George Entwistle, head of the British Broadcasting Corporation, appeared before British Parliament on Tuesday to answer questions about the alleged coverup of child sexual abuse by the late television host Jimmy Savile.
Police have launched a criminal investigation into the abuse charges, saying that over 200 victims, both male and female, have come forward since last month’s airing of an expose on Savile’s abusive past. As the host of Top Of The Pops and Jim’ll Fix It, Savile had plenty of access to teenagers and young women, and victims say he took advantage of his position.
Entwistle was questioned for two hours about whether there was a systematic effort to hide what the BBC knew about Savile’s pattern of abuse, including the squashing of an investigative report by current affairs program Newsnight. He said he was unaware of any “managerial pressure” to drop the story, but conceded that “the culture and practices of the BBC seems to allow Jimmy Savile to do what he did” and that the broadcaster’s “trust and reputation” had been compromised.
Calling Savile a “skilful and successful sexual predator who covered his tracks,” Entwistle admitted that his staff has begun investigating up to ten past and present BBC employees who may have been involved.
Savile was hailed throughout the U.K. for his extensive charity work, and was knighted in 1990 for his efforts. Prime Minister David Cameron has said that it’s possible Savile will be posthumously stripped of his knighthood. Savile was linked philanthropically to several hospitals, and patients at three of them have come forward to say that he abused them when they were receiving care. Several were treated at a children’s spinal injury clinic, where patients would have been particularly vulnerable.
Photo: James Nichols/WENN.com
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