ABC publishes Craig McLachlan 1990s allegation

Updated: Lawyers reject groping claims made by a former British TV host alleged to have occurred during 1990s kid's TV show.

Lawyers for actor Craig McLachlan have rejected allegations published by ABC, made by a former TV host who was hosting a UK children’s show in 1990.

At 23 Jeanne Downs was the face of Children’s ITV channel CITV between 1989 and 1991 and alleges groping from behind during a live to air moment when McLachlan, 24, was a guest in 1990.

ABC has also published a clip supplied by ITV.

“I was so overwhelmingly shocked, disappointed, angry, violated, devastated, sad and actually physically hurt as his hand and his fingers were so strong. I fought hard to hold back tears, my body was shaking, convulsing inside,” she told ABC.

“I had to carry on and remain professional. It was the only thing I could do.”

She told ABC at the time she was too afraid to raise it with ITV in case it jeopardised her career.

“I was frightened to complain, I’d been in the job a short while and I just didn’t want to blow anything,” she said.

Following allegations in Australia Jeanne Downs contacted two newspapers, the Daily Mail in Australia and Sunday Mirror in the UK to tell her story. But she changed her mind when they declined her request to remain anonymous.

She also offered to testify about her experience but the NSW Supreme Court struck out her account, ruling the alleged incident was “too remote” from those encircling the 2014 tour of the Rocky Horror Show.

In December McLachlan was cleared of all 13 charges with magistrate Belinda Wallington also noting “brave and honest witnesses.” Craig McLachlan is currently suing the ABC, Nine newspapers and one of his former co-stars for defamation.

In a statement to the ABC, McLachlan’s lawyer said: “In January 2018 (the allegation) was vehemently denied when raised by the UK Sunday Mirror and not subsequently published.

“As you are well aware, in December 2018 (the allegation) was struck out of the ABC amended defence in the pending defamation proceedings, by court order.

“It is apparent that your intention is once again to smear my client by the broadcast of a ‘fresh’ allegation.”

A 2021 stage tour, ‘Lonesome for Me’ starring McLachlan as country singer Hank Williams, has now been postponed due to COVID but will tour in 2022.

Update: Craig McLachlan has responded on Facebook.

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