Harris sketch to benefit refuge

By Heather McCracken

Auction proceeds of sex offender’s drawing of radio hosts will go to help women.

A sketch of Radio Hauraki's 1993 hosts by sex offender Rolf Harris will be auctioned  with proceeds  going to Women's Refuge.
A sketch of Radio Hauraki's 1993 hosts by sex offender Rolf Harris will be auctioned with proceeds going to Women's Refuge.

An original sketch by convicted sex offender Rolf Harris is being auctioned online to raise funds for Women's Refuge.

The move comes after international auction site eBay said it was considering banning the sale of items related to the disgraced entertainer.

The sketch of 1993 Radio Hauraki breakfast show hosts Mark Perry, Dean Lonergan and Leah Panapa was listed on Trade Me yesterday.

Watch: Children's TV star Rolf Harris jailed for sex assaults

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Former host Mr Perry said the idea for the charity auction came from Facebook friends after he posted an image of the sketch following Harris' sentencing on Friday.

Harris drew the sketch during an interview at Radio Hauraki while on a promotional tour in 1993.

"He was a very talented ad lib artist, and I handed him an A4 piece of paper and the studio black marker and away he went," Mr Perry said.

"The three of us were there, and he just did this very realistic sketch."

Mr Perry said the artwork had been framed and displayed alongside his radio awards, until details of the entertainer's sexual offending became public.

"When I heard the sentence at the weekend I put it on Facebook and said does anybody want it to start a fire," he said.

But friends suggested the artwork may have some value, so he decided to auction the sketch as a charity fundraiser.

Mr Perry said he wasn't seeking publicity, and hoped no one would find it in bad taste.

"If Women's Refuge can get some money out of it, if someone wants to cough up, I'm happy as."

One comment on the listing asks whether it comes with a box of matches, and adds: "Great work guys - hope you raise a fortune".

A spokeswoman for Women's Refuge said they were not prepared to comment on the auction.

Harris was last week sentenced in the UK to five years and nine months in jail for 12 sexual assaults on four young female victims.

Since then, National Party MP Maggie Barry has described how Harris tried to grope her during a radio interview.

Yesterday a spokeswoman for Ms Barry said she did not want to make any further comment.

Social Development Minister Paula Bennett encouraged victims to make a complaint to police, and said they would be assisted by victim support while the matter was investigated.

- APNZ

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