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William Roache: Soap Actor Rape Charge Shocks UK

May 2, 2013

William Roache, the world's longest serving soap actor, was charged this week with two counts of rape against an underage girl, UK prosecutors said.

Roache, 81, plays Ken Barlow in the popular Coronation Street.

He is the latest high-profile UK figure to be accused of sex crimes since the death of BBC TV presenter Jimmy Savile in 2011 caused a ripple effect.

Savile was one of the BBC's biggest stars in the '70s and '80s, but after his death police discovered alleged sex crimes on an unprecedented scale.

This triggered an investigation that netted several other stars.

"We have concluded there is sufficient evidence and it is in the public interest for Mr. Roache to be charged with two offences of rape relating to a girl, aged 15, in 1967," said prosecutor Nazir Afzal.

Roache is expected to appear at Preston Magistrates' Court, in northern England, May 14. Neither he nor his representatives have made any comment.

Roache's arrest was not directly related to Savile investigations.

Other high-profile figures arrested for sex crimes since the Savile probe: publicist Max Clifford, glam-rock singer Gary Glitter and comedian Freddie Starr.

All of the above have denied any wrongdoing.

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