'Flawed' BBC cleared of Savile cover-up
The BBC has been cleared of covering up allegations of child sex abuse against its late presenter Jimmy Savile, but an investigation has found widespread chaos at the corporation.
The BBC's deputy director of news, Stephen Mitchell, resigned in the fall-out, the broadcaster revealed, a month after the crisis felled BBC Director-General George Entwistle after just 54 days in the job.
Savile, who died last year at the age of 84, was one of the BBC's top television and radio presenters and the allegations of child abuse against him have plunged the corporation into crisis.
Jimmy Savile ... questions over what the BBC knew and when.
Following a television program by rival ITV two months ago in which several women went public with the claims, police have identified 199 crimes in which Savile is a suspect, including 31 alleged rapes.
The BBC's flagship Newsnight program began investigating the allegations shortly after Savile's death, but after a few weeks dropped the report.
An official investigation by former Sky News executive Nick Pollard, published on Wednesday, found no substance to accusations that Newsnight dropped the story because it clashed with BBC Christmas tributes to Savile.
But the investigation paints a picture of a corporation dogged by "chaos and confusion", in-fighting and a lack of leadership.
"The decision to drop the original investigation was flawed and the way it was taken was wrong but I believe it was done in good faith. It was not done to protect the Savile tribute programs or for any improper reason," Pollard said.
He added: "In my view, the most worrying aspect of the Jimmy Savile story for the BBC was not the decision to drop the story itself. It was the complete inability to deal with the events that followed."
Detectives investigating the Savile sex abuse scandal arrested an eighth man on Wednesday. Police said the man, in his 70s, was held at 6.30am on suspicion of sexual offences and taken to a south London police station. He falls under the strand of the investigation termed ‘‘Savile and others’’, Scotland Yard said on Wednesday.
Agence France-Presse, Press Association