Rolf Harris faces fresh sex abuse claims in Britain

Rolf Harris faces fresh sex abuse claims in Britain

LONDON - A dozen women have made fresh allegations against veteran TV star Rolf Harris after a British court found him guilty of a string of sex assaults against girls over nearly 20 years.

Australian-born Harris, 84, could spend the rest of his life in jail after his conviction by a London court on Monday on 12 counts of indecently assaulting four girls aged seven to 19 between 1968 and 1986.

Law firm Slater and Gordon, which represents over 200 women allegedly abused by late BBC star Jimmy Savile and other stars, said on Tuesday it had been contacted by 12 women from Britain, Australia and New Zealand with claims about Harris.

"We back an over-arching inquiry into child abuse once those reports which are still outstanding are completed," said Richard Storer of the firm.

"What we have discovered in the wake of the Jimmy Savile scandal is just how deep child abuse in institutions ran and how some people were seemingly allowed to continue their sickening crimes unchallenged." England's chief prosecutor, Alison Saunders, told the BBC it was too early to say whether Harris would face fresh charges.

Reports suggest he could now be stripped of his CBE - one of the highest honours which Queen Elizabeth II can bestow - following his conviction.

The star, known for hit songs such as "Two Little Boys", had been a national treasure in Britain since the 1960s, painting the queen on her 80th birthday and presenting TV shows such as the BBC's "Animal Hospital".

In his native Australia, Prime Minister Tony Abbott said he was "gutted and dismayed" by Harris's conviction.

Harris is the second person to be convicted under Operation Yewtree, the high-profile police investigation set up in 2012 following allegations that Savile was a prolific sex offender.

The Sun newspaper reported on Tuesday that Harris and Savile had toured women's wards at the high-security Broadmoor psychiatric hospital together in the 1970s as patients were undressing before bed.

Health officials confirmed Harris visited Broadmoor in 1973, possibly with Savile, but insisted there was "no suggestion of any inappropriate behaviour".

Harris is due to be sentenced on Friday.

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