British actor Michael Le Vell, 48, plays Kevin Webster in long running UK soap, Coronation Street. He has been a firm favourite in The Street for a fair few years. Today he was charged with a string of sex offences.
There have been many cases of celebrity arrests in the UK, relating to sex offences, since the death of Jimmy Savile. A real can of worms was opened. Many well known UK celebrities have been investigated and some are due to appear in court during the coming months.
The BBC reports that Le Vell is"facing a total of 19 charges relating to crimes allegedly committed between 2001 and 2010". He will appear before magistrate's in Manchester on February 27. The charges include raping a child.
The news is breaking. Updates will follow. Allegations against Le Vell were reported in 2012 but details are only now being revealed.
Actors in Coronation Street often bob in and out of the series. Currently Le Vell's character is active in Corrie. The shows aired each week are filmed around six weeks earlier. We shall have to wait and see how the show's producers will react It could be that no matter what the verdict of the trial is the character of Kevin Webster wil be written out either temporarily or for good.
The charges against Mr Le Vell were first reported in the UK press in 2011. No charges were brought at that time. According to the Guardian "a review of evidence by lawyers from the Crown Prosecution Service (CPS) led to a decision yesterday to arrest and charge Le Vell.
ITV, the channel that airs Corrie, have confirmed that the actor will not be appearing in the show, at least until the trial is over. If he is convicted that could be a permanent scenario.
The actor is a father of two. He and his wife separated last year. He strongly denies all allegations. He was charged under his real name, Michael Robert Turner.
"Alison Levitt QC, principal legal adviser to the director of public prosecutions, had reviewed a file of evidence in relation to allegations of sexual offences and looked again at a decision previously made not to prosecute. Levitt said: "I have very carefully reviewed the evidence in this case and I have concluded that there is sufficient evidence and it is in the public interest to charge Michael Robert Turner with a number of sexual offences. "I have authorised Greater Manchester police to charge Mr Turner with 19 offences, including rape of a child. Mr Turner has now been charged with criminal offences and has a right to a fair trial. As proceedings are now active, it would be inappropriate to say anything further at this stage."
October 2013 update -Corrie actor Michael Le Vell cleared of rape and sex abuse