Children’s television host handed six-year jail termLONDON - Veteran entertainer Rolf Harris, a household name in his native Australia and adopted home of Britain, was sentenced to prison for nearly six years on Friday for repeatedly abusing young girls over the decades he worked as the beloved host of children’s television.
Handing down the sentence, Judge Nigel Sweeney said the 84-year-old host of shows like “Rolf Harris Cartoon Time” had shown no remorse for the harm he had inflicted on his victims.
Harris was found guilty earlier this week of 12 counts of assaulting four girls, some as young as 7 or 8, between 1968 and 1986.
It was the second conviction in a long-running investigation into sex abuse by British celebrities that has led to soul-searching in the country, revealing that some of its most prominent stars in the 1970s and 1980s were serial pedophiles who evaded detection for decades.
“It is clear from the evidence that what you did has had a significant adverse effect on each victim,” the judge told Harris, detailing how one woman had battled with alcoholism as a direct result of his abuse.
“You have shown no remorse for your crimes at all.”
An artist and musician who first earned fame in the 1950s with the top 10 hit novelty song “Tie Me Kangaroo Down, Sport,” Harris went on to present prime-time TV shows mostly aimed at children during five decades at the pinnacle of show business. In 2005 he painted Queen Elizabeth’s portrait.
Harris was the biggest name to go on trial since British police launched “Operation Yewtree” to investigate celebrity child abuse, following revelations that late BBC TV host Jimmy Savile had been a prolific child abuser.