'Coronation Street' star Bill Roache has apologised for saying victims of paedophiles bring abuse upon themselves because of what they have done in previous lives.

The star, 80, who has played strait-laced Ken Barlow in the ITV soap for more than 50 years, told New Zealand's 'One News' that the public should not be judgmental but be "totally forgiving" of people who have committed child sex crimes.

bill roache

Bill Roach was discussing the Jimmy Savile scandal

He has since issued an apology, saying he was "very sorry for any offence that has been caused".

In the interview, the actor talked about the furore around the Jimmy Savile sex abuse revelations, and defended people "on the fringes", especially pop stars, who he said were "caught in this trap" by sexually active young female groupies.

His comments were condemned by the National Association for People Abused in Childhood (NAPAC), which said his comments were an insult to abuse victims.

In a behind the scenes interview for the television channel, Roache discussed the exposure of former DJ Savile as one of the country's most prolific ever paedophiles who may have abused hundreds of children.

He said: "If you accept that you are pure love, and if you know that you are pure love and therefore live that pure love, these things won't happen to you."

Interviewer Garth Bray replied: "To some people that sounds perhaps like you're saying victims bring things on themselves - is that what you're saying?"

Roache replied: "No, not quite, but and yet I am, because everything that happens to us has been a result of what we have been in previous lives or whatever."

LIKE US ON FACEBOOK | FOLLOW US ON TWITTER

The Corrie veteran went on to call for anonymity for all those accused of child sex offences because of the stigma they faced even if innocent.

He said: "Paedophilia is absolutely horrendous. Paedophiles should be sought out, rooted out and dealt with.

"But there's a fringe of people who, particularly pop singers, they have these groupies, these girls, who come, they're sexually active, sexually mature, they don't ask for their birth certificate, they don't know what age they may be.

"But they're certainly not grooming them and exploiting them, but they can be caught in this trap.

"These people are instantly stigmatised, some will be innocent, some will not, but until such time as it's proven there should be anonymity for both."

He added: "If someone has done something wrong the law will take its course.

"But even so, all of them, whether they are proven guilty or not, we should not be judgmental about anybody, ever.

"We shouldn't go around condemning, unforgiving. We should all be totally forgiving about everything."

Dr Jon Bird, from NAPAC, condemned Roache's "hippy-dippy" spiritualist beliefs, saying child sex abuse left people with horrific physical and mental scars.

"Abuse is a crime. The rape of a child is an appalling crime and the long term effects we here about include suicide," he said.

"There is a whole range of terrible consequences that are life-long.

"This is a real insult, it is horrible. I think a lot of people will be deeply offended by what he said."

Loading Slideshow...
  • Television - ITV Series - Coronation Street - William Roache - London

    Actor William Roache, better known as television character 'Ken Barlow' in 'Coronation Street', in London when he was one of several guests at a general reception given by the Prime Minister, Margaret Thatcher, at Downing Street.

  • Television - Awards - PYE Television Awards - London

    Three stars of the long running TV series "Coronation Street" in London with their special award, received at the PYE Television Awards at the Hilton Hotel.They are (left to right) William Roache, who plays Ken Barlow, Anne Kirkbride, who plays his wife Deidre and actor Johnny Briggs who caused much concern with viewers as Deidre's lover Mike Baldwin. The award was for the "massive impact" of the shows domestic love triangle.

  • Entertainment - Bob Hope Golf Party

    William Roache, right, who plays Ken Barlow, and Johnny Briggs, who plays Mike Baldwin, in the ITV soap opera Coronation Street, at the Bob Hope Golf Party.

  • Television - ITV Series - Coronation Street 30th Birthday - Manchester

    Coronation Street star William Roache, who plays Ken Barlow, celebrates the approach of the television serial's 30th birthday outside the show's new production studio in Manchester.

  • Roache slammed over abuse comments

    File photo dated 27/5/12 of Bill Roache who has been criticised after saying victims of paedophiles bring abuse upon themselves because of what they have done in previous lives.

  • Coronation Street Filming - Manchester

    The court case of Tyrone Dobbs, Ken and Deirdre Barlow (played by Bill Roache and Anne Kirkbride).

  • Coronation Street Filming - Manchester

    The court case of Tyrone Dobbs, Ken and Deirdre Barlow (played by Bill Roache and Anne Kirkbride).

  • Coronation Street Filming - Manchester

    The court case of Tyrone Dobbs (played by Alan Halsall), Ken and Deirdre Barlow (played by Bill Roache and Anne Kirkbride) with Eileen Grimshaw (played by Sue Cleaver).

  • Sun Military Awards 2012 - London

    Bill Roache arrives to attend 'A Night of Heroes: The Sun Military Awards' at the Imperial War Museum in London.

  • Royalty - Queen Elizabeth II Golden Jubilee

    Britain's Queen Elizabeth II, meets actor Bill Roache who plays Ken Barlow in Coronation Street, during her visit to Preston, Lancashire.The Queen is on the last leg of her Jubilee celebration tour after having watched the closing ceremony of the Commonwealth Games in Manchester, yesterday.

  • Arqiva British Academy Television Awards - Arrivals - London

    Bill Roache arriving for the 2012 Arqiva British Academy Television Awards at the Royal Festival Hall, London

  • BAFTA Coronation St & Award

    Some of the cast of Granada TV's long running soap "Coronation Street" celebrate their BAFTA award presented at The Royal Albert Hall in London. (l/r) Bill Roache; Barbara Knox; Beverley Callard; Simon Gregson; Michael Levell (fgrnd) and Tina Hobley.

  • Cor.St Barlow/Police horses

    Police horses trot down Granada TV's Coronation Street set, where they met up with actor Bill Roache, (Ken Barlow), at the launch today (Wed) of a Lancashire Police campaign to highlight security in schools. Pic Dave Kendall.

  • MEMORIAL/Roach

    Coronation Street stars past and present turned out in force to bid a final farewell to Bryan Mosley, who for 37 years played grocer Alf Roberts in the TV soap. Bill Roache (Ken Barlow)was among a congregation of more than 300 inside Salford's Roman Catholic Cathedral. * for a special memorial service to celebrate the 67-year-old actor s life.

  • Soap Awards/Roach & Briggs

    From left: 'Coronation Street' stars Bill Roache (who plays Ken Barlow) with his wife Fara, and on screen rival Johnny Briggs (who plays Mike Baldwin), at the British Soap Awards in London.

  • roach bill

    Bill Roache who plays Ken Barlow in Coronation St at a charity fashion show in Manchester. Full Length.

  • Bill Roach - BAFTA TV Awards

    Coronation Street actor Bill Roache arriving for the British Academy Television Awards at the London Palladium.

  • The Coronation Street Wedding - Manchester

    Bill Roache at the Coronation Street wedding of Liz McDonald and Vernon in Audenshaw, Manchester.

  • Coronation Street Filming - Manchester

    Anne Kirkbride and William Roache seen on the set of Coronation Street, Cheshire

  • Central Station Paint Coronation Street-Part 1 - Manchester

    The Richard Goodall Gallery In Manchester's Norther Quarter Had It's Opening Night Party Of For The Exhibition "Central Station Paint Coronation Street-Part 1". Coronation Street's William Roache.

  • Coronation Street Filming - Manchester

    William Roache On the set of Coronation Street, Cheshire

  • Ideal Home Show 2011

    Coronation Street stars Kate Ford and William Roache pose outside a recreation of the Rovers Return Inn at the Ideal Homes Show at Earls Court.

  • Philips British Academy Television Awards - Arrivals - London

    William Roache arriving for the Philips British Academy Television Awards at the Grosvenor House, 90 Park Lane, London.

  • Coronation Street Filming - Manchester

    Dennis Tanner (played by Philip Lowrie), Julie Carp (played by Katy Kavanagh) and Ken Barlow (William Roache) filming scenes for Coronation Street in Manchester

  • Coronation Street Filming - Manchester

    Dennis Tanner (played by Philip Lowrie), Julie Carp (played by Katy Kavanagh) and Ken Barlow (William Roache) filming scenes for Coronation Street in Manchester

  • Coronation Street Filming - Manchester

    Ken Barlow (William Roache) filming scenes for Coronation Street in Manchester

  • Television - ITV - Coronation Street 21st Anniversary - Granada Studios

    A giant 21st birthday key for Granada TV's cast of Coronation Street, celebrating the soap opera's 21st birthday in the interior set of the Rover's Return at Granada Studios, Manchester. Foreground, left to right, Pat Phoenix, Jack Howarth, Doris Speed and Bill Roache.

  • roach bill

    Coronation street actor Bill Roache and wife at a fashion show, held at the Midland hotel in Manchester.

  • Entertainment - Arts and Sport Reception - Downing Street, London

    Prime Minister Margaret Thatcher and her husband Denis, left, greeting actor William Roache , who plays Coronation Street's Ken Barlow, with his wife Sara Roache. They were among a number of people who attended a reception at Downing Street for people from the fields of entertainment, the arts and sport.

  • Television - ITV Series - Coronation Street - Granada Studios

    Prime Minister Margaret Thatcher outside the Rovers Return with William Roache, who plays Ken Barlow, on her visit to the Coronation Street set at Granada Studios, Manchester.

  • Television - ITV Series - Jack Howarth Memorial Service - Actors' Church, Covent Garden

    Coronation Street actors William Roache, who plays Ken Barlow, left, and Johnny Briggs, who plays Mike Baldwin, right, with Betty Howarth, the widow of Jack Howarth at his memorial service. He played Albert Tatlock in the soap opera.

  • Television - Granada TV - Coronation Street 25th Anniversary - Dorchester Hotel

    Members of the cast of ITV's soap opera Coronation Street, crowded around a cake replica of the street at the celebration to mark its 25th anniversary at the Dorchester Hotel. Front row, left to right, Julie Goodyear, Eileen Derbyshire, Thelma Barlow, William Roache, Jean Alexander and Betty Driver. Back row, left to right, Liz Dawn, Nigel Pivaro, Anne Kirkbride, Bryan Mosley and Bill Tarmey.

  • Philips British Academy Television Awards - London

    William Roache arriving for the BAFTA television awards at the London Palladium.

  • TV Choice Awards - Arrivals - London

    William Roache arriving for the 2010 TV Choice awards at the Dorchester Hotel, London.

  • The National Lottery Awards 2010

    William Roache MBE and Sacha Parkinson attend the National Lottery Awards at the Roundhouse in central London.

  • Sara Roache memorial

    Coronation Street actress Sue Nicholls arrives with her husband Mark Eden for a memorial service for Sara Roache, the wife of Coronation Street actor Bill at St Bartholomew's Church, Wilmslow, Cheshire.

  • Coronation Street work party - Manchester

    William Roache arrives at a Coronation Street party to say goodbye to their old producer Kim Crowther, Manchester.

  • National Television Awards 2010 - Show - London

    William Roache (left) and Jack Shepherd during the National Television Awards 2010, at the 02 Arena, London.

  • The Duchess of Cornwall visits Coronation Street - Manchester

    Actor William Roache on the set of Coronation Street at Granada Studios in Manchester, with Camilla, The Duchess of Cornwall. The Duchess's visit to the set was as part of the celebrations for the soaps 50th anniversary year.

  • William Roache sighting - Manchester

    Coronation Street actor William Roache leaves Granada Studios after his first day back at work since his wifes death. Manchester.

  • Coronation Street filming - Manchester

    The Coronation Street location shoot at Worsley Boat yard was a very stop start affair as actor William Roache seemed to be lacking in concentration. He filmed his scenes with actress Stephanie Beacham.

  • Sara Roache memorial

    Coronation Street actress Anne Kirkbride kisses on screen husband Bill Roache after a memorial service for his wife Sara, at St Bartholomew's Church, Wilmslow, Cheshire.

Also on HuffPost: