Sex Abuse Scandal Rocks BBC

Broadcaster 'horrified' by claims host Jimmy Savile abused underage girls
By Rob Quinn,  Newser Staff
Posted Oct 3, 2012 1:20 AM CDT
Sex Abuse Scandal Rocks BBC
This is a March 25, 2008 file photo of Sir Jimmy Savile, who died last year.   (AP Photo/ Lewis Whyld/PA, File)

The BBC has been hit by a sex abuse scandal with strong echoes of the Jerry Sandusky case. A growing number of women are coming forward with claims that they were sexually abused decades ago by eccentric TV host Jimmy Savile, who died last year at the age of 84. The BBC says it is "horrified" by suggestions Savile abused underage girls—allegedly sometimes on its premises—and it will assist any police investigation, the Guardian reports. Two British police forces say they investigated allegations against Savile years ago but decided there was not enough evidence to proceed.

Savile, who worked for the BBC for more than 40 years and received a knighthood for his charity fundraising, hosted the show Jim'll Fix It, in which he responded to letters from children. His former colleagues say there had long been rumors about the star's behavior, but execs at the BBC—which decided not to broadcast a current affairs show's look at the allegations against Savile—deny there was a cover-up. "There were question marks, certainly," says former BBC chairman Michael Grade. "I never heard anything that gave me cause to think we should investigate or do anything about it. There were questions, but the entertainment industry is awash on a sea of rumors." (Read more Jimmy Savile stories.)

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