Jimmy Savile allegedly sexually abused 450 children
London – Arabstoday
British police said Friday that late BBC star presenter Jimmy Savile was a predatory sex offender whose victims were as young as eight and who preyed on children and adults in hospitals and even a hospice.
The latest revelations look
set to threaten an already embattled British Broadcasting Company [BBC], after allegations of pre-knowledge of the star\'s crimes and a subsequent cover-up within the organisation created a national media storm.
The decision of the BBC\'s flagship current affairs show Newsnight to drop a report into the allegations against the star shortly after his death plunged the world\'s biggest broadcaster into chaos last year, ultimately resulting in the recently appointed Director-General George Entwistle and other senior Newsnight staff handing in their resignations.
The allegations then emerged in a TV documentary by rival broadcaster ITV which eventually prompted the police to investigate.
The latest report by police and child protection authorities found that the TV presenter, who was one of the biggest TV stars in Britain in the 1970s and 1980s, used his celebrity status to \"hide in plain sight.”
Prosecutors said Savile, who died in 2011 at the age of 84, could have been prosecuted if police had taken victims’ allegations more seriously.
The alleged attacks stretched for more than 50 years from 1955 to 2009 and were \"mainly opportunistic sexual assaults - many in situations manipulated by Savile.\" However, in some cases he groomed his victims, the report said.
A total of 450 people came forward with evidence relating to Savile, from which police recorded 214 criminal offences spread around Britain, including 34 of rape or penetration, the report said.
Peter Watt, director of Britain\'s child protection agency NSPCC, who co-authored the report, said the scale of the abuse \"simply beggared belief.”
He said Savile was \"without doubt one of the most prolific sex offenders we have ever come across.”
The eight-year-old victim was a boy, but more than 80 percent of the victims were female.
The report found that Savile had offended at 13 hospitals, including the world-renowned children\'s hospital Great Ormond Street in London, and had abused a teenaged visitor to a hospice.
Alison Levitt, legal adviser to the Director of Public Prosecutions [DPP], said Savile could have been prosecuted in 2009 had police taken victims more seriously.
Commander Peter Spindler, the head of specialist crime investigations at London\'s Metropolitan Police, said the report \"paints a stark picture emphasising the tragic consequences of when vulnerability and power collide.”
\"Savile\'s offending footprint was vast, predatory and opportunistic,\" Spindler added. \"He cannot face justice today but we hope this report gives some comfort to his hundreds of victims, they have been listened to and taken seriously. We must use the learning from these shocking events to prevent other children and vulnerable adults being abused in the future. They will get a voice.\"