Max Clifford Pleads Not Guilty to U.K. Sex-Assault ChargesJeremy Hodges
Max Clifford, a celebrity publicist who has represented O.J. Simpson, David Beckham and Simon Cowell, pleaded not guilty to 11 sexual offense charges involving girls as young as 15 over almost two decades.
Clifford, 70, was ordered to appear at a higher criminal court June 12 by Judge Howard Riddle in London today. The claims involve seven teenagers allegedly abused from 1966 to 1985, when the oldest alleged victim was 19, British prosecutors said.
Clifford was arrested in December by officers probing the abuse of hundreds of children by people in the entertainment industry. The investigations began with accusations against the late British Broadcasting Corp. television star Jimmy Savile, whose alleged actions triggered a scandal at the world’s biggest broadcaster.
“This is a nightmare for myself and my family and has been since December when I was arrested in a very public way,” Clifford told reporters after the hearing. “What I have got to do now is to prove that these allegations are totally without foundation, which I know they are.”
Police have made about a dozen arrests in what’s being called Operation Yewtree, a probe targeting people who may have engaged in abuse with Savile or acted on their own during the same period. Other people arrested include singer Gary Glitter and former BBC disc jockey Dave Lee Travis.
Savile, who died in 2011, committed more than 200 criminal sexual-abuse offenses at the BBC, in schools and in more than a dozen hospitals, mental homes and a hospice, London police said in a final report about the former entertainer in January.
Savile wasn’t prosecuted while he was alive, even after four women made reports to two U.K. police departments in 2007 and 2008, in which they described abuse when they were children. Authorities across the U.K. have been ramping up investigations into allegations of historical sex-abuse claims following alleged failures related to Savile.