Entertainment & Arts

Actor William Roache 'sorry' over sex abuse comments

Coronation Street star William 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 NSPCC said his original "bizarre comments" were "not helpful."

During the interview, in which Roache discussed recent sex abuse scandals, Roache 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.. and yet I am, because everything that happens to us has been a result of what we have been in previous lives or whatever."

In Tuesday's statement, Roache said: "I would never say that victims of sexual offences are in any way responsible for the abuse they have suffered and I offer my deepest apologies if anything I have said has been misunderstood in this way.

'Totally forgiving'

"I had no intention of causing any kind of distress as a result of my interview and I offer my utmost sympathies to anyone affected by sexual offences and paedophilia. "

An ITV spokesman said: "These were personal comments that Bill made for which he has apologised."

Dr Jon Bird, operations manager of the National Association for People Abused in Childhood, and a victim of abuse himself, told the BBC: "We're disgusted on behalf of survivors (of abuse)," adding that Roache's comments were "very ignorant" and "inappropriate".

He said he was "deeply offended on a personal level".

In the interview, Roache also talked about people who are accused of abuse, saying: "If someone has done something wrong, the law should take its course... whether they're proven guilty or not, we should not be judgmental about anybody, ever.

"We should all be totally forgiving about everything."

Jon Brown, head of the NSPCC's sexual abuse programme, said: "We should be concentrating on helping the thousands of children sexually abused every year who need therapy to re-build their lives. They will have already suffered horrendous experiences and will find what Mr Roache is saying to be hurtful and demeaning."

Roache, 80, is the only original actor still on Coronation Street, having appeared in the first episode in December 1960.

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