Jimmy Savile scandal: Star’s abuse symptom of ‘broader problem’
THE BBC is investigating up to ten cases of serious sexual abuse, including allegations about current employees, the director general of the corporation George Entwistle has said.
Mr Entwistle made the admission under questioning by the Commons select committee on culture as he gave evidence about the Jimmy Savile scandal.
He also admitted that Savile’s alleged crimes were part of a “broader cultural problem” at the BBC at the time but he spoke of his “horror” about what had happened.
However, he came under attack from MPs who said he needed to “get a grip” on what was going on at the BBC.
Tory MP Philip Davies told the director general that he it was “unacceptable” that he was unaware of how many cases of sexual harassment might have taken place over the years.
Mr Entwistle said: “I have been assured that there have not been a significant number.”
He was asked by Mr Davies what was a significant number and said that he would be concerned if there were “more than five a year”.
Mr Davies retorted: “So up to five a year is OK then?” Mr Entwistle said “information is being assembled” on current employees of the BBC.
He added that the BBC review would answer specific questions including who took children back stage to see Savile or whether there was a paedophile ring at the BBC.
Mr Davies accused him of trying to “farm off” responsibility for answering the questions.
Mr Entwistle said Savile’s alleged behaviour had been possible only because of a “broader cultural problem” at the BBC.
And there was insufficient evidence yet to say whether or not abuse was “endemic”.
But he said it was important to differentiate between complaints of sexual harassment and those of criminal behaviour, such as underage sex.
Opening the hearing, the director general defended the corporation’s handling of the case – including the setting up of two independent investigations.
“I would accept that there have been times when we have taken longer to do things than in a perfect world I would have liked,” he said.
“But I think if you looked at what we have achieved since the scale of the crisis became clear, I think you see we have done much of what we should have done and done it in the right order and with proper respect paid to the right authorities.”
Search for a job
Search for a car
Search for a house
Weather for Edinburgh
Sunday 19 May 2013
Temperature: 9 C to 16 C
Wind Speed: 7 mph
Wind direction: North east
Temperature: 9 C to 20 C
Wind Speed: 8 mph
Wind direction: North