A report on the sexual abuse allegations made against ex-BBC host Jimmy Savile found that the beloved TV star was accused of sexually abusing more than 450 people during his lifetime, yet was never formally charged with any crimes. Metropolitan Police say they have identified 214 separate crimes, plus 34 allegations of rape made across the nation over a 60-year period. Savile, who was knighted by the Queen in 1996, died in 2011 at the age of 84.
The Scotland Yard report paints an almost unimaginable level of systematic abuse that has been called "vast, predatory and opportunistic." Most of the victims were young teenage girls around 13 to 16 years old, but the youngest victim was eight, the oldest was 47, and he abused both boys and girls, men and women. At least 450 people have come forward to make claims since police began gathering evidence following his death. The BCC says police have stopped referring to the abuse as "alleged," because the complaints are so numerous, so similar, and so believable.
Police say that Savile "hid in plain sight" using his celebrity status both to lure in victims and protect himself from the allegations when they were made. Many of his crimes were committed at hospitals where he would to go visit with young patients, including a secure psychiatric hospital where Savile was given his own private room to meet with them. Police say victims were often intimidated or ignored due to Savile's stature among Britain's elite.
Savile was a beloved household name in Britain, hosting several of the BBC's most popular shows during his tenure there, including "Top of the Pops" and a popular children's show. Many of the offenses are even believed to have taken place at BBC studios. The latest incident identified came during the taping of the final episode of "Top of the Pops" in 2006, when he allegedly groped a young child during.
The BBC itself has been under investigation for the last year, after one of its news programs reportedly spiked a story looking into Savile's crimes before it could be aired. Accusations that the network may have ignored or even covered up some of the allegations have embarrassed the company and forced several top executives to resign.
The National Society for the Prevention of Cruelty to Children helped compile the report and said it regrets that Savile could not be brought to justice, but added "at least his victims... have been taken seriously and their suffering has been recognized." A Scotland Yard detective put the moment into an awful perspective:
Detective Superintendent David Gray, from the Met’s paedophile unit, said Savile must have thought about his sex offending “every minute of every waking day”.
This article is from the archive of our partner The Wire.
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