The 80-year-old actor lets loose in a bizarre TV interview
Bill Roache has made his most outrageous comments yet.
The Coronation Street star, 80, has defended celebrities who commit statutory rape, saying that it's easy for men, popstars in particular, to be "trapped" by young groupies. He also suggested that sex abuse victims are paying the price for crimes they committed in previous lives.
Roache is a member of the Pure Love Movement, which advocates that love can cure illness and end suffering. He said of abuse survivors: “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 of New Zealand's One News channel, responded: “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.”
And he insisted that we "always" forgive others. “Whether they’re proven guilty or not, we should not be judgmental about anybody, ever. If somebody has done something wrong, then the law will take its course, but even so all of us, whatever whether they’re proven guilty or not – we shouldn’t go around condemning, unforgiving.
“We should always be totally forgiving about everything.”
The conversation then moved on to paedophilia, which Roache suggested has been more topical than ever because of the Jimmy Savile case, and he tried to distinguish between that and those who commit statutory rape.
“Paedophilia is absolutely horrendous," he said. "Paedophiles should be sought out, rooted out and dealt with. But there’s a fringe of people who, particularly pop singers, they have these 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.”
Last night, victims support groups hit back at his outrageous comments. Dr Jon Bird of the National Association for People Abused in Childhood hit back at the actor's claims.
“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 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.”