965 and 1971.
The charges follow the wide-ranging police inquiry into sex crimes committed by the late Jimmy Savile, a well-known entertainer for decades.