'Corrie' star Roache charged with assaults on young girls
The veteran 'Coronation Street' actor Bill Roache has been charged with five indecent assaults against girls as young as 11.
Britain's Crown Prosecution Service (CPS) said the 81-year-old had been charged with assaults alleged to have taken place in the 1960s against four girls.
He is due to appear before Preston magistrates' court today.
Mr Roache is the world's longest-serving actor in a soap opera.
He has previously been charged with two counts of rape against a 15-year-old girl in Lancashire in 1967.
The alleged victims in the new allegations came forward following publicity surrounding Mr Roache's earlier charges.
In the new allegations, three offences allegedly took place in 1965 and two in 1968.
The youngest alleged victim was 11 or 12 at the time.
Last month, Mr Roache issued a statement, which said he was "deeply horrified" at the allegations and vowed to clear his name.
He has played Ken Barlow for 53 years in the ITV drama.
He collected an award from Guinness World Records in 2010 for his long service in 'Coronation Street', having joined in 1960 and appeared regularly ever since.
In a statement, Lancashire Constabulary said: "The offences are alleged to have been committed in the Manchester area between 1965 and 1968 and to involve four girls aged between 12 and 16 years at the time."
Mr Roache was released on police bail to attend Preston Magistrates' Court.
The Crown Prosecution Service said three of the offences allegedly took place in 1965 and two in 1968.
Nazir Afzal, chief crown prosecutor for CPS North West, said: "We have carefully considered all the evidence gathered by Lancashire Police in relation to recent allegations from four complainants that William Roache indecently assaulted them in the 1960s.
"Having completed our review, we have concluded that there is sufficient evidence and it is in the public interest for Mr Roache to be charged with five offences of indecent assault relating to four girls who were aged between 11 or 12 and 16 at the time that the alleged offences happened.
"We have been reviewing evidence and providing early investigative advice to Lancashire Police regarding these allegations, which were made to police after Mr Roache was charged with two offences of rape on May 1, 2013.
"This decision was taken in accordance with the Code for Crown Prosecutors and our guidance for prosecutors on sexual offences.
"Mr Roache has a right to a fair trial and it is therefore very important that nothing is said, or reported, which could prejudice that trial.
"For these reasons, it would be inappropriate for me to comment further." (© Daily Telegraph, London)