Michael Le Vell, British soap opera actor, arrested on child sex charges

Michael Le Vell in London on Jan. 25, 2012
AP Photo/ Anthony Devlin/PA, File

(CBS/AP) LONDON -A longtime star of a popular British soap opera was charged with child sex offenses including rape and indecent assault, prosecutors said Friday.

Michael Le Vell, who played mechanic Kevin Webster on the show "Coronation Street" for 30 years, faces 19 charges. Police said the charges relate to offenses against a child between 2001 and 2010.

Le Vell, 48, released a statement Friday saying he would vigorously contest the charges.

"I will now put all my efforts into clearing my name and proving my innocence," he said.

Le Vell was originally arrested and questioned in 2011, but released without charge. Prosecutors said Friday they had overturned that decision.

The actor, whose real name is Michael Turner, is due in court Feb. 27.

"Coronation Street," set in a fictional working-class district in northwestern England, is one of the most popular programs on British television. Broadcaster ITV said Le Vell would not appear in any episodes of the show pending the outcome of his trial.

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