Two women have told a London court they felt they wouldn’t be taken seriously if they took groping complaints to police against such a famous celebrity as Rolf Harris.
One told Southwark Crown Court on Wednesday that in 1983, when she was 13, Harris groped her breast and said to her, ‘Do you often get molested on a Saturday morning?”
The woman, now in her late 40s, said her family and friends just couldn’t believe Harris would do such a thing, so she didn’t think police would believe her either.
A second woman testifying against the 86-year-old said that when she was a 19-year-old backing singer in 2002 he had entered a band rehearsal and made lewd comments as he stroked her lower back.
She said she thought she might be laughed at if she made a complaint against the celebrity.
Both women were finally prompted to come forward after Harris was sentenced to jail on indecent assault charges in 2014.
Harris is facing a second trial after pleading not guilty of indecently assaulting seven women between 1971 and 2004 when they were aged between 12 and 42.
Harris, who is not expected to give evidence himself, sat quietly watching proceedings on Wednesday from a room at Stafford Prison.
The first woman said she was 13 when Harris molested her at the BBC Television Centre after he was a guest on a variety program in which she and other children had participated.
She said he slid his hand under her breast and made his comment about being molested on a Saturday morning.
“I was in shock, it was the last thing I’d expected to happen and I didn’t really know what to do.”
The woman said after Harris left she told her older sister what he had done but she dismissed it.
“I think she thought, ‘No, that’s Rolf Harris, that can’t be right.”
The woman said her parents also played the incident down and the reaction of other people she told in following years was one of “sheer disbelief”.
“So I thought if my own friends don’t believe me, I didn’t think the police would believe me”.
The second complainant said she was in band rehearsal in a London studio in June 2002, wearing a crop top that showed her bare midriff, when Harris walked in.
The woman, now aged in her mid-30s, said the band members were stunned by the celebrity entrance and his comment that they had “a beautiful girl in the room”.
She said he came across and put his hand on her bare midriff and started stroking her lower back in “a sexual touch”, telling her she was “really gorgeous”.
The woman said Harris went on to say that if a line was drawn between the dimples in a woman’s back and “the top of the bum crack” it would be in the shape of a diamond and he found that “really sexy”.
She said Harris then left the room, leaving everyone speechless.
The woman said that at the time she was shocked but didn’t think it was a serious enough complaint to take to police.
She said Harris was a well-known celebrity while she didn’t have much power and might be laughed at if she brought a complaint forward.
The trial continues.