Jimmy Savile was an iconic British DJ, who raised millions of pounds for children’s charities, and during his decades-long career at the BBC earned the monicker Saint Jimmy. But Savile, who died in 2011, was also a “serial sexual predator,” who preyed on girls as young as eight, often with the knowledge of BBC staff, a new report says.
The Dame Janet Smith review, to give the three-volume, 1,000-page report into the sexual abuse by Savile its official name, identified 72 victims, all connected to his work at the BBC; eight of them had been raped. Most of the assaults—44—took place in the 1970s, but they began in the 1940s and continued until 2009, the report said.
Staff at the BBC knew about complaints against Savile, the report said, but did not pass those concerns on to management because of a culture of fear that still persists at the corporation.
To understand what Savile represented in the U.K., here’s how The New York Times previously described his status: “In American terms, it is as if Captain Kangaroo, Dick Clark and Jerry Lewis were suddenly being accused of committing sexual crimes dating back 30 or 40 years.”
Also named in the review, which was released Thursday, was Stuart Hall, the veteran BBC broadcaster who is now in his 80s. Hall admitted in 2013 to charges of indecently assaulting girls. He was jailed that year and is serving a 4½-year sentence for his actions. The report said Hall abused 21 girls, and that BBC management in Manchester knew of the complaints against him, but did nothing.