12 Oct 2012

BBC announces inquiries over Savile abuse claims

BBC Director General George Entwistle announces two inquiries into the scandal surrounding allegations of abuse involving the late DJ Jimmy Savile.

In a hastily-convened press conference, as allegations surrounding Savile escalated, Mr Entwistle repeated a “profound and heartfelt apology to every victim”.

He promised that the corporation would not avoid confronting the allegations so that such things will never happen again at the BBC.

He said that two independent reviews would be held.

There was no further word, however on why its flagship news and current affairs programme Newsnight dropped its investigation into Savile late in 2011.

He said that an independent externally-led inquiry will be launched to examine whether or not there were BBC management failings in the Newsnight investigation.

When asked by Channel 4 News’ Jonathan Rugman if he was going to suspend the programme’s editor Peter Rippon, Mr Entwistle said he did not think it an appropriate move and that he had confidence in Mr Rippon.

Mr Entwistle said another inquiry will be instigated once the police indicate they are happy to proceed, into the culture and practices of the corporation during the years that Jimmy Savile worked there and afterwards.

It will look at whether management practices at the time allowed the abuse of children to take place and whether current policies on bullying and harassment are fit for purpose.


Meanwhile, more people are coming forward to police over abuse allegations.Scotland Yard is pursuing 340 lines of inquiry in the Jimmy Savile abuse case, including 40 potential victims.

So far, 12 allegations of sexual offences have been officially recorded, but this number is increasing, Scotland Yard said.

Metropolitan Police detectives are in contact with 14 other forces as the number of allegations against the late television presenter continues to rise.

David Nicolson, who worked as a director on Jim’ll Fix It, told The Sun he had caught Savile having sex with a girl in his dressing room, but was laughed away when he voiced his concerns.

Mr Nicolson told The Sun he caught Savile having sex with a “very, very young” girl in his dressing room. “It was a bog standard changing room in the basement. They both quickly pulled up their pants. The girl could have been 16, maybe 15. But she was just one of many – he always had one in the room.”

When he reported the incident, he said he was told: “That’s Jimmy. I was revolted by his behaviour. They just shrugged it off, saying ‘Yeah, yeah – that’s the way it goes’.”

He added: “Everyone knew what was going on. That includes senior BBC people – chiefs at the highest levels.”

Another alleged victim came forward today and claimed Savile was banned from visiting a council-run children’s home after he molested her when she was 12.

She said he was told to leave the care home in his home city of Leeds after staff found him in a bedroom with her in the 1970s. The woman, who does not want to be identified, told BBC Radio Leeds she was indecently touched by the former DJ but a social worker advised her not to report it to the police.

Leeds Safeguarding Children Board said it had not received any complaints about Savile but encouraged anyone with concerns to report them.

Papal knighthood

The avalanche of stories linking Savile to alleged abuse has gained momentum following an ITV documentary which was aired earlier in October where women who said the Yorkshire-born charity fundraiser had raped and abused young women when he was at the height of his fame in the 1970s spoke out.

Read more: Savile boasted of under-age sex

Meanwhile, a spokesman for the Catholic church told Channel 4 News the church will wait for the results of police investigations into Savile’s conduct before it takes any action. The Catholic church says Savile would not have been awarded a papal knighthood had it been aware of allegations against him.

Catholic newspaper The Tablet reported a spokesman from the Bishop’s Conference said Savile would not have been given the Order of St Gregory the Great in 1990 had the church been aware of the allegations and they had proved to be true.

The spokesman pointed out that Savile’s papal knighthood expired when he died.


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