BBC vows inquiry into Savile sex scandal
BBC director-general George Entwistle has apologised to victims of Sir Jimmy Savile’s alleged sex abuse and pledged the corporation would hold its own inquiry.
• BBC Director General pledges inquiry into Jimmy Savile claims
• Apology follows ITV documentary into allegations
Mr Entwistle, who started in his new role only last month, spoke yesterday of deep regret about the ordeals of the women involved in the “awful allegations”, and said there would be a “comprehensive examination” of what went on.
The late radio and TV presenter has been accused by a growing number of women of sexual abuse over a number of years.
Mr Entwistle spoke out a day after Prime Minister David Cameron called for the “truly shocking” allegations against Savile to be fully investigated.
Last week, the BBC said it would work with the police in examining the claims and on Friday Mr Entwistle wrote to staff urging them to come forward with information.
He said yesterday: “These are awful allegations… and they are criminal allegations.
“And the first thing I want to say is that the women involved here have gone through something awful, something I deeply regret they should have to go through, and I would like to apologise on behalf of the organisation to each and every one of them.”
He went on: “When the police have finished everything they have to do, and when they give me an assurance that there is no danger of us in any way compromising or contaminating an investigation, I will take it further and ensure that any outstanding questions are answered properly.”
A growing number of women have come forward to claim they were either abused – many of them under-age – or that they saw others who were victims.
A number of former colleagues have told how they were aware of rumours about the former Top Of The Pops presenter.
Unease about the claims has led to a number of memorials to the star being removed.
Yesterday, it was announced that an inscription on the wall at Leeds Civic Hall in recognition of his charity work will be taken down. A street sign in Scarborough, North Yorkshire, was also taken away in the past few days.
Mr Entwistle said any BBC inquiry would take place after the police had conducted their investigations.
He said: “At the heart of what went on are a series of criminal allegations about the behaviour of Sir Jimmy Savile.
“Now, the way to deal with those is to make sure that the police, who are the only properly constituted authority for dealing with criminal investigations, are allowed to make the inquiries they need to make.”
Mr Entwistle said Savile was widely regarded as being a “bit peculiar”, but he said that if anyone had been directly aware of the allegations, then they should have spoken up, adding “there was an enormous obligation on them to have done something about it”.
He said the BBC’s child protection policy would “absolutely stop” access for people in Savile’s position to under-18s on BBC premises, a reference to suggestions the former DJ invited young girls to his dressing room.
Former Radio 1 DJ Liz Kershaw told over the weekend how when she joined Radio 1 in 1987 – the year Savile left – his behaviour was an “open secret” at the station. And she described how she was routinely groped by another presenter as she was broadcasting.
Broadcaster Janet Street-
Porter previously revealed that she was aware of rumours about the television and radio presenter’s alleged abuse of under-age girls when she worked at the BBC in the late 1980s.
Police child abuse officers have met BBC officials to discuss the allegations concerning Savile. The police said they were contacting all individuals who have made claims about the late presenter and should know how many alleged victims there are some time this week.
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