New Zealand MP Maggie Barry was groped by Australian actor Rolf Harris. The National Party politician recalled how the convicted paedophile took advantage of her when she was still a radio presenter in the mid-‘80s.
Barry said that she was working at a regional radio station in her 20s when she scored an interview with Harris. She had expected a light-hearted conversation with the British-based entertainer, but was surprised when Harris had a different plan.
“It was a pre-record situation where you’re testing the microphones and all the rest of it, when he suddenly started with the wandering hands and the groping. And when he put his hand on my knee, I told him, ‘you can stop right now,’ and I stood up and said, ‘you’re a sleazy creep,’” Barry recalled to Radio New Zealand.
“At that point he got a bit nasty and the publicist came in and smoothed things over, and we went ahead with the interview.”
Barry never reported the interview because she felt it was “on the absolute minor end of the scale” compared to the experiences of Harris’ other victims.
However, Barry got the impression that Harris was “pretty confident and arrogant” that he could get away with sexually abusing women.
She was older at mid-20s at that time, and was able to stand up to him, but looking back, she understands how his other victims, who were usually young girls and teens, could have feared him.
Barry also told 3News that since she has revealed the incident, she has been contacted by several women who also experienced being victimised by the 84-year-old entertainer.
“She’s now a woman in her 50s, a confident and professional woman,” she said. “She feels what he did to her when she was a young person working in the TV industry really violated her.”
Harris was arrested and charged with twelve counts of indecent assault in London in 2013. Some of his victims were aged seven and 19 at the time of the abuse, from 1968 onwards.
He was found guilty on all counts of indecent assault on June 30.