Glitter's Innocence Claims Cause Controversy

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Incarcerated rocker Gary Glitter's protestations he is not a paedophile have been met with anger by child welfare groups, who insist the disgraced singer is trying to "minimise" his crimes ahead of his 19 May (06) appeal trial. Glitter, real name Paul Francis Gadd, was jailed for three years in Vietnam in March (06) after being found guilty of molesting two girls aged 11 and 12. In 1999, he served a half of a four-month prison sentence in his native Britain after being convicted on child pornography charges. However, Glitter insists he has never slept with an underage girl. Speaking from his cell, he says, "Not to my knowledge that she's been underage. No, I have not. I know the line to cross. "It was only recently that I found out that underage is 18 in the country, OK, but I don't believe that I slept with anyone under 18." Glitter admits he has shared a bed with his own children in the past and one of the children involved in his recent trial, but continues to deny all allegations of abuse: "I'm a father, so from time to time these things happen. Your daughter will come into your bed in the night because she's scared or something like that. This happened in this case over here. She was scared of ghosts, so under pressure I said OK." However, CHRISTINE BEDDOE, director of End Child Prostitution, Pornography And Trafficking (ECPAT), insists Glitter's claims should be viewed with caution. She says, "His comments must be placed within the context of a much longer history of child abuse. "He is trying to minimise what he has done, but the girls gave a clear account of their experiences. "We need to make sure we do not minimise the evidence given by the victims in this case. "We must allow children to tell their story and not just have the words of Gadd."


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