5 Jul 2014

NZ woman considers Harris complaint

9:24 pm on 5 July 2014

A woman who says she was assaulted by the entertainer Rolf Harris in the 1980s says she thinks his sentence is too lenient, but is most upset by his apparent lack of remorse.

Harris has been sentenced to five years and nine months jail for indecent assault after being found guilty of 12 counts of indecent assaults against four girls between 1968 and 1986 but will spend only half that time behind bars.

The sentence has already been referred to the Attorney General's Office under the British legal system's 'unduly lenient sentence scheme'.

Lee Howden says she believes Harris is incapable of accepting responsibility, and she may lay a complaint with police if it encourages others who have been assaulted by Harris to come forward.

Lee Howden worked as a TVNZ makeup artist, and says she was sexually assaulted by Harris before an on-air interview.

She says she's been told the police are interested in finding more victims and she is considering making a complaint.

Ms Howden believes there will be other New Zealand victims of Harris, who have yet to come forward.

Maggie Barry

Maggie Barry believes Rolf Harris felt entitled to touch her. Photo: SUPPLIED


National MP and former broadcaster Maggie Barry said Harris groped her in as they were preparing to do an interview.

On Friday morning, Ms Barry spoke of how Harris groped her in a radio studio in Palmerston North during the 1980s.

Lee Howden, who was working as a makeup artist for Television New Zealand, says she was sexually assaulted by Harris as she did his make-up for an on-air interview. She said she was shocked by the incident, which she never reported.

"I felt a hand going up my right leg, right inside of my underpants. I dropped my tools and I just went straight out into the control room. I was a bit tearful and said I'm not going near that man until he leaves."

Ms Howden said the trial bought awful memories back and was thrilled when Harris was found guilty.

Ms Howden said on Friday she had been inspired to come forward with her story after hearing Ms Barry's account.

Sleazy creep, says Barry

Maggie Barry says Harris groped her as they were preparing to do an interview in the 1980s. She said she found it a chilling experience and believes he felt he was entitled to touch her because of his celebrity status.

Ms Barry said when she called him a "sleazy creep" he became angry and his publicist had to intervene.

Meanwhile, the town of Bassendean in Western Australia, where Harris was born, has voted to strip him of honours and remove all his art from display following his conviction on child sex offences.

At an hour-long meeting, councillors voted to remove all of Harris's artwork from the town's administration building and place them in indefinite storage. It also voted to remove Harris's freemanship and remove a bicentennial plaque dedicated to Harris.