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Rolf Harris: ITVX’s Hiding in Plain Sight documentary shows decades of his hidden abuse | #childpredator | #onlinepredator | #sextrafficing

A new two-part documentary about the shocking sexual abuse and assaults perpetrated by Rolf Harris will air this month. Rolf Harris: Hiding In Plain Sight on ITVX from Thursday, May 18 features interviews with victims, some of whom have waived their right to anonymity, more than a decade after the TV host’s arrest and trial in 2014 at which he was found guilty of 12 counts of indecent assault (one was overturned in 2017 but the others remain) and sentenced to five years in prison.

In the new documentary rare archive and exclusive testimony from those closest to the trial will be seen as it looks into the man who was once ‘the nation’s favourite uncle’ but behind closed doors he had been betraying his family and the British public that had grown up with him by sexually assaulting children and young women for years.

Behind the scenes, Harris’ behaviour painted an entirely different picture. In 1978 alleged victim Karen Gardner was 16 when she went along to the filming of the show Star Games in Cambridge, at which Harris was appearing. She carried his bag, and says: “For the first couple of hours, he was lovely. And you find yourself thinking, ‘Oh yeah, you know, that’s what Harris is like.’”

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Karen told the documentary makers that Harris assaulted her three times in plain sight in the space of 35 minutes: “He was paying me attention, he was saying how great I had been, and he hugged me, and that’s when it happened. And it was humiliating and degrading and awful and your blood turns to concrete. You can’t believe this is happening. And I have no doubt what was happening. My period was due, and my breasts were very tender, and I had no doubt what he’d done was deliberate.”

Suzi Dent, an Australian make-up artist, says he sexually assaulted her when she worked on a programme he appeared on in 1985. At the time he was also promoting an anti-child abuse campaign. Every time she walked up to put powder on his face in the make-up room, she says he groped her: “When I looked into his face, he just looked back at me with such a lascivious look, that made me feel really uncomfortable because I all of a sudden saw who he was. He was letting me know that he was in full control, and he could do whatever he wanted. He knew he could touch me with impunity. He knew I wasn’t going to say anything back because [you] don’t upset the talent… That would have lost me my job and my career.”

While the women and girls he assaulted felt they couldn’t speak out, Harris’ fame only grew, as he presented shows watched by millions from the 1960s to the 2000s. In the 1990s, he achieved chart success and huge acclaim with his cover versions of classic rock songs. One member of his band, Chris Brosnan, known to Harris as Bear, became his promoter and started working from his house. Chris became aware of rumours of an inappropriate relationship between Harris and a close friend of his daughter that had caused a rift in the family. “I actually took it up with Rolf and, you know, and he looked at me, cut me off, and he said, ‘Bear, we’ve all made mistakes in life, and I’ve made some pretty big mistakes, and let’s just leave it there.'”

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