Hey Dad! star denies molesting TV daughter

BY ANDREW HORNERY
Last updated 16:03 25/03/2010
The cast of the sitcom Hey Dad!, including Robert Hughes, wearing a tie, and Sarah Monaghan, right.
SMH
SERIOUS ALLEGATIONS: The cast of the sitcom Hey Dad!, including Robert Hughes, wearing a tie, and Sarah Monaghan, right.

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The star of one of Australia's most loved television shows has denied claims he molested his young co-star on the set of what was once the country's most watched program.

Channel Nine's A Current Affair tracked down in Singapore the actor Robert Hughes, 61, who played architect Martin Kelly in the series Hey Dad!, to put the ''serious allegations'' to him, first raised in a magazine by Sarah Monahan, who played Hughes's daughter Jenny in the show.

"I'm absolutely, totally shocked at the allegations and I deny, absolutely deny, everything," Hughes told ACA reporter Ben McCormack, who interviewed the actor through the window of a car he was driving.

"I'm absolutely puzzled as to why this is being said now. Everything now is in the hands of defamation lawyers ... so no comment."

Hughes is married to the celebrity agent Robyn Gardiner who founded the agency RGM Entertainment, which represents 300 actors, including Cate Blanchett, Rose Byrne and Anthony LaPaglia. RGM is preparing to list on the Australian Stock Exchange.

It is nearly a fortnight since Monahan made the explosive allegations, initially declining to name the man who she accused of ''feeling me up'' and exposing himself to the young actor.

She said the first incident occurred when she was six.

In the past two weeks several other women have come forward making similar accusations against Hughes. A Current Affair's executive producer, Grant Williams, said more than five statutory declarations had been made from both alleged victims and witnesses.

In an interview on ACA last week, the executive producer of Hey Dad!, Gary Reilly, denied knowledge of Monahan's allegations until they were published in Woman's Day.

But co-star Ben Oxenbould last night went on air saying he had witnessed an incident involving Hughes and another girl aged under 10 on the set of the show during a break in production, which he reported to Mr Reilly.

"I was disgusted," Oxenbould told ACA when asked about Mr Reilly's earlier interview. He said he had come forward after Monahan's revelations to ''purge'' himself after 17 years and that he was still ''very angry''.

Hey Dad! screened on the Seven Network from 1987 to 1994.

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- Sydney Morning Herald

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