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May 1 13 8:28 AM

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Bill Roache, TV Actor who said abuse victims deserved it, arrested on suspicion of rape.

Coronation Street actor Bill Roache has been arrested over a historical allegation of a sexual assault.

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The actor, who has played Ken Barlow in the TV soap for decades, was held at his home in Wilmslow, Cheshire, this morning.
Roache, 81, faces an allegation of raping an under-age girl in Lancashire between April and July 1967.

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

"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."

An ITV spokeswoman said the broadcaster was not in a position to comment, but it is understood Roache will not appear in the long-running soap while investigations continue.

Sky News Crime Correspondent Martin Brunt said: "According to neighbours, plain clothes police arrived at his home in Wilmslow at around 8am. His home is being searched and police are questioning him about historical allegations."

During a previous interview, in which Roache discussed recent sex abuse scandals, Roache said: "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 replied: "To some people that sounds perhaps like you're saying victims bring things on themselves - is that what you're saying?"

Roache replied: "No, not quite.. and yet I am, because everything that happens to us has been a result of what we have been in previous lives or whatever."

In a later statement, Roache said: "I would never say that victims of sexual offences are in any way responsible for the abuse they have suffered and I offer my deepest apologies if anything I have said has been misunderstood in this way.

The NSPCC said his original "bizarre comments" were "not helpful."

In the interview, Roache also talked about people who are accused of abuse, saying: "If someone has done something wrong, the law should take its course... whether they're proven guilty or not, we should not be judgmental about anybody, ever.

"We should all be totally forgiving about everything."

Jon Brown, head of the NSPCC's sexual abuse programme, said: "We should be concentrating on helping the thousands of children sexually abused every year who need therapy to re-build their lives. They will have already suffered horrendous experiences and will find what Mr Roache is saying to be hurtful and demeaning."

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This has been a turbulent few months for the British public regarding sex abuse scandals. For those unaware, the Jimmy Savile revelations have led to Operation Yewtree, one part of which investigates the culture of abuse in British media circles. Rolf Harris and Max Clifford, amongst others, have been arrested as part of this investigation.