London, Jan. 11: An official report today revealed that the late Jimmy Savile, one-time darling of British society, sexually abused even a dying teenager in a hospice.
The BBC, which has been focusing of late on the Delhi gang rape and the wider problems of sexual harassment in India, was forced to apologise for Savile’s catalogue of sex crimes, many committed on its own premises.
How Savile found time to do any other work is a mystery – an in-depth report today revealed the disc jockey was guilty of a staggering 214 sexual crimes, 34 of them rapes.
Judging from the evidence that is being uncovered, it seems Savile’s was not a one-off aberration – many others in high positions, who are still alive, went along with him.
Savile died a hero in October 2011 at the age of 84. The excuse now being given by the BBC and others that they did not know what he was up to is even less convincing than the Pakistani authorities claiming they had no idea Osama bin Laden was living in a huge house in Abbottabad, not far from Islamabad.
A BBC spokesman said: “The police report into Jimmy Savile contains shocking revelations. As we have made clear, the BBC is appalled that some of the offences were committed on its premises.”
The probability is that senior executives at the BBC merely looked the other way or laughed off the behaviour of Savile and other celebrities since “boys will be boys”. Savile was good for ratings.
If the report, compiled jointly by Scotland Yard and the National Society for the Prevention of Cruelty to Children, demonstrates anything, it is that there are dark corners in as civilised a country as Britain; also denigrating other cultures, such as India’s, as parts of the British media have done, is a risky strategy.
Presenting its findings, detective superintendent David Gray of Scotland Yard said: “The sheer scale and the severity of his offending is appalling.”
Savile sexually abused the dying teenager, aged between 13 and 16, at a hospice, one of 14 medical sites where he used to prey on his victims. His abuse spanned from 1955 to 2009, covering his entire career at the BBC, and included sexually touching a teenage girl at the final recording of Top of the Pops, a popular programme for youngsters, in 2006.
A total of 450 people have come forward alleging sexual abuse against Savile since October 2012 – of whom 73 per cent were children at the time of the offences.
The peak of his offences was between 1966 and 1976, when he was aged between 40 and 50, the report said.
Savile abused patients at Leeds General Infirmary, where he worked between 1965 and 1995, and committed offences at Stoke Mandeville Hospital between 1965 and 1988.
He attacked the weak, innocent and vulnerable at Duncroft School, a children’s home, between 1970 and 1978 and also committed 14 offences at schools across the country, especially when children had written to him as part of his flagship programme, Jim’ll Fix It.
Commander Peter Spindler, who is leading the national investigation into the abuse, said: “Savile’s offending footprint was vast, predatory and opportunistic. 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.”
Ten people have been pulled in for questioning by the police in relation to the Savile and related inquiries.
The report said it would be “naive” to view the case as the isolated behaviour of a “rogue celebrity” – but the “context of the 1960s and 1970s” should be recognised. “It was an age of different social attitudes and the workings of the criminal justice system at the time would have reflected this,” it said.
It said institutions involved must do “all they can to make their procedures for safeguarding children and vulnerable adults as robust and rigorous as possible”.