Rolf Harris

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Why has paedophile Rolf Harris STILL got a CBE? MP’s anger at Government’s failure to strip disgraced entertainer of award from Queen six months after child sex crime conviction

Published January 14, 2015 by misty534
  • EXCLUSIVE: Shamed painter holds on to his award despite crimes
  • Labour MP Simon Danczuk: ‘Harris is an evil person who abused children’
  • Failure to remove the honour is unlike the treatment of other criminals
  • It could be because the Australian still protests his innocence 

A campaigning MP hit out furiously today after it emerged Rolf Harris still holds a CBE six months after he was convicted of paedophile offences.

Government officials were accused of ‘insulting’ his victims by failing to strip the disgraced Australian entertainer of the honour awarded by the Queen.

Critics contrasted the treatment of Harris – once among the Queen’s favourite entertainers – with that of Stuart Hall, the former It’s a Knockout host who lost his OBE four months after he was jailed for a string of child sex offences.

 Still Commander of the Most Excellent Order of the British Empire: Rolf Harris, who was sentenced to five years and nine months for child sex offences Australian media personality and painter Rolf Harris with his CBE after collecting it from the Princess Anne, the Princess Royal, who was standing in for Queen Elizabeth II at an Investiture ceremony at Buckingham Palace, London, in 2006

By honouring a sex predator like John Peel the BBC shows it’s learnt nothing from Jimmy Savile

Published October 16, 2014 by misty534

The late John Peel is revered and celebrated by many lovers of rock and pop music as a legendary disc jockey. The BBC, for which he worked for many years, regards him a major figure in the history of broadcasting.

So in March 2012, the Corporation decided to rename a wing at Broadcasting House after Peel, who died in 2004. But while they were preparing to nail a blue plaque on the wall, an allegation was made that the DJ had had sex with an underage girl numerous times on BBC premises in 1969.

Amid a fusillade of similar allegations involving other former BBC DJs and employees, most notably Jimmy Savile, the Beeb hurriedly shoved the plaque into a drawer. It also said it would consider calling the Peel Wing something else, though in the event it did nothing.

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In March 2012, the Corporation decided to rename a wing at Broadcasting House after Peel, who died in 2004. Then an allegation was made that the DJ had had sex with an underage girl on BBC premises in 1969

Ignored

Now, more than two years later, the Mail’s Sebastian Shakespeare Diary has revealed that the Corporation is dusting off its blue plaque in the belief that the furore has died down. This is a decision that speaks volumes about the BBC. It shows it has still not come to terms with the industrial-scale sexual abuse which it tolerated among its ‘stars’.

I realise, of course, that Peel is still widely admired as a ‘national treasure’. All I can say is this was also true of many of the figures whose reputations lie in ruins: Jimmy Savile, Rolf Harris, Stuart Hall, Dave Lee Travis and so on.

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Even before the allegation against Peel surfaced in October 2012, there were good reasons, which naturally the BBC had entirely ignored, for suspecting that he had unusual sexual tastes — or at any rate sexual tastes that were unusual outside the BBC.

As a young man he worked as a DJ in Texas in a local radio station. Much later he recalled that girls, some as young as 13, used to queue up outside his radio station.

‘Well, of course I didn’t ask for ID,’ he said. ‘All they wanted me to do was to abuse them sexually which, of course, I was only too happy to do.’ He complained that American girls had ‘this strange notion of virginity as a tangible thing which you surrendered to your husband on your wedding night. So they would do anything but s*** you’

Aged 26, in 1965, Peel married a 15-year-old American girl called Shirley Anne Milburn. He later claimed she and her family had lied about her age. They divorced in 1973. Some years later, after returning to the U.S., she committed suicide.

In the mid-Seventies, Peel wrote a column in Sounds (a rock music weekly) in which he sometimes mentioned that he preferred the company of fans when they were dressed as schoolgirls. He once put on a schoolgirl uniform for a picture, and ran a Schoolgirl of the Year competition on his Radio 1 show.

All this the BBC knew, or should have known, when it decided to rename a wing after him. The same might be said of the universities, including Bradford, Liverpool, Sheffield Hallam and East Anglia, which recklessly showered honorary degrees on a man whose sexual preferences would be regarded by most people as deviant.

Then, in October 2012, Jane Nevin alleged she had had a three-month affair with Peel when she was 15 and he was 30, much of it conducted on BBC premises. She became pregnant aged 16, and had a ‘traumatic abortion’. She said: ‘[Peel] must have known that I was still at school. But he didn’t ask, and I didn’t tell him.’

Of course, this is only an allegation, but it is practically irrefutable in view of several pieces of evidence, including a postcard sent by Peel to Jane Nevin many years later.

To anyone who says he can’t answer back, my response is that the same can be said of abusers such as Savile, or the former Liberal MP Cyril Smith. There’s nothing to suggest that Peel was a sexual predator on anything like the same scale as these monsters, but it’s hard to believe he would have escaped investigation by the police, at the very least, were he still alive.

Nor is there any validity in the defence enshrined in the French proverb ‘autres temps, autres moeurs’ (other times, different morals.) While it is undoubtedly the case that many BBC stars routinely had consensual sex with, or sexually assaulted, underage girls and occasionally boys, it is certain such practices would have been abhorrent to almost everyone outside the Corporation.

The BBC has not begun to come to terms with the scale of the degeneracy it fostered. It took far too long to confront the abuses of Jimmy Savile, whose victims can be numbered in hundreds. We know that as late as December 2011 an investigation into Savile’s vile practices by BBC2’s Newsnight was mysteriously axed by Corporation executives.

Hollow

An internal investigation carried out by Nick Pollard, a former BSkyB executive, exonerated BBC bosses. But it later emerged that Pollard had been informed by senior BBC executive Helen Boaden that she had told Mark Thompson, the then director-general, at the time about the Newsnight investigation.

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In other words, just as 30, 40 and 50 years ago BBC management turned a blind eye to sexual abuse on a vast scale, so its modern management seemingly tried to protect Savile for as long as possible, doubtless because it realised its own reputation was on the line.

When it eventually came, the apology for having indulged Savile for so long was very hollow. Just how hollow can be gauged by its decision to put up a plaque to honour John Peel.

Presumably even the BBC would not dare to name a wing after Jimmy Savile or Rolf Harris or Stuart Hall or any of the other reprobates whose appalling mistreatment of young people has been established.

Yet it still hopes to rehabilitate John Peel, in the mistaken belief that his misdemeanours have either been forgotten, or, if recalled, will not be considered sufficiently serious by most licence payers.

Strident

But aren’t sexual relations with a 13-year-old girl when he was in his early to mid-20s (specifically admitted by Peel in one newspaper interview) a serious matter, and don’t the other incidences of sex with minors, not to mention his stated preference for schoolgirls, together amount to a grave indictment?

Along with The Guardian, the BBC was in the vanguard of criticism of the News of the World over its phone-hacking of celebrities and others. Not only the wayward Sunday red-top was held to account. The entire Press was examined by Lord Justice Leveson, most of whose strident recommendations have been accepted by newspapers.

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Phone-hacking is a serious business, but isn’t providing a nest for sexual abusers, and ignoring their sordid activities, more momentous? And isn’t apparently trying to cover up Savile’s crimes as recently as three years ago another scandal? Yet no Lord Justice Leveson has been summoned to investigate the Beeb.

If there were the slightest sign of contrition on the part of the BBC, that would be some sort of recompense. Oh for some sign that it has finally seen the error of its ways!

But its celebration of John Peel — a minor figure in the annals of sexual abuse, no doubt, but a predator nonetheless — suggests that the Corporation has learnt nothing from the past, and isn’t remotely sorry for what it did.

Stephen Glover

Jimmy Saville: Operation Yewtree cops probe 12 suspects in positions of power

Published October 5, 2014 by misty534

Coverups of Childhood Sexual Abuse

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You cannot put a price on innocence that has been stolen

You cannot put a price on the lives that have been broken

You cannot put a price on a lifetime of shame

But you can make sure it never happens again

BY @JUST_STANDING2

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MARK WILLIAMS-THOMAS

Operation Yewtree cops are investigating historic child sex abuse allegations against a further TWELVE public figures.

Unlike previous suspects who were celebrities, the latest accused are senior police officers, politicians, local authority chiefs and senior civil servants.

It is claimed that they either sexually abused child victims, or have been directly involved in covering up offences spread over three decades.

The crimes are said to have been committed in the 1950s, 1960s, 1970s and 1980s.

Names of the suspects have been passed to the police by investigative reporter and criminologist Mark Williams Thomas, whose TV documentary finally exposed Jimmy Savile as a predatory paedophile.

Williams Thomas, a visiting lecturer at Birmingham City University, revealed details of the latest investigations on the second anniversary of his ITV documentary Exposure: The Other Side of Jimmy Savile.

Celebrity publicist Max Clifford, children’s entertainer Rolf Harris and radio and TV presenter Stuart Hall have all been jailed as a result of the police probes that followed the programme. Many others have been arrested.

In an earlier interview with the Sunday Mercury Williams Thomas said that two more British icons were being investigated by Yewtree officers. Since then both Cliff Richard and DJ Dr Fox have been linked to inquiries.

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ROLF HARRIS

Investigations into both are still ongoing. But Williams Thomas warned that the probe into historic allegations against the 12 new public figures could prove even more difficult, given their positions of power and influence.

They could also be dangerous. As a result of his investigations into Savile, the journalist received a letter bomb and a death threat which were dealt with by police.

“I know of another twelve public figures and that is a minimum,” Williams Thomas, who grew up in Solihull, told the Sunday Mercury as he attended the Conservative Party Conference in Birmingham.

“It just takes one person brave enough to come forward. Then, as the investigations start to unfold, more victims tell their stories.

“The names I have supplied are senior police officers, politicians, local authority officials and senior civil servants – people with a lot to lose.

“After Savile I got letter bombs and death threats. That’s nothing compared to what you will get with politicians and the like.

“There will be dirty games played, a campaign to undermine those investigations. The only way to do it is through a proper inquiry, to have properly skilled investigators to dig out more evidence.

“There are hundreds of victims. Savile had close to 1,000. Offenders don’t offend in isolation, and they continually offend.

“The offences date back to the 1960s, 70s, and 80s. Some go back to the 1950s. The accused are old people now. If we leave it too long they will die or be dying, or have gone senile.”

Since the Savile programme several reviews have been established, including the Westminster child abuse inquiry, which was announced by Home Secretary Theresa May in July.

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STUART HALL

The inquiry was ordered to investigate claims that politicians may have sexually abused children in the 1970s and 1980s in a conspiracy by members of the establishment who then used their power to cover up the crimes.

But the inquiry has hit a number of obstacles and Williams Thomas says he is concerned that it will fail to achieve its goals.

Its first chairwoman, retired judge Lady Butler-Sloss, stepped down just days after her appointment following criticism due to her brother, Lord Michael Havers, being the Attorney General at the time of the alleged paedophile scandal.

Former Lord Mayor of London, Fiona Woolf, was named as the new head of the independent inquiry last month.

But Williams Thomas said there are concerns that she has not had enough time to begin the inquiry.

“The future challenge for the inquiry is to get an appropriate panel who have the skills to investigate,” said the investigator.

“I have not yet seen that reflected in the appointments so far. There are no people in the field of child abuse. You need people with a record of investigating and holding people to account.

“There are former social workers and police officers who are readily suited to perform these roles but who have not been approached.”

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MAX CLIFFORD

HOW DID JIMMY SAVILE GET AWAY WITH IT FOR SO LONG?

The aftermath of the Jimmy Savile revelations is still unfolding.

The big question remains: how did a revered and decorated BBC DJ and presenter, fundraiser, friend of the Royal Family and papal knight go unchallenged for so long?

Health Secretary Jeremy Hunt apologised on behalf of the Government and NHS to Savile’s victims following the publication of the Department of Health investigations in June.

He said that Savile repeatedly exploited the “trust of a nation” for his own “vile purposes” as it emerged that the DJ had boasted of performing sex acts on bodies in at least two hospital mortuaries.

A litany of rape and sexual abuse carried out by Savile in NHS institutions over at least five decades until 2009 was disclosed in 28 official reports.

The reviews detailed how Savile abused dozens of people ranging from staff and patients and toddlers to pensioners, as he visited hospitals as a celebrity fundraiser and volunteer.

It also emerged that members of staff at a number of NHS hospitals had been told of incidents of Savile’s abuse but failed to pass on complaints to senior managers, who could have taken action to protect his victims.

Ongoing reviews include those by the BBC, Stoke Mandeville and Broadmoor.

In addition there are investigations into how officers dealt with allegations against Savile within the forces of West Yorkshire, Sussex and Surrey.

Williams Thomas said: “It is a shame that we can never wipe Savile out of history.

“But in years to come we may look back on Savile and say ‘He was a dangerous predatory paedophile, but he enabled change to occur’.

“If it was not for the five women who came forward with their allegations against him, who put their confidence in me to make the programme, it would never have gone to the police.

“They took a huge risk. I took a risk – if it had gone wrong I may never have worked again – but I had confidence in myself and my producer to develop a programme that was easily understood, simple and not sensational.

“The stone over the hole has been pushed to the side. We’ve got to keep pushing it off. It is a quarter to halfway off. There is still a long way to go.

“No matter how long ago, these offences must be reported. They need to be brought out into the open. There may be someone else who has reported the same offender.

“But one failed investigation has the potential to ruin it for every other investigation. That’s why great care needs to be taken, checks made and support given.”

DAILY MIRROR

Rolf Harris held for second time as Operation Yewtree cops probe fresh sex allegations

Published August 6, 2013 by misty534

More claims: Rolf Harris faces new historic sex allegations

The Australian entertainer and artist, 83, was released on bail after being held for a second time

Rolf Harris faced a new round of questioning yesterday as it was revealed police are probing fresh sex allegations against him.

The Australian entertainer and artist, 83, was released on bail after being held for a second time.

He was quizzed by detectives from Operation Yewtree – set up in the wake of the Jimmy Savile sex abuse scandal.

Officers first raided Harris’s Berkshire home on November 24 last year but he was not in.

He was interviewed under caution five days later on suspicion of sex offences believed to relate to one woman who came forward following the Savile scandal.

Harris was first arrested in March and two months later officers travelled to Australia where they spent more than two hours taking a statement from mum-of-two Lauren Martell, 43, at her home in Sydney.

Lauren, who was a 19-year-old backpacker at the time of one alleged incident, contacted Scotland Yard in November.

It is understood she does not claim she was the victim of any offence. A second woman from Sydney has also spoken to British police.

It was unclear last night if the new claims relate to more alleged victims. Harris has been bailed until later this month.

The Metropolitan Police did not name Harris, but he was identified from the police’s case number – Yewtree 5. His arrests are not connected to the Savile strand of the investigation.

A spokesman said: “He has returned on bail today, where he was further arrested on suspicion of sexual offences in connection with further allegations made to Operation Yewtree. He has been re-bailed to a date later in August.

“This individual falls under the strand of the investigation we have termed ‘others’. We are not prepared to discuss further, nor comment on the identity of who the man arrested may be.”

No charges have been brought and Harris has strenuously denied any wrongdoing.

His latest arrest comes a day after he made an emotional appearance on stage. Harris performed at Wickham Festival in Hampshire, on Sunday night, telling fans: “Just before I go any further I would just like to thank you all for my support… for your support.”

He said: “I didn’t say it very well, but you know what I mean. Thank you for your support,” adding jokily: “… I will always wear it.”

Fans of all ages joined him in singing his classics, including Two Little Boys, Tie Me Kangaroo Down Sport and a cover version of Stairway to Heaven.

Harris’s wife, Alwen, 81, has said he is painting to help cope with the stress.

Police have arrested 12 men as part of Operation Yewtree including convicted paedophile Gary Glitter, comics Freddie Starr and Jim Davidson, PR guru Max Clifford and DJ Dave Lee Travis.

All deny any wrongdoing and investigations are ongoing.

Daily Mirror

Age of consent should be lowered to 13 to stop persecution of old men and sex assault victims SHOULDN’T get anonymity, says leading barrister

Published May 8, 2013 by misty534

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  • Barbara Hewson is a barrister at Hardwicke chambers in London
  • She described Operation Yewtree arrests as a ‘grotesque spectacle’
  • Claimed disgraced Stuart Hall’s crimes were ‘low level misdemeanors’
  • NSPCC said her ‘outdated and simply ill-informed’ views ‘beggars belief’

 

The age of consent for sex should be lowered to 13-years-old in a bid to end the ‘persecution of old men’ in the wake of the Savile sex abuse scandal, a top female barrister has argued.

Lawyer Barbara Hewson described the arrests of celebrities such as Rolf Harris, Dave Lee Travis, Jim Davidson and PR guru Max Clifford under Operation Yewtree as a ‘grotesque spectacle’ adding it had ‘nothing to do with justice or the public interest’.

Ms Hewson, a barrister at Hardwicke chambers in London, described the crimes committed by disgraced broadcaster Stuart Hall as ‘low level misdemeanours’ which would not normally be prosecuted.

In an article for online magazine Spiked, Ms Hewson, who specialises in reproductive rights, also calls for the end of anonymity for complainants.

Children’s charity the National Society for the Prevention of Cruelty to Children (NSPCC) said to hear such ‘outdated and simply ill-informed’ views from a highly-experienced barrister ‘beggars belief’.

Her comments come as Scotland Yard runs Operation Yewtree, an investigation split into three inquiries into allegations involving deceased presenter Jimmy Savile, involving Savile and others and those involving just others.

A number of high-profile figures have been arrested under Yewtree such as entertainer Rolf Harris, former pop star Gary Glitter, DJ Dave Lee Travis, comedian Jim Davidson and PR guru Max Clifford. All deny any wrongdoing.

Ms Hewson argues that ‘the post-Savile witch-hunting of ageing celebs echoes the Soviet Union’ and says that it is not difficult to see why some elderly defendants ‘conclude that resistance is useless’.

She adds: ‘But the low-level misdemeanours with which Stuart Hall was charged are nothing like serious crime.’

Ms Hewson continues: ‘Ordinarily, Hall’s misdemeanours would not be prosecuted, and certainly not decades after the event.

‘What we have here is the manipulation of the British criminal-justice system to produce scapegoats on demand. It is a grotesque spectacle.’

 
Rolf Harris is among the celebrities to be arrested under Operation Yewtree in the wake of the Jimmy Savile sex inquiry
PR guru Max Clifford is among the celebrities to be arrested under Operation Yewtree in the wake of the Jimmy Savile sex inquiry
 
 
Comedian Jim Davidson is among the celebrities to be arrested under Operation Yewtree in the wake of the Jimmy Savile sex inquiry
DJ Dave Lee Travis is among the celebrities to be arrested under Operation Yewtree
 

‘A grotesque spectacle’: Lawyer Barbara Hewson criticised the arrests of celebrities including  Rolf Harris, Max Clifford Dave Lee Travis and Jim Davidson, in the wake of the Jimmy Savile sex inquiry

She continues: ‘It’s time to end this prurient charade, which has nothing to do with justice or the public interest.’

The barrister adds: ‘Instead, we should focus on arming today’s youngsters with the savoir-faire and social skills to avoid drifting into compromising situations, and prosecute modern crime.

‘As for law reform, now regrettably necessary, my recommendations are remove complainant anonymity, introduce a strict statute of limitations for criminal prosecutions and civil actions and reduce the age of consent to 13.’

Ms Hewson argues that ‘touching a 17-year-old’s breast, kissing a 13-year-old, or putting one’s hand up a 16-year-old’s skirt’ are not comparable to cases such as the Ealing Vicarage rape or Fordingbridge gang rape and murders from 1986.

She adds: “Anyone suggesting otherwise has lost touch with reality.’

And Ms Hewson labels charities like the NSPCC and the National Association for People Abused in Childhood (Napac) as “moral crusaders’ who have infiltrated Yewtree.

Peter Watt, director of the NSPCC helpline, said: “These outdated and simply ill-informed views would be shocking to hear from anyone but to hear them from a highly experienced barrister simply beggars belief.

‘Stuart Hall has pleaded guilty to abusing children as young as nine years old, we think most people would agree that crimes of this nature are incredibly serious. Thankfully the law, and most people, are very clear on this matter.

‘To minimise and trivialise the impact of these offences for victims in this way is all but denying that they have in fact suffered abuse at all. Any suggestion of lowering the age of consent could put more young people at risk from those who prey on vulnerable young people.

‘And we must strongly defend the right for victims to remain anonymous and to ask for justice no matter when they choose to come forward.

‘Many who are abused are bullied, blackmailed and shamed into staying silent, often well into adulthood. We must always be prepared to act no matter how long ago the abuse occurred.

‘The actions of those who speak out also protect others from abuse and give confidence to other victims to come forward.’

Ms Hewson is regularly ranked as a Leading Junior by The Legal 500 in the fields of public and administrative law, human rights and civil liberties, and professional discipline and regulatory law, according to her chambers’ website.

She has won cases in the European Court of Human Rights, the Supreme Court and High Court of the Republic of Ireland.

 

THe Daily Mail