BBC staff knew of Savile's 'dark side'
Staff emails published by an inquiry showed that some knew about a 'darker side' to Jimmy Savile even as they prepared a tribute programme.PT2M10S http://www.canberratimes.com.au/action/externalEmbeddedPlayer?id=d-2bnyh 620 349 December 20, 2012
LONDON: Jimmy Savile sexually assaulted children as young as 10 during nearly four decades of activity as a paedophile that took place in a string of institutions, including numerous hospitals, prisons and the BBC, the official inquiry by the Metropolitan Police and the National Society for the Prevention of Cruelty to Children says.
The 30-page report, Giving Victims a Voice, described how the celebrity abused up to 500 children and young people, and may have raped more than 30.
It is very clear that Savile assaulted very young children and that he was a prolific paedophile, there is no doubt about that.
Of the allegations made so far, police have gathered sufficient evidence to record 200 sex-related crimes by Savile across Britain, committed using the power of his personality and fame to dupe a huge number of institutions into giving him access to vulnerable people.
''Prolific paedophile'' … Jimmy Savile with his OBE medal after his investiture at Buckinghman Palace in 1972. Photo: Getty Images
Savile could have been prosecuted for offences against at least three victims while he was alive, the report found.
The disgraced BBC TV presenter used his celebrity status to ''hide in plain sight'', with 214 criminal offences now recorded against him across 28 police forces, it said.
It also revealed that Savile abused his victims at 14 medical sites including hospitals, mental health units and even a hospice.
Alison Levitt, QC, legal adviser to the Director of Public Prosecutions, said Savile could have been prosecuted in 2009 had police taken victims more seriously.
The Director of Public Prosecutions, Keir Starmer, said: ''I would like to take the opportunity to apologise for the shortcomings in the part played by the [Crown Prosecution Service] in these cases.
''If this report and my apology are to serve their full purpose, then this must be seen as a watershed moment.''
A total of 450 people have come forward alleging sexual abuse against Savile since October, and within the recorded crimes, there are 34 rapes and 126 indecent acts, the police and NSPCC report said.
Of his victims, 73 per cent were children, with the total victim age range between eight and 47-years-old at the time of the offences.
Commander Peter Spindler, who is leading the national investigation into Savile's 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.''
The number of institutions identified in the inquiry raises the spectre of a systemic failure that spread into every corner of British society.
Detectives and child protection experts working on the inquiry hope the report will mark a line in the sand - a cultural shift in attitudes between today and 30 years ago, when a blind eye was turned to such activity with children, and victims were not listened to.
Trevor Sterling, a lawyer who represents 45 of Savile's victims, said: ''The victims have had a very difficult time because all of this has been so public, and that has to some extent compounded their sense of distress. But the inquiry has been handled sensitively by the police and [the victims] feel this report marks an enormous release because they have been able to tell their stories and to be believed.''
Those who complained included a girl who came forward to the Metropolitan Police to report that she had been assaulted by Savile in his caravan in the grounds of BBC Television Centre in London in the 1970s.
The police received at least two complaints of sexual assault, Surrey Police investigated four allegations and police in Jersey were alerted by a boy at the Haut de la Garenne children's home that Savile had assaulted him. None of these complaints were acted upon.
Many victims are now suing Savile's estate for damages for the abuse they suffered at his hands. Fourteen separate inquiries are continuing into how he was able to commit his crimes undetected for so long.
Guardian News & Media, Press Association