Musician, 74, is cleared after 3 years of sex abuse charges

Musician, 74, is cleared after 3 years of sex abuse charges


norman lebrecht

November 09, 2015

Roy Harper, a guitarist and songwriter who has worked with Paul McCartney, Led Zeppelin and Kate Bush, has seen all charges against him dropped by prosecutors at the start of a retrial today.

Harper, 74, has always proclaimed his innocence.

He said today: ‘The psychological and personal cost to my wife and myself has been enormous and the financial cost hugely unfair. I lost my livelihood and I spent my savings … and more, on my defence.’

Details here.

roy harper


  • RM says:

    Child sexual abuse cases are extremely difficult to prosecute and very easy for defense. Level of proof exceeds what most minors can muster; there are very rarely any witnesses; those willing to report (including minors) are subject to character assassination; and investigating psychologists think they can read minds–which will work for or against a case, improperly.

    The subsequent findings (crimemagazine 2007,) are “less accurate than the toss of a coin,” as they have quoted peer reviewers who studied the Wee Care case.

    On another site, the Leadership Council claims only 3% of child sex abuse crimes result in conviction in the U.S.

    That said, of course by law this man is innocent. I wouldn’t know.

  • T. Manor says:

    It really is an absolutely shameful that this man had to go through such a dredging. I honestly don’t think people realise just how influential Roy Harper was on so many musicians. David Bowie, Jimmy Page, David Gilmour…ask any of them about Harper and they’ll talk for hours. A true legend that clearly suffered from this nonsense.

    I only wish judicial systems recognised the need to hold people responsible for their accusations as much as they do their actions.

    • RM says:

      There is nothing in the article to suggest that the young girls were not “responsible” in their accusations.

      If your wallet is stolen and the police can’t gather enough evidence to arrest and convict the thief, that doesn’t mean you irresponsibly reported the crime or that you lied.

      The insinuations against those minors who report child sex abuse crimes reminds me of the way rape victims were treated in the 1970s, which is to say they were treated like lying sluts.

      Two young women at different times reported Mr. Harper. The article says the prosecution did not feel they had enough evidence to win a conviction, which is not the same thing as saying the two girls made irresponsible accusations.

      Harper’s influence in music should be irrelevant to the case, but it probably worked in his favor. Had he been unknown, poor, and a person of color, the level of proof required to convict (sad to say) would probably have been lower.

      All we know is that the prosecution backed down despite multiple accusers. And therefore Mr. Harper is a free man.