Faded British rocker Gary Glitter faces up to seven years in a Vietnamese prison if found guilty of child molestation charges this week in southern Vietnam.

Faded British rocker Gary Glitter faces up to seven years in a Vietnamese prison if found guilty of child molestation charges this week in southern Vietnam.

His two-day trial on charges of committing lewd acts with two girls, aged 10 and 11, begins tomorrow (March 2) in closed session at the courthouse in Ba Ria-Vung Tau province. The crime carries a prison sentence ranging from three to seven years.

The aging singer, who won fame during the 1970s as a glam rocker with a penchant for bouffant wigs and sequin jumpsuits, has been accused of kissing, fondling, and "engaging in other physical acts" with the girls at his rented villa in the port city of Vung Tau, located about 125 kilometers southeast of Ho Chi Minh City.

Glitter, 61, who has been held in Phuoc Co prison outside the city since he was arrested last November, has maintained his innocence, said his lawyer, Le Thanh Kinh. "He says he has not committed any crime," Kinh said. "I will do my best to defend him," though he added it will be "very difficult."

Glitter has said he was teaching the girls English at his home and considered them "like his grandchildren." He has admitted to police that the 11-year-old girl slept in his room because she was afraid of ghosts, but denied inappropriate behavior, his attorney said.

The trial will be closed to the public to protect the girls' identity. However, the verdict will be read publicly on Friday.

Glitter, whose real name is Paul Francis Gadd, was seized in Ho Chi Minh City trying to board a flight out of the country. Police confiscated his laptop, which had hundreds of pornographic pictures on it. During the criminal investigation, police had considered whether to charge Glitter with child rape, which carries a maximum penalty of death, but said prosecutors did not find enough evidence.

The girls' families wrote to the court in December, asking that charges be dropped altogether after Glitter paid $2,000 to each of them. Although prosecutors decided to move forward with the case anyway, under the Vietnamese legal system, the payments are considered "compensation" that counts toward lessening any sentence.


AP LogoCopyright 2006 Associated Press. All rights reserved. This material may not be published, broadcast, rewritten or redistributed.

Questions? Comments? Let us know: @billboard

Print