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Le Vell vows to fight abuse charges
Coronation Street actor Michael Le Vell, who has been charged with child sex offences, has said in a statement that he is innocent of all charges and will "fight them vigorously".
Le Vell, 48, whose real name is Michael Turner, is accused of 19 sex offences including raping a child, indecently assaulting a child and sexual activity with a child.
He said: "I would like to make it quite clear that following the serious allegations that have been brought against me on Thursday 14th February 2013, I am innocent of these charges and intend to fight them vigorously.
"I will now put all my efforts into clearing my name and proving my innocence. I thank my friends, family and fans for their continued support. I would ask now for time to concentrate on preparing my defence with my legal team."
ITV have already said the actor will not be appearing in any further episodes of the soap pending the outcome of legal proceedings.
An ITV spokesman said: "Given the serious nature of these charges, Michael Le Vell will not be appearing in Coronation Street pending the outcome of legal proceedings. It would not be appropriate for us to comment further at this time."
Le Vell, a stalwart on the popular ITV series in his role as car mechanic Kevin Webster, will appear in court in two weeks' time, Greater Manchester Police (GMP) said.
He was first arrested in September 2011 and questioned over alleged child sex offences, but the matter was later dropped. But late on Thursday night, GMP said the actor, from Hale, Cheshire, had been charged with sex offences against a youngster after a review of evidence by lawyers from the Crown Prosecution Service (CPS).
A spokeswoman for GMP said: "A man has been charged with 19 child sex offences. Michael Turner, of Byrom Street, Hale, has been charged with 19 offences including raping a child, indecently assaulting a child and sexual activity with a child.
"He is due to appear at Manchester Magistrates' (court) on Wednesday, February 27. The charges, which were authorised by the CPS following a review of evidence, relate to offences against a child between 2001 and 2010."