Ilkeston actor Bill Roache says "sorry" after claiming victims of sexual abuse bring it on themselves
DERBYSHIRE actor Bill Roache has apologised after he appeared to suggest sex abuse victims are paying the price for their behaviour in "previous lives".
Roache made the comments during an interview with New Zealand's TVNZ.
"I would like to say that I am very sorry for any offence that has been caused as a result of my comments," he said in a statement.
The Coronation Street actor provoked fury by claiming that the victims of sexual abuse bring it upon themselves.
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In a controversial interview, the 80-year-old Coronation Street star, from Ilkeston, claimed that they are being punished because of what they have done in previous lives.
He also seemed to defend famous men who are “trapped” by underage groupies.
The star, who has played Ken Barlow in the ITV soap for more than 50 years, told New Zealand's One News that the public should not be judgmental but be “totally forgiving” of people who have committed child sex crimes.
The actor, talking about the furore around the Jimmy Savile sex abuse revelations, also defended people “on the fringes”, especially pop stars, who he said were “caught in this trap” by sexually active young female groupies.
His comments were condemned by the National Association for People Abused in Childhood (NAPAC), which said his comments were an insult to abuse victims.
In an interview for the television channel, Roache discussed the exposure of former DJ Savile as one of the country's most prolific ever paedophiles who may have abused hundreds of children.
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.”
Interviewer Garth Bray replied: “To some people that sounds perhaps like you're saying victims bring things on themselves - is that what you're saying?”
Roache replied: “No, not quite, but and yet I am, because everything that happens to us has been a result of what we have been in previous lives or whatever.”
The Coronation Street veteran went on to call for anonymity for all those accused of child sex offences because of the stigma they faced even if innocent.
Roache, who famously claims to have slept with up to 1,000 women, said: “Paedophilia is absolutely horrendous. 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."
He added: “If someone has done something wrong the law will take its course.
“But even so, all of them, whether they are proven guilty or not, we should not be judgmental about anybody, ever.
“We shouldn't go around condemning, unforgiving. We should all be totally forgiving about everything.”
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