Cliff Richard Sex Abuse Probe: Charges Against Singer Dropped

Cliff Richard
British singer Sir Cliff Richard performs at the Ziggo Dome, Amsterdam, May 17, 2014. Sir Cliff said he was "obviously thrilled" that an investigation into historical sexual abuse had come to an end. Ferdy Damman/Getty

Singer Sir Cliff Richard will face no further action over allegations of historical sex abuse, U.K. prosecutors said Thursday.

The Crown Prosecution Service said it had "carefully reviewed" the case and decided there was "insufficient evidence to prosecute."

Sir Cliff said he was "obviously thrilled that the vile accusations and the resulting investigation have finally been brought to a close."

The singer, 75, has been plagued for two years by ­allegations that he abused boys during the 1980s.

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His ordeal began in August 2014, when South Yorkshire Police raided his Berkshire home. A week later, he was ­voluntarily interviewed under caution over claims he sexually assaulted a 15-year-old boy at a Christian rally in 1985.

Two more alleged victims came forward but Sir Cliff was never arrested and denied all allegations.

Martin Goldman, chief crown prosecutor for Yorkshire and Humberside, said: "The CPS worked with police during the investigation. This has helped minimize the time needed to reach a decision once we received the complete file of evidence on May 10.

"The complainants have been informed and provided with a full explanation in writing."

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South Yorkshire Police has apologized "wholeheartedly for the additional anxiety caused" to Sir Cliff by the force's "initial handling of the media interest" in its investigation into the singer.

In a statement, Sir Cliff said: "I have always maintained my innocence, co-operated fully with the investigation, and cannot understand why it has taken so long to get to this point. Nevertheless, I am obviously thrilled that the vile accusations and the resulting investigation have finally been brought to a close.

"Ever since the highly-publicized and BBC-filmed raid on my home I have chosen not to speak publicly. Even though I was under pressure to 'speak out,' other than to state my innocence, which was easy for me to do as I have never molested anyone in my life, I chose to remain silent.

"This was despite the widely-shared sense of injustice resulting from the high-profile fumbling of my case from day one. Other than in exceptional cases, people who are facing allegations should never be named publicly until charged.

"I was named before I was even interviewed and for me that was like being hung out like 'live bait.'

"It is obvious that such strategies simply increase the risk of attracting spurious claims which not only tie up police resources and waste public funds, but they forever tarnish the reputations of innocent people.

"There have been numerous occasions in recent years where this has occurred, and I feel very strongly that no innocent person should be treated in this way.

"I know the truth and in some people's eyes the CPS' announcement today doesn't go far enough because it doesn't expressly state that I am innocent; which, of course, I am. There lies the problem. My reputation will not be fully vindicated because the CPS' policy is to only say something general about there being 'insufficient' evidence.

"How can there be evidence for something that never took place! This is also a reason why people should never be named publicly until they have been charged unless there are exceptional circumstances.

"To my fans and members of the public, to the press and media, all of whom continued to show me such encouraging and wonderful support, I would like to say 'thank you.' It would have been so much harder without you."

Cliff Richard Sex Abuse Probe: Charges Against Singer Dropped | Culture