Rolf Harris Sentenced To Nearly Six Years In Prison For Assaults On Young Girls

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Entertainer Rolf Harris arrives for sentencing at Southwark Crown Court in London July 4, 2014. Harris, a mainstay of family entertainment in Britain and Australia for more than 50 years, was found guilty on Monday of 12 charges of indecently assaulting young girls over a period of nearly 20 years.

Disgraced celebrity and entertainer Rolf Harris was sentenced to five years and nine months in prison for assaulting a number of young girls from 1968 to 1986.

The 84-year-old Australian-born singer, artist and presenter was convicted on nine counts of indecent assault on four victims spanning those 18 years. He assaulted a 7- or 8-year-old autograph-hunter, a teenage waitress and a childhood friend of his daughter during a six-year period and a teenage Australian girl three times.

The childhood friend of his daughter, Bindi Nicholls, said in a statement Harris continued to abuse her throughout her 20s. She became an alcoholic, suffered panic attacks and had professional and relationship issues throughout her life.

Prosecutors said he was in the possession of child pornography but did not prosecute Harris for that.

Attorney General Dominic Grieve received complaints shortly after the sentencing that it was an “unduly lenient sentencing scheme,” which legally binds him to review the sentence. He will have 28 days to refer the decision to the appeals court.

Harris was convicted on the laws in effect at the time of the assaults. Each of his 12 counts carry six- to 15-month terms and add up to 11 years, nine months, but Justice Nigel Sweeney made some of the sentences concurrent.

The Guardian reported Harris could get out of prison within three years.

Like he has throughout much of the case, Harris stared directly ahead without expression throughout the sentencing.

Sweeney told Harris he “took advantage of the trust placed in you because of your celebrity status,” and “you have no one to blame but yourself.”

Harris was first investigated as part of Operation Yewtree, a massive police investigations into sexual abuse among celebrity entertainers and figures, mainly surrounding former Top of the Pops host Jimmy Saville. Harris' abuses were not directly linked to Saville. He is the second, along with publicist Max Clifford, to receive jail time following Operation Yewtree investigations.

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