LONDON — U.K. celebrity publicist Max Clifford has been sentenced to eight years in jail for a string of indecent assaults against teen girls.
Clifford was found guilty of eight of 11 charges of “indecent” assault on girls as young as 15 on Monday.
The 71-year-old public relations veteran, whose clients have included Simon Cowell, previously called all the allegations “completely false,” pleading not guilty to the charges.
In December 2012, Clifford was questioned as part of one of several probes sparked by sexual abuse allegations against late TV host Jimmy Savile.
His jail sentence immediately hit the British mainstream media news services including The Telegraph, The Guardian and The Independent news sites along with TV reports on public broadcaster the BBC, satellite broadcaster BSkyB’s Sky News and commercial web ITV.
According to the multiple reports, when sentencing the PR man, Judge Anthony Leonard said Clifford had groomed and degraded his victims.
Leonard ruled that Clifford should serve his eight sentences of between six and 24 months consecutively and said that the former celebrity publicist high flier should serve at least half his total sentence in jail.
The judge said some of the offenses would be charged as rape if they had happened today, according to the BBC.
In 2013, Clifford was charged with committing 11 assaults on seven people between 1966 and 1985. He was not charged in the case of three other allegations.
His guilty verdict was described by BBC home affairs correspondent Danny Shaw as “hugely significant” as the first Operation Yewtree conviction.