Rolf Harris, kids’ TV host who was later convicted of child sexual assault, dies at 93
Rolf Harris, a once-beloved children’s TV personality whose reputation and career took a nosedive when he was convicted of sexually assaulting young girls, has died. He was 93.
Harris “died peacefully surrounded by family and friends,” his family said Tuesday in a statement obtained by the Associated Press. No cause or location of death was given.
Harris was an Australian entertainer and former BAFTA fellow best known for kids’ programs, including “Rolf’s Cartoon Time” and “Animal Hospital,” that aired in Britain and Australia. He was also a folk singer who recorded hit songs such as “Tie Me Kangaroo Down, Sport” and “Two Little Boys.”
In a massive national dragnet, British police have arrested more than 600 suspected pedophiles who allegedly accessed pornographic images of children on the Internet, authorities said Wednesday.
In 2013, Harris was arrested in Britain in connection with sexual abuse allegations. A year later, he was found guilty of a dozen counts of indecent assault on four young girls in attacks dating as far back as the 1960s.
Among the victims was a friend of Harris’ daughter. Harris was found guilty of molesting his daughter’s friend from age 13 to 19 after he tried to argue that their relationship was consensual. A judge sentenced Harris to five years and nine months in prison.
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In May 2017, Harris was released on license from a prison in England and cleared of four unrelated sex offenses that he had denied. Soon after, the Court of Appeals overturned one of the 12 indecent-assault convictions.
Harris no longer appeared on TV after his conviction, which led the Orders of the British Empire and Australia to rescind multiple honors they had bestowed upon him. The British Academy of Film and Television Arts also revoked his fellowship.
The Associated Press contributed to this report.
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