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The Journal Gazette

Wednesday, May 01, 2013 4:58 pm

'Coronation Street' actor charged over rape claims

The Associated Press

A longtime star of British soap opera "Coronation Street" has been charged with two counts of rape involving a 15-year-old girl about three decades ago, prosecutors and police said Wednesday.

William Roache, 81, was arrested at his home earlier Wednesday for the offenses, which allegedly took place in Haslingden, a town north of Manchester, between April and July of 1967.

He has played Ken Barlow on the series since its first episode in 1960, and some call him the world's longest-serving soap star.

The soap, set in a fictional working-class district in northwestern England, is among the most popular and longest-running programs on British television.

Roache will appear at Preston Magistrates' Court on May 14.

In March, Roache issued an apology after he appeared to suggest in an interview with New Zealand television that victims of child sex crimes had behaved badly in a previous life. He also said that the public should not be judgmental about people accused of child sex offenses.

He later apologized for causing offense and clarified that he never meant to say that sex abuse victims are responsible for the crimes they suffer.

The actor's arrest is not part of Operation Yewtree, the sex abuse investigation established after revelations about the late entertainer Jimmy Saville.