Co-star 'hushed' on Hey Dad allegations
One of the co-stars of hit TV comedy Hey Dad says she was told she'd never work in Australia again if she spoke up about allegations of inappropriate behaviour by the show's star.
Simone Buchanan says she was aware fellow actor Robert Hughes was allegedly touching and exposing himself to child star Sarah Monahan on the set of the show, which ran on the Seven Network from 1987 to 1994.
While Buchanan said cast members knew of Hughes' alleged behaviour and tried to protect Monahan, they were gagged by the show's management.
She told the Nine Network on Thursday she approached the show's executive producer, Gary Reilly, who told her to keep quiet.
Buchanan said some time later, after she had left the show, she received a phone call from Reilly, warning her against speaking up about the allegations.
"He was very, very angry with me. He said: `If I hear you speaking about this again anywhere, I'll see to it you'll never work in this country again'," she told Nine.
Monahan, who was six when she first played Hughes' on-screen daughter Jenny Kelly in the Hey Dad pilot, said the allegations against Hughes were known throughout the Australian television industry.
"It was such an open secret that when I had left the show ... every audition I went to people blatantly asked if it was true," she told Nine.
"That's how well known it was in the industry. People would come up to me on the street and ask me."
She said Reilly had asked her whether she wanted to leave the show.
When she said she had to stay because she was her family's breadwinner, the show's script was changed so she no longer had to sit on Hughes' lap or hug him.
Reilly told Nine last week he had no knowledge of the allegations at the time.
Hughes, who now lives in Singapore, has denied all allegations.
Nine says other women have come forward with similar claims against Hughes and spoke to two unnamed sisters who claimed they were also touched inappropriately by him.
Meanwhile, detectives expect to launch within days an official investigation into allegations of misconduct on the set of Hey Dad raised by a former child star.
However, the much-publicised claims, which have gained national exposure, could make a challenging job for investigators, who are yet to have any direct contact with alleged victims.
Prompted by the media coverage, the NSW police sex crimes squad has begun looking into the matter but awaits an official victim complaint to launch a formal investigation.
"In light of information aired by the media this week regarding allegations of indecent assault, I want to reaffirm that police are aware of this matter," sex crime squad Superintendent John Kerlatec told reporters in Sydney on Thursday.
"A number of police have been assigned and are ready to take up any follow-up investigation or inquiry that needs to be done.
"However, I do state that we have not had any contact with any of the victims."
Monahan, who played schoolgirl Jenny Kelly in the television show, told Woman's Day magazine last week that a male who worked on the show had fondled her and exposed himself to her.
She did not name the perpetrator and claimed she was not the only victim linked to the show.
Not a good look... check him out: