|British actor in Coronation Street faces child rape rap
A famous British actor in a well known national soap opera has been charged with a number of sexual offences including rape of a girl under 16, media reports said today.
Coronation Street actor Michael Le Vell, real name Michael Robert Turner, faces 19 serious sexual offences, including six rapes and six indecent assaults, the Guardian reports. He was produced before a magistrate today.
Le Vell, 48, a father of two, played garage owner Kevin Webster for 30 years in the series.
The court heard all 19 charges relate to one complainant, a girl who was under 16 at the time of all of the alleged offences, which took place between September 2001 and September 2010. Le Vell is accused of raping her six times between September 2001 and September 2006 in the Trafford area of Greater Manchester. He is also charged with indecently assaulting her six times between September 2002 and 2004.
A further seven charges relate to "non-penetrative sexual activity with a girl under 13" between 2004 and 2010, the paper reports.
Le Vell did not enter a plea, but his lawyer said his client planned to contest all the charges against him when the case reaches the crown court next month. The actor was released on bail and told to report for a preliminary hearing at Manchester crown court on 20 March.
The father of two is one of television's most famous faces after playing Webster for the past 30 years, the paper said.
ITV has said Le Vell would not be appearing in any further episodes of the soap pending the outcome of legal proceedings. In a statement after his arrest, the actor said he was innocent of the charges.