British actor Andrew Lancel has protested his innocence after police charged him with five counts of sexually abusing a minor.
The former Coronation Street star, who left the hit soap opera in March (12), faces five counts of indecent assault on a child under 16. The charges, filed on Friday (30Nov12) under the star's real name Andrew Watkinson, are thought to date back around 20 years ago to his time as a trainee actor.
The 42 year old has been released on bail and is due to appear at South Sefton Magistrates' Court in Merseyside, England on 19 December (12).
Lancel's attorney, Stuart Nolan, tells British newspaper The Sun that his client "strenuously denies the allegations", adding, "Mr Lancel was invited by police to co-operate with an inquiry by one complainant about events that allegedly took place over 20 years ago. He is confident his innocence will be established in the fullness of time."
A spokesman for Merseyside Police says, "Merseyside Police can confirm that a 42-year-old man has been charged with five offences of indecent assault on a child under 16 under the Sexual Offences Act 2003. Andrew Watkinson, 42, was charged with the offences today. The offences are historic."
The actor, who is currently starring in a play called Epstein: The Man Who Made The Beatles in Liverpool, England, commented on Friday's dramatic events in a post on his Twitter.com page, writing, "My lovely followers and friends. Your support means the world. Have faith. Good night. See you soon."