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William Roache, who holds the record as the longest-tenured soap opera star in the world, has been cleared of rape and indecent assault charges by a jury in Preston Crown Court in the U.K.
Roache’s trial lasted three weeks. According to the BBC, the actor faced two charges of rape and four charges of indecent assault. Five women claimed that he had assaulted them between 1965 and 1971, when they were 16 or younger. One of the women alleged that he raped her on two different occasions at his home.
“In these situations there are no winners,” Roache said when he spoke to reporters outside the courthouse, reports Businessweek. “I think we should all be much kinder to ourselves.”
He was arrested in May 2013, as British police continued to investigate the sexual abuse allegations against the late BBC star Jimmy Saville. DJ David Lee Travis was also arrested and is being tried in London. The trial Rolf Harris, 83, will start in April.
Roache has starred on ITV’s Coronation Street since it started in 1960. “We look forward to talking to Bill soon about his return to work,” ITV said in a statement.
image: Wikimedia Commons