Over 40 years after the fact, William Roache was arrested and charged with two counts of rape on Wednesday, May 1, BBC reports. The 81-year-old Coronation Street actor is accused of raping a 15-year-old girl in Haslingden, England back in spring to summer 1967, when he was 35 years old.
"Having completed our review, we have concluded that there is sufficient evidence and it is in the public interest for Mr Roache to be charged with two offenses of rape relating to a girl, aged 15, in 1967," Chief Crown Prosecutor, Nazir Afzal, said in a statement. CPS and Lancashire Police began reviewing evidence in March.
Roache, who set a Guinness World Record for being the longest-serving soap actor, has denied the charges against him.
"I am astounded and deeply horrified by the extraordinary events of the last 24 hours," Roache said in a statement through his lawyers to the BBC. "I strenuously deny the allegations and will now focus my full attention on fighting to preserve my innocence in the challenging times ahead. I would like to offer my sincere thanks to all those people who have offered me their support and good wishes at this difficult time."
Roache continues to play the character of Ken Barlow on the British soap opera Coronation Street, which he has starred on since its debut in 1960. He is due to in court on May 14.