Rolf Harris Stripped of BAFTA Fellowship After Being Found Guilty of Indecent Assault
Rolf Harris, a U.K.-based TV presenter, artist and musician who was born in Australia, has lost his BAFTA Fellowship after he was convicted of 12 counts of indecent assault. BAFTA confirmed the decision to annul the honor in a statement posted on their site on Monday, June 30. "The British Academy of Film and Television Arts (BAFTA) has made the decision to annul the BAFTA Fellowship bestowed upon Rolf Harris in 2012 following his conviction," the statement read.
Jury at Southwark Crown Court convicted Harris of 12 counts of indecent assault following six-week hearing. The assaults took place between 1968 and 1986 when the victims, including his daughter Bindi's friend, aged between 7 to 19. "He targeted fans who were mesmerized by his fame and talents," prosecution QC Sasha Wass told the jury, as reported by The Guardian. "He was a children's entertainer and they were beguiled by his singing and painting. And the penalty of their admiration was to suffer sexual assault."
The 84-year-old artist, who painted the official portrait of the Queen in 2006, is now facing a jail sentence. He will remain on bail until his sentencing on Friday, July 4.
"I feel gutted and dismayed but it's very important that we do everything we humanly can to protect vulnerable young people," Australian Prime Minister Tony Abott told ABC Radio of Harris. "It's a terrible, terrible business. Sexual abuse is an utterly abhorrent crime ... and it's just sad and tragic that this person, who was widely admired, seems to have been a perpetrator."
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