LONDON – Australian born Rolf Harris, a fixture of British TV for more than 40 years, has been questioned by police over historical allegations of sexual offenses.
The 83-year-old entertainer and artist has been interviewed under caution after attending police premises in south London by appointment in November, according to media reports across the British media.
The former BBC stalwart had been brought in by police as part of Operation Yewtree, set up following the death of Jimmy Savile in 2011, when hundreds of sex abuse allegations were made against the former Top of the Pops presenter.
On March 28 Harris was arrested and bailed until May. Harris's arrest is said to be unrelated to Savile.
The Metropolitan Police, also known as Scotland Yard, did not name Harris after he was first questioned or following his arrest and have still not formally identified him. Harris is described by the investigators simply by the code name "Yewtree 5."
Although the media – including Rupert Murdoch's The Sun tabloid -- were aware of Harris's name in November last year, they chose only to report that an 82-year-old man had been questioned.
But The Sun first reported Harris' name Friday and the story exploded across other British media outlets including the BBC, Sky News and The Mirror, among others.
Harris is as famous, perhaps more so, than Savile in the U.K. and was a regular face across British television since his arrival from Australia in 1952.
In 2001 Harris was awarded the Centenary Medal for service to entertainment, charity and the community and in June 2012 he appeared at the Queen's Diamond Jubilee Concert outside Buckingham Palace.
Harris has, at time of press, not made a statement on his arrest.
Operation Yewtree relates to complaints against other people unconnected to the Savile investigations, made by people who came forward after widespread coverage of the scandal.
Harris is one of twelve men, including the comedians and former British TV regulars Freddie Starr and Jim Davidson, who have been arrested since the operation was launched last year.
Others held include the singer Gary Glitter, publicist Max Clifford and DJ Dave Lee Travis.
Davidson, Clifford, Starr and Travis have all denied allegations of sexual offenses.
Each of the arrests fall under the strand of Operation Yewtree termed "others," meaning that the offenses are not alleged to involve Savile.
- Crime & Justice
- Society & Culture
- Rolf Harris
- Jimmy Savile
- Operation Yewtree