Bill Roache Arrested: British Soap Star Accused Of Raping 15-Year-Old

Authorities in England say Bill Roache, an 81-year-old actor famous for his role in the British soap opera Coronation Street, has been arrested on suspicion of rape.

Roache, the world’s longest-serving soap actor, has played Ken Barlow in the series portraying life in a fictional northern English town since its debut episode on December 9, 1960.

He was arrested at his home in northwest England over an allegation of raping a 15-year-old girl between April and July 1967.

“An 81-year-old man from Wilmslow in Cheshire has this morning, Wednesday 1 May 2013, been arrested by Lancashire Constabulary on suspicion of rape,” a Lancashire Police spokesman said.

Police in Britain do not usually name suspects who have not been charged.

“The man will be interviewed at a police station in Lancashire during the course of the day.”

“We take all allegations of sexual abuse extremely seriously and would encourage people with any information about sexual abuse, or anyone who has been a victim of sexual abuse, to come forward and report their concerns confident in the knowledge they will be investigated appropriately and with sensitivity.”

Following Roache’s arrest, a spokesperson for ITV said: “Given that a police investigation is underway, it would not be appropriate for us to comment.”

It is understood Roache will not appear in the soap while investigations are under way.

The Daily Mail notes This is the second set of sex allegations to hit the ITV soap this year, after Michael Le Vell, who plays Kevin Webster, was charged with raping a child in February.

Earlier this year Roache attracted criticism after speaking out in condemnation of the ongoing Operation Yewtree investigation into abuse claims made against former English media icon Jimmy Savile and other celebrities.

At the time, the actor said the public should not be judgmental but be “totally forgiving” of people who had committed child sex crimes.

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