British pop star investigated over sexual abuse claim

Thursday, August 14, 2014

LONDON - British pop institution and renowned "Bachelor Boy" Sir Cliff Richard is the latest celebrity to have his home searched in connection with an alleged historical sex offense, police turning up at his southeast England abode Thursday morning.

Police spokesperson Det. Supt Matt Fenwick said in a statement that they were currently searching the property.

"The search warrant was granted after police received an allegation of a sexual nature dating back to the 1980s. The allegation involved a young boy under the age of 16 years at that time."

He added that the owner of the property was not present at the time.

The 73-year-old singer and actor -- whose hit song "Bachelor Boy" featured in the 1963 film "Summer holiday," in which he also starred -- issued a statement late afternoon denying allegations of "historic impropriety" adding that he had become aware of them after they began circulating on the Internet.

"The allegations are completely false. Up until now I have chosen not to dignify the false allegations with a response, as it would just give them more oxygen."

Richard -- also responsible for million-selling "Devil Woman," "We Don't Talk Anymore" and "The Young Ones" -- added that police had attended his apartment "without notice."

"It goes without saying that I will cooperate fully should the police wish to speak to me. Beyond stating that today's allegation is completely false it would not be appropriate to say anything further until the police investigation has concluded."

Various high-profile pop stars and TV presenters have been accused of child abuse since it surfaced in 2012 that British DJ and television presenter Jimmy Savile had abused hundreds of children.

Police said Thursday that the investigation into Richard was unconnected to operation Yewtree, which was set up in the wake of the Savile enquiry.

Richard's career spans five decades. He is one of the U.K.'s top selling artists of all time, with over 21 million record sales to his name. He has also released albums of contemporary Christian music.

He was awarded a knighthood in 1995 and has also represented the U.K. in the Eurovision song contest. 

Police said no arrests had been made at this time.

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