Skip to main content

Entertainer Rolf Harris found guilty of abusing women, girls as young as 7

By Peter Wilkinson, CNN
updated 12:59 PM EDT, Mon June 30, 2014
Veteran Australian artist and entertainer Rolf Harris arrives at Southwark Crown Court in central London on Friday.
Veteran Australian artist and entertainer Rolf Harris arrives at Southwark Crown Court in central London on Friday.
STORY HIGHLIGHTS
  • Rolf Harris is found guilty in a London court of 12 charges of sexual abuse
  • 84-year-old musician and artist painted portrait of Queen for monarch's 80th birthday in 2006
  • Offenses Harris committed against four women took place as far back as 1970
  • Harris charged under Operation Yewtree investigating abuse allegations by public figures

London (CNN) -- Australian children's entertainer Rolf Harris, 84, was found guilty Monday in a London court of 12 charges of sexually abusing women and girls as young as 7 years old.

The musician and artist, who painted a portrait of the Queen for the monarch's 80th birthday in 2006, had been charged under Operation Yewtree, which is investigating allegations of decades of abuse by public figures, including the late TV entertainer Jimmy Savile.

The offenses that Harris committed against four women took place as far back as 1970. He was released on bail until Friday, when he will be sentenced; the judge, Justice Sweeney, warned him he could face jail, the Press Association reported.

Dozens more women who said they had been abused by the entertainer, including several in Australia, alerted police during the trial, PA added.

Speaking outside Southwark Crown Court after the verdict, Detective Mick Orchard told reporters: "Rolf Harris has habitually denied any wrongdoing, forcing his victims to recount their ordeal in public.

"He committed many offenses in plain sight of people as he thought his celebrity status placed him above the law. I want to thank the women who came forward for their bravery. I hope today's guilty verdict will give them closure and help them to begin to move on with their lives.

"Today's case and verdict once again shows that we will always listen to, and investigate allegations regardless of the time frame or those involved."

Harris was once one of Britain's best-loved children's entertainers. He had a string of hits in the 1960s, including "Tie Me Kangaroo Down, Sport," "Jake the Peg" and "Two Little Boys." He had a decades-long television career at the BBC and received several honors, including the Order of the British Empire.

ADVERTISEMENT
Part of complete coverage on
updated 10:27 AM EDT, Wed July 23, 2014
Hamas' tactics have changed -- now the group is using commando-like tactics, says CNN's Ben Wedeman.
updated 4:53 PM EDT, Tue July 22, 2014
CNN's Richard Quest speaks to Malaysia Airlines' Hugh Dunleavy about how the airline industry needs to react to MH17.
updated 8:48 AM EDT, Thu July 24, 2014
From Maastricht to Melbourne, and baroque theaters to block-long warehouses, these stores make bookish travelers look stylish.
updated 11:40 AM EDT, Sun July 20, 2014
Some contend that larger weapons have come into Ukraine from Russia.
updated 9:44 PM EDT, Wed July 23, 2014
A California homeowner's nightmare has become a cautionary tale for those who rent their homes to strangers.
updated 2:57 PM EDT, Wed July 23, 2014
A nun, an AIDS researcher, an athlete and a family traveling on summer vacation. These were some of the victims aboard MH17.
updated 8:21 PM EDT, Mon July 21, 2014
Prince George isn't your average one year old. He started walking before he was one. Oh, and, he's going to be king -- of 16 countries.
updated 7:36 AM EDT, Mon July 21, 2014
Former President Bill Clinton acknowledges he got "very close" to helping achieve peace in the Middle East.
updated 2:21 AM EDT, Fri July 18, 2014
In an ambitious plan to upgrade urban India, Prime Minister Narendra Modi says he will build 100 "smart cities" across the country.
updated 7:27 AM EDT, Sun July 20, 2014
Inspirational, creepy or just weird? CNN meets the 51-year-old man who dresses like a schoolgirl.
CNN joins the fight to end modern-day slavery by shining a spotlight on its horrors and highlighting success stories.
Browse through images from CNN teams around the world that you don't always see on news reports.
ADVERTISEMENT