Rolf Harris, a popular children’s entertainer in Australia and Britain was found guilty of indecent assault. Harris, 84, was found guilty and sentenced to jail for 5 years and 9 months. He was convicted of 12 counts of assaulting four girls between 1968 and 1986. Despite the verdict, Harris showed no remorse for his actions.
Harris was an actor and musician, who first found success in the 1950s. He would go on to host popular television shows for children, such as Rolf Harris Cartoon Time. He was also known for his artwork, having painted a portrait of Queen Elizabeth II. Harris arrived in Britain in 1952 and established his career hosting shows, art programs, and creating songs.
This isn’t the first case of a children’s entertainer being convicted of abusing children. After his death in 2011, hundreds of allegations were made against Jimmy Savile, a once beloved television host. Many came forward with tales of alleged abuse by Savile over the course of his career. Britain is dealing with the aftermath.
As with that case, Australia is distancing itself from Harris. Citizens are outraged, and he may be stripped of his Order of Australia award, an esteemed honor in the country. Judge Nigel Sweeney remarked, “It is clear from the evidence that what you did has had a significant adverse effect on each victim.” It is a blow to both countries as another celebrated figure turns out to have abused several children, one as young as 8.
Like Savile, Harris had a public persona that fooled many people. Investigations of figures in the British media led to indictments of Harris. Police have been studying claims made in the 1970s and 1980s, when these men were in the prime of their careers. A mural in Australia is removing Harris’ image, erasing his legacy.