BBC staff 'turned blind eye' to Savile abuse: report

Breaking News January 19, 2014 00:00

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LONDON - BBC staff turned a blind eye to the sexual abuse by star presenter Jimmy Savile of up to 1,000 girls and boys in the corporation's changing rooms and studios, according an internal inquiry leaked Sunday.

The inquiry by former judge Janet Smith found Savile's behaviour had been recognized by executives at the world's biggest public broadcaster but they took no action to stop him, according to the Observer newspaper.

A police investigation concluded last year that the television and radio presenter, who died in 2011 aged 84, was a predatory sex offender who abused children as young as eight over more than 50 years.

It identified 450 victims but the Smith inquiry suggests up to 1,000 people were abused by Savile while he was working for the BBC, according to the Observer.

Peter Saunders, chief executive of the National Association for People Abused in Childhood, which has been consulted by Smith's inquiry, said many people at the BBC admitted knowing about Savile's behaviour.

"The other thing I have found extraordinary, and very sad, is the number of people have spoken to connected to the BBC -- and that is a lot of people – who said: 'Oh yes, we all knew about him.'," Saunders told the newspaper.

The Smith inquiry report is likely to throw the publicly-funded BBC into fresh turmoil when it is presented next month.


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