Roache: Abuse Victims 'Punished For Past Sins'

The actor who plays Coronation Street's Ken Barlow has seemingly claimed victims of sexual abuse are being punished for their behaviour in "previous lives".

Bill Roache made the comments in a television interview, during which he said famous men can be "caught in this trap" by young female fans who follow their movements.

Speaking to New Zealand's TVNZ , he said of the victims: "If you accept that you are pure love ... and therefore live that pure love, these things won't happen to you."

He was then pressed by reporter Garth Bray, who asked: "To some people that sounds perhaps like you're saying victims bring things on themselves. Is that what you're saying?"

The 80-year-old replied: "No, not quite, but then yes I am. Everything that happens to us is the result of what we have been in previous lives."

Roache's co-star of 30 years, Michael Le Vell, has been suspended from the ITV soap after he was charged with 19 child sex offences.

Le Vell, whose real name is Michael Turner, appeared in court last month and was bailed until his next appearance in the dock at Manchester Crown Court.

During his interview with TVNZ, Roache insisted: "Everyone's innocent until they're proven guilty."

He described paedophilia as "absolutely horrendous" but added: "There's a fringe here ... particularly pop stars who have these groupies, these girls, who are sexually active and sexually mature.

"They don't ask for their birth certificate and they don't know what age they may be.

"They're certainly not grooming them and exploiting them but they can be caught in this trap."

He added: "These people are instantly stigmatised. Some will be innocent and some will not, but until such time as (any offence) is proven, there should be anonymity for both.

"If someone has done something wrong, the law should take its course. But whether they're proven guilty or not, we should never be judgemental about anyone.

"We shouldn't go round condemning. We should be forgiving about everything."