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Longtime British entertainer faces sex charges

LONDON — In the latest twist in a sexual abuse scandal, one of the country’s best-known television entertainers, Rolf Harris, for whom Queen Elizabeth II once sat for a portrait, has been arrested on suspicion of unspecified sexual offenses, British news reports said Friday.

Harris, 83, was arrested March 28, but only identified by name Friday by The Sun newspaper.

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The BBC followed suit, having previously refrained from identifying him for what the network called ‘‘legal reasons.’’

The BBC said Friday that the entertainer had not been formally charged.

He was arrested as part of Operation Yewtree, an investigation police opened last year after hundreds of accusations of sexual abuse against Jimmy Savile, a onetime disc jockey and television personality who died in 2011 at the age of 84.

An Australian who moved to Britain in 1952, Harris made his name decades ago with humorous and sentimental songs, like ‘‘Tie Me Kangaroo Down, Sport,’’ and “Jake the Peg.”

In 2005 he unveiled his portrait of the queen at Buckingham Palace as she approached her 80th birthday.

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