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Coro star's TVNZ interview sparks outrage in UK

Published: 4:36PM Tuesday March 19, 2013 Source: ONE News

Coronation Street actor William Roache's claim on TVNZ's Sunday programme that sex abuse victims are paying the price for their behaviour in "previous lives" has caused outrage in Britain.

Roache told TVNZ Europe correspondent Garth Bray in an interview screened last Sunday night that it was easy for famous men to be "trapped" by adoring young groupies who throw themselves at them.

The story has made the front page of Britain's Daily Mirror newspaper under an almost full-page headline blaring: "Corrie Ken: Sex victims bring it on themselves. Fury as Roache says they're punished for past sins."


The Mirror reports that Dr Jon Bird of the National Association for People Abused in Childhood, and a victim of abuse himself, slammed the soap star's remarks, particularly his suggestion that victims were somehow to blame for being abused.

"This claim is completely disgusting, and on a deeply personal level I am both hurt and offended - as I am sure many other victims will be," he told the paper in a story on its website .

Bird said: "I have spent years undergoing therapy trying to come to terms with what happened to me, while he has enjoyed the privileged life of a well-paid television actor on Coronation Street.

"Mr Roache has belittled the hurt and pain of others without any understanding of the circumstances himself. He should be ashamed of himself."

The Mirror story included pictures of 80-year-old Roache being interviewed by Bray, Roache with his wife Sara who died in 2009 and a photo gallery of the actor.

The Mirror described the interview as "explosive" and "astonishing" and called Roache's comments "bizarre".

In a segment where Bray said Roache had gone into "spiritual mode", he told the reporter: "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 "To some people that sounds perhaps like you're saying victims bring things on themselves - is that what you're saying?"

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."

Spiritual beliefs

The Mirror recalled that Roache, who has played Coronation Street's Ken Barlow for 53 years, famously posed in full druid's outfit at Stonehenge three decades ago.

He has made no secret of his unconventional beliefs, the report said, noting that he is a member of the Pure Love Movement, which advocates that love can cure illness and end suffering.

He has previously claimed his daughter Edwina, who died aged 18 months in 1984, is now a nurse in the afterlife, The Daily Mirror said.

It quoted him as saying last September: "She is helping other children who have passed over to understand what has happened."

In the Sunday interview, Roache also talked about people who are accused of being abusers, saying: "Whether they're proven guilty or not, we should not be judgmental about anybody, ever".

"We should always be totally forgiving about everything."

He said paedophilia was a complex issue that had been "stirred up" by the Jimmy Savile case.

Paedophilia was "absolutely horrendous" and should be "sought out, rooted out and dealt with".

But he added there's a fringe of people, particularly pop singers, who have "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," Roache said.