Coronation Street star William Roache in apology over sex abuse comments
Soap star William Roache today issued an apology after claiming that sexual abuse victims - including children - are being punished for actions in a previous life.
The 80-year-old actor, who plays Ken Barlow in Coronation Street and is a patron of Leicestershire-based children’s hospice Rainbows, made the comments during an interview with a New Zealand TV show.
He also leapt to the defence of stars who have been accused of sexual abuse, saying that some of them have been “caught in a trap”.
Today he issued an apology.
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He said: “I would like to say that I am very sorry for any offence that has been caused as a result of my comments.
“I would never say that victims of sexual offences are in any way responsible for the abuse they have suffered and I offer my deepest apologies if anything I have said has been misunderstood in this way.
“I had no intention of causing any kind of distress as a result of my interview and I offer my upmost sympathies to anyone affected by sexual offences and paedophilia.”
Speaking to interviewer Garth Bray during the interview, he said: “If you accept that you are pure love, and if you know that you are pure love and therefore live that pure love, these things won’t happen to you.”
Bray then asked Roache: “To some people that sounds perhaps like you’re saying victims bring things on themselves – is that what you’re saying?”
To which Roache replied: “Not quite, but then yes I am, because everything that happens to us has been a result of what we have been in previous lives.”
He then went on to talk about stars who have been accused of committing sexual abuse.
“Paedophilia is absolutely horrendous,” he said. “Paedophiles should be sought out, rooted out and dealt with.
“But there’s a fringe of people who, particularly pop singers, they have these groupies. These girls, who come, they’re sexually active, sexually mature, they don’t ask for their birth certificate, they don’t know what age they may be.
“But they’re certainly not grooming them and exploiting them, but they can be caught in this trap. These people are instantly stigmatised, some will be innocent, some will not, but until such time as it’s proven there should be anonymity for both.”
Scott Lea, a spokesman for Rainbows, said: “Bill Roache has been a dedicated patron of Rainbows for a number of years. During that time, he has helped raise many thousands of pounds from his annual celebrity golf day.
“We only know what has been reported in the media and we understand that some of these comments have been withdrawn or clarified. Certainly, at no time has Rainbows ever had reason to doubt Bill’s integrity and professionalism whilst acting as a patron for the hospice.”